January 14, 2015
I’ve tabled this week’s draft blog for some thoughts related to the recent series of attacks in locations around the world.
Many are familiar with Mark Twain’s idea that travel dispels bigotry and narrow-mindedness. In his day, one had no choice but to “fully immerse” in a destination. Today, it takes conscious effort to transform a vacation into “real travel.” I’m not panning the luxury resorts and all-inclusives that are ubiquitous anymore. These serve a valid function, especially in the stress-filled lives that many of us lead. However, this type of travel has removed the challenge, and with it the promised demise of bigotry.
In Mark Twain’s time, “real travel” in Italy – the only kind available in the 19th century — meant:
• Eating regional food (a lot) and in Italy especially, drinking local wine
• Meeting someone local
• Trying to speak a bit of the language
• Learning about the history and current events
• Reading about the place before traveling there
• Asking more questions and meeting more locals
Italy can still be visited in this way. While not a place we normally think of as “exotic”, it can certainly be experienced at a “real” level. Adagio Travel avoids chain hotels and “English-only” situations. Our mission for over 15 years has been to show the Italy that’s a little harder to get to, a little less obvious, a bit more genuine and maybe even challenging. Embracing that challenge dispels ignorance, and helps to starve the extremism behind the meaningless events that have occurred recently.
In our small way, we’d like to help you dive into Italian history and culture, building the bridges that bring tolerance and civility in both directions. Cast aside fear, embrace the “other”, and let’s do our part to listen to Twain’s prescient words.