gooollysandra

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Tag Archives: Europe

Arthur Frommer on the healing power of traveling to Europe

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As often happens in my household, old papers, magazines, and brochures pop up because my mom is constantly going through things in an effort to downsize. I recently came across a travel magazine entitled “Planning Your Trip: Europe ’95.” That’s right, it’s from 1995. In it is an article by travel expert Arthur Frommer on his love for traveling to Europe because of its restorative power. I strongly identify with what he has to say, as I also find traveling to Europe rejuvenating, and just a few lines will give you a sense of why:

Some people take pills to restore their energy. I go to Europe. Some people go out dancing to lift their spirits; I go to Europe. To me, a week or so in the Old World is a restorative more powerful than any regiment of diet, medicine or exercise ever devised. It does me good to turn my back for a time on familiar scenes, and head for the gentler, slower, more traditional life of Europe. 

He goes on to talk about the old world charm, which more than simply being an endearing quality of Europe, actually truly connects us with history in a way that we cannot experience in the U.S. because of its young age compared to Europe – “This communing with the past – so much a part of the European travel experience – provides solace, and a sense of human connection and continuity that awes me.”

Featuring a picture of Café de Flore in Paris, one is reminded of the slowness of life in Europe and the afternoons spent at the café with an impeccable espresso or cappuccino and good conversation.

 

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Identity

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Establishing a place and identity has been difficult for me since I was born in Italy, lived there for 8 years, and then moved to the United States where I have spent last 14 years of my life. Wow, that’s a long time. I don’t like counting how long it’s been since we left Italy, so I often lose track of how long it’s actually been. But I’ve always had this conflict within me of not really knowing where I belonged. It hash’t been overwhelming to the point where I feel completely lost, but rather just indifferent to both Italy and the U.S. Despite being an American citizen and living in the U.S. for most of my life, I do not feel very American and certainly don’t feel patriotic in the least. At the same time, I can’t say that I feel very Italian either. I was born there and spent those early formative years of my life there, but I am not ethnically Italian, and therefore, was more like an outsider living in Italy. Of course, the Italian people are very warm and embracing, so we didn’t feel like intruders or out of place. I am extremely grateful for my childhood in Italy, as I realize this is an opportunity that not many American children have. I have the fondest of memories of my birthplace and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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That being said, my love for Europe and desire to go back exceeds my interest, or lack thereof, to remain in the U.S. and build a life here. But then again, my family is here in the U.S. and going to Europe on business seems challenging for non-EU citizens. So I suppose it will continue to be a conflict, but will hopefully be resolved at some point in my life, if I’m lucky.