I feel closer than ever to you now. These are historical times we are in, made to “shelter in place” to protect ourselves and to protect each other. As travelers (and human beings) it’s the opposite of what we want to do. We are seekers, social beings, looking for connection and meaning. We want to explore, to move about and experience other cultures. To be free. But now doors and borders are shut to us. We will stay put where we are. It’s a rare time to go “home” inside our houses and inside of ourselves. It’s hard to imagine that the whole world is doing the same thing. Unfathomable. We wait, not knowing for how long. We all deal with elements of uncertainty in different ways. What's yours? My way is to cook, write, walk and talk, realizing every element of this is a luxury. My travel memories rise to the top of my mind like cream.
I see Angelo in the kitchen filleting fish, and tossing pasta. I hear Fabio raving about his mother’s ragu. I see Isabel carefully teaching the finesse of a sauce made with sherry in her adorable Spanish. I sigh thinking of Sandro the baker, taking bread out of the oven with a long wooden paddle during the day and singing opera in his “Smoking” tux in the evening. I smile hearing Piero tells stories of his nonna. Bahija tucks her cell phone between her ear and her hijab while she tosses the couscous. I love the way the women move in their saris when carrying water jugs on top of their heads. I am so grateful to have tasted these cultures. A feast for the eyes and a solace to the soul. Again a great luxury.
How many times have I sat at tables full of goodness around the world with so many of you? So many they pass in front of my mind like pages fanning in a book. I smile, not unlike Sophia Loren at the splendor of these memories, so pleasant, I can hear violins playing. We all wonder, when will we travel next?
Italy, our most beloved country, has been impacted most severely as you know. The Italians invented “La Dolce Vita”, the sweet life. It’s hard to imagine they have been so hard hit. Historically, even in times of duress, Italians still managed to come up with elegant, tasty meals. Time around the table was sacred and still is. It’s their religion. “La Dolce Vita” refers to the artistry of living. This sentiment has invited us back to the table time and time again. This is home base; getting our hands on good food and transforming it into something delicious. The SlowFood motto? Protecting our rights to pleasure. Plus, it feeds us and those we love. As does Slow travel. We drop in.
Everyday the news is more intense. One minute we have settled into social distancing, adapted to a routine, the next minute our hearts are breaking. Our support goes out to the caregivers, the people affected with this mercenary virus as we grieve the loss of life. We are losing countless precious ones. We are literally in this together as citizens of the world. Our care and compassion needs to extend beyond ourselves. The world needs our love.
To be on the safe side for our guests, we have postponed our spring 2020 programs until the fall. We want to give ample time for our borders and beyond to recover, so those who wish can safely dream of traveling again when the time is right. 2021 dates are also available. #dontcancelpostpone is a popular hashtag at the moment for the travel industry. Can you imagine a world without travel?
A program with us is not just a vacation but an investment in one’s life experience. It’s a deep dive. When you sign up for a trip with us, whether you recently have, or are about to, it’s like money in the travel bank. One’s life portfolio is like a wheelhouse. Each section has a value. Travel experience never loses value. It continues to enrich! Like any good relationship, or good soil for your garden, it needs cultivating.
Life will go on and we will continue to turn the “experience economy” wheel to generate on-going relationships with our friends and partners in Italy, Spain, Morocco and India. Those of you from past trips know who these people are. We are artisans with independent businesses who support each other, crafting bespoke and unique adventures. We will help each other get back on our feet. This too shall pass and with present constrictions, we will appreciate this freedom so much more. I know it may sound entitled to speak of travel with so much uncertainty in front of us. But as you know, having something to look forward to, can be good medicine. In the meantime, It’s a reset. I am personally enjoying “staying at home” for now. I will plant a garden for the first time in 20 years. Make sourdough and work on my book. But let's not exaggerate! My traveling shoes will start tapping. We will continue to journey and share the wonders of the world.
We extend “un caro saluto” to our big family of culinary adventurers. We sincerely hope that you and your families are well. You are in our hearts and minds as we navigate an unprecedented time together.
We will soon hear the violins playing again...
Peggy and Co.