Why does travel make us feel better?

Travel makes us feel the best of ourselves

I am not sure how many can relate to this but I have a feeling that it is a lot of us out there that feel like this. 

Travel is exciting, inspiring, challenging and mind opening at once. Getting out of the comfort zone helps us exposing ourselves for what we are with no filter or safety nets. 

When we travel we are forced to face life for what it is. We are not in control of the environment mourned us, we are surrounded by people we do not know, different languages, different habits, different food, different architectures and landscapes. Nature seems different, the smells mourned us, the sound of the it is, the signs on the roads and even the colors of the sky. 

As you read this, I’ll be soaring in the sky, in the best way possible! En route to Vancouver, one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever visited, where people are warm and bike lanes are wider than car lanes.

Vancouver hosts the Vancouver Wine Festival, one of the most significant wine showcases in North America. This year, Italy takes the spotlight, and I’ll be the guide, leading industry experts and enthusiasts on a journey through Italian wines. It’s going to be 7 days of stories, meetings and collaborations and I can’t wait to share the beauty of my country with Canadian and American friends, as well as thousands of visitors from around the globe.

One might think that the most challenging part would be narrating the story of Italian wine, but in reality, no, I feel confident in that, thanks to my tasting notes and my nose. The real challenge, for me, is packing. I often find myself tossing in energy bars and hiking shoes instead of socks… the amazing life of a wine traveler! Stay tuned 🙂

Our brain, our body, our entire system has to rewire to become more empathic, to change perspectives quickly, to listen more to be more willing to accept ourselves and other for what they are. 

When we embark on a shuttle at 4a.m to get to the airport, when we do our check-in, when we very very close to a perfect stranger on a plane I have a feeling as if I am having a pigiama party with strangers! We are exposed and as a result we must trust one another, we gotta be more flexible and ready to change gear quickly. 

I think we other shut ourselves out of the world and try to be protective screening everyone off showing our spines like a porcupine or we find the best in ourselves and in others controlling the fear of misundersting or being misunderstood. 

Travelling is getting rid of stereotypes

Traveling is a tool to destroy our wrong assumptions to clean the house of dusty stereotypes about other cultures and so we bridge that gap between us and we feel less judged and we become less judgmental.

Changing our daily routines, going to market to buy food we do not know, asking for information to get to places and finding our way back when we are lost it forces us to be more efficient, aware and creative. 

During this journey to British Columbia, I got stuck twice at an airport check. At my final stop in Seattle to catch the flight to Vancouver I was tuck in an infinite line to custom. I started to pay attention only to how slow that officer was or how unproductive the guys in front of me were. I was already on road for almost 24 hours, I was getting grumpy and upset but I didn’t want to miss my flight. So instead of carrying on with my complaining self I did something different and I asked for help to one of those line assistants. She told me about an app but I was too tired and her accent was too difficult to understand but she seemed like she was confident it was gonna help. I reached out to the few awake neurons and I decided to trust this person. She manage to get me in the app, I got my MPC form approved and I was on a roll. 

Travel Builds Patience

Once I passed security panting to get to the gate on time, my bag didn’t come straight to me but it took the sad a lonely right turn towards the custom office. 

What was it? I left the water bottle? My toothpaste? My tangerine or my mum’s yummy frittata sandwich? Shit! Maybe it’s my ginger root (we are not supposed to bring any food I though). The security check was taking a while, my watch and my phone where in that box. I said to myself breath and be patient boy! I do an exercise while waiting: put yourself in the officer’s shoes Filippo, avoid looking at her with an upset face. Om, om, om!

The officer grabs my bag and asks who’s this one? Me, it’s mine! She says there’s something like a cream and a sharp object.

Dam, not again my corkscrew! I was sure I took it out the bag. But the cream? It was my mum’s sandwich with a soft cheese “del contadino”. I am 50 and my mum still hides sandwiches in my bag! I leave the sandwich and the corkscrew to the officer and at that point I only felt sorry for one thing: I didn’t have a nice Chablis to go with it! 

Travel is powerful because it helps us to be patient -I’m always hype so for me that is a challenge- and adaptable. We gotta be able to change pace, to smile when all you want to do is cry. But one of the things that hits me the most when I travel is to see humanity in others. We are all in this together, we have similar interests and goals and this makes us discover a better version of ourselves. And travel is also the greatest experience of humbleness and gratefulness. We see a lot of people in different situations and we realize how lucky we are with our lives despite the hard work, the struggles and challenges we face in the every day life back home.

Travelling is finding inspiration

To me like to many of you also, travel is the greatest source of inspiration. It makes us fall in love with learning. It triggers our curiosity, it allow us to be with our own deeper self triggering the life of an explorer ready to meet new people and learning new things like we have always wanted to be as kids. While traveling, we can be forced to adapt and accomodate but we also have the chance to breath life, think and observes at our own pace. We can reflect as we like to, we can see new ideas handling small talks or maybe indulging in unexpectedly intimate and deep conversations. 

Traveling also to move ourselves more. How much do we walk without even realizing we have already covered 20K? This moving around I think is good for our endorphins and other happiness substances we are able to produce. 

One last thing about travel is that it creates a sort of magical lens through which we can place ourselves living somewhere. We can immagine how would our life be here in this place so far away from home. And when we find that strange feeling of home even when we are so distant from our home then we perceive the world as way smaller and connected. Travel is the most immersive mind opening experience: intellectually, physically, emotionally and even on a spiritual level. 

Travelling is Vancouver!

Oh, I almost forgot to say why I am here in Canada. I was nominated key-note speaker of the 45th International Vancouver Wine Festival. Yes, yes, yes it is truly happening. 

8 days where the Wine World will be here with thousand of wines from each corner of the world and Italy as the main theme!

I will introduce the festival and lead a few seminars. I feel honored and excited for this great opportunity I was given. But above all I will share my love for Italian Wines with so many great colleagues and wine makers here in British Columbia. In this beautiful land people seem to have learned one of the most important lesson in life: cooperation. This place is packed with generous and kind people that live by this principle! And that is the sentiment I will live this great challenge by. Wine is the greatest human glue and here in Vancouver it feels like we are even more connected then ever.  

The Seminars I’ll be hosting from the 26 of February:

1. Rocca delle Macie Vertical Tasting Chianti Classico

2. Matching Food&Wine Trade Seminar with Evan Goldstein MS and Filippo Bartolotta: Wines of B.C. vs Italy

3. Italy Reimagined -Theme Plenary

4. Principal Welcome Lunch

5. Italy’s Lightness of Being

6 Challenge of the Red Titans

The full program here: https://vanwinefest.ca