Everything happens for a reason. I do not believe in luck or coincidence. Everything that is supposed to happen will happen. The same goes for meeting people. I have recently been posting about travel companions whether they are friends or family or yourself and today I wanted to write about the people you meet while traveling. Whether it is someone you spend a day with, share a meal with or meet for ten minutes you remember these individuals clearly as an aspect of your travel experience. These are some of the most interesting people in the world and they leave impressions on us. I also began reflecting on whether or not I would make a memorable impression of my own on the people I encounter during my travels. I love to think back to the people I have met while traveling. Some of them you want to remember while others you just want to block from your memory and pretend what you did with them never happened!
Traveling has been my biggest educator. Whether or not I do educational activities or tours I still get a better understanding of people and of the world each time I take a trip. Travel has also been a good friend of mine. The memories made touch a special place inside that really only special relationships can reach and teach. I love the special connection travel brings between people. The ultimate person I have met while traveling is my good friend Fabrizio Belleni.
I met Fabrizio in April 2010 when I worked with him on a student tour in Italy. I had 42 high school students traveling with me along with seven adults and two of those adults were my parents. It was a great group of people and I was so excited to be in charge of this group. From the moment I met Fabrizio I felt his passion for his job as a tour guide. High school students are a challenging group to entertain and teachers are even more challenging, but he met the task of pleasing both with greatness and exceeded my expectations. We had an amazing time and I felt like Fabrizio fit right into my group of friends and family. No tour is ever perfect, but this one came close. I say not perfect because my mother suffered an injury while on site at Siracusa. Ironically enough her injury made me have one of my favorite afternoons on the trip. My best friend Anne and myself went to the hospital with my mom along with Fabrizio. Anne and I sat outside of the hospital since we could not be in the room with her and decided to soak up the sun and the Sicilian men while my mom was tended to by wonderful Italian doctors and nurses. While enjoying our time outside of the hospital we had time to get to know Fabrizio in more detail. We talked for a long time and viewed each other’s pictures to find out about family, friends and life in general. Fabrizio could not believe how calm, cool and collected we were. It was not until a subsequent trip in Italy that we told him we had taken medication to stay calm and not panic since my mom was injured in a foreign country and we did not know what we were going to do. After a while we went inside to see my mom and we were able to help in making the cast for her fractured foot. The man who was casting my mother’s foot was named Michelangelo. This was a day we would never forget and thankfully my mom was okay. We returned to the larger tour group and continued with our tour. This was our first adventure together and luckily that summer I spent time in Italy again with Fabrizio and got to meet his terrific family. The next year we traveled to Greece with another high school group and Fabrizio’s wife was able to join us for a few days to make the trip even more spectacular. After our European adventures Fabrizio and his family came to spend time in the USA and were able to stay at my house and visit NYC for a short time before I was traveling with my team and students to Peru. Since we met I have been fortunate to visit Italy and the Belleni home many times.
Fabrizio is the type of person whose laughter and knowledge is infectious which aligns to making him the most amazing tour guide. As soon as you meet him you feel like you are with an old friend. Anytime I know people who are going to Italy I share with them his information because your experience in Italy will never be complete unless you travel with Fabrizio Belleni or his team at Leisure Italy Tours. You can check out more information about him and what his company can do for you while traveling in Italy by visiting this website- http://www.leisure-italy.com
I am always up for an adventure no matter how big or small. This is a good thing for me, but not always for those around me because I can be exhausting to keep up with, but at least I am a lot of fun! Meeting locals while traveling has huge benefits and will make your stay in any place a very rewarding experience. I am appreciative for my relationship with Fabrizio and his wonderful family. We have developed a friendship and a bond that is stronger from learning and traveling together and to me this is one of the sweetest things in life.