You Won’t Find This in a Guidebook to Rome

You Won’t Find This in a Guidebook to Rome

ITALY. There’s all of that fascinating history and so many great cities and the vibrant culture (i.e. FOOD, WINE, etc.). I experienced all of the above my trip to Italy, but the most incredible aspect of my trip was the people I met along the way.

I don’t believe in coincidences. We’re all here to teach and be taught by those around us. The people who we come into contact with serve a purpose in our lives, whether we realize it or not. So when I travel to new places, I always have a sense of curiosity when it comes to who I meet along the way.

With that, I want to share some stories about the wonderful people I met while in Italy and the lessons they taught me. And here’s part 1:

You know those people who stand in the middle of popular tourist spots and sell annoying, useless things on the street? I mean, the things they sell have Furby-levels of uselessness. It’s the man with a bouquet of roses, trying to guilt the men into buying their girlfriends a rose or the dude selling cheap, light-up plastic trinkets of all colors. I don’t think I’ve ever said more than two words to these insistent salesmen besides “no, thanks” in any given language.

Two dark-skinned men approached me holding an armful of stuffed animals as I stood sipping a beer in Rome with some new friends. After we politely declined the man’s tired sales pitch, one of them turned to me and said, “You’re Christian, yeah? Aren’t you? You don’t talk to me because I’m Muslim.” His tone could have been condescending but I think he said it more out of frustration from a long day. Then he started to walk away.

“Love is my religion, brother,” I responded, quoting one of my favorite Ziggy Marley songs and sounding more hippie than ever before.

He turned around, and a smile flashed across his face.

“That’s what I’m sayin’, my sister. We’re all humans first,” he said as reached out for me to shake his hand.

Even this short interaction reminded me how no matter what society, religion, culture, or whatever else is telling us that we’re different, we are all human. We’re all going through life trying to be happy and hopefully make a positive difference in our world.

Adventures in Rome

Adventures in Rome

Going with the theme of unity and oneness through travel, I wanted to share another story about the people I came into contact with while in Rome.

My Airbnb host in Rome worked as a professional chef. Knowing this, I managed to refrain from spilling details of my signature dish that I’ve been perfecting: The PB&J. You know, didn’t want to intimidate her with complicated American recipes.

Within 10 minutes of meeting her, she invited me to a dinner party that night where she’d be cooking traditional Italian food. I promptly agreed without any details because why not. That night, we walked through Trastevere, one of Rome’s trendy neighborhoods, to her friend’s apartment. My Airbnb host, Hilary, made her way to the kitchen, and I attempted to mingle with the dinner guests. I edged around groups of people and listened to their conversations while they chatted like old friends in a language I don’t think I’d ever even heard of. I scavenged for a glass of wine, then ran to Hilary for refuge.

After getting vital details of, you know, what this whole dinner party was all about, I understood that it was through That’s this website that facilitates a night full of great food and wine with people from all over the world in the homes of incredible chefs in cities around the world.

After the first glass of wine, I decided to break my silence at the risk of being the eh-stupid American. I said, “I know this is a stupid question…but what language are you speaking?” They told me they’re speaking Hebrew, as they were all from Israel. I panicked because much like quantum physics, I had zero knowledge about Israel, the culture, and its people…much less what to talk about with them at a fancy dinner party in Italy.

As the self-proclaimed awkward bad ass that I am, I went on this elaborate story about how my uncle is the great grandson of Albert Einstein, who is also Jewish and that I’m still not any good at science because he’s my uncle through marriage and not by blood. That unnecessary, but extremely fun fact was all it took to be welcomed whole-heartedly into their world. Fast forward to the end of the night, and I had learned all about my new friends’ professions, families, culture, and ideas on life and what’s important in theirs. It was so nice to have real conversations with people from different walks on life about things that mattered.

At the end of the night, a few of them gave me their business cards. They were all so incredibly friendly and invited me to come to Israel and stay in their homes and date their beautiful sons.

My night getting to know these wonderful people taught me that we can all find some things that we have in common with others even if it doesn’t seem so at first. I live for these moments when you can slow down and realize the oneness of humanity. It’s a beautiful thing.

Have you ever experienced something like this while traveling? Tell me about it through Facebook!

Below is a video of the EatWith chef from the dinner party. A lovely woman and an incredible chef!!