What is the best memory I have?
I was maybe, 10 years old.
I was incredibly fortunate to have spent many childhood summers in Italy.
My dad was born there and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 18 months old in 1950.
His two sisters and all my cousins still live there. So every other summer, through elementary and middle school, I was either in Italy with my family or my cousin Emma was here with me.
My dad and his family grew up in a rustic, beautiful 400-year-old farm house in the hills above Lago di Garda, just hours south of Austria.
Eight weeks of pure adventure. Wake up and take off. We were kids. And that’s what kids are supposed to do. Mornings by the lake, afternoons in the mountains, and evenings eating pasta. What more could you want?
Maybe this is what sparked my love of adventure. Or my fierce independence. Or my willingness to try anything. My pure love of just getting lost.
There was one afternoon, Emma and I had been gone for hours. We had wandered off behind Madonna Del Rio, a church down the quiet cobblestone road. Just beyond it, buried back in the mountains, were endless trails and paths to discover. After awhile of wandering along, we stumbled upon a waterfall. A waterfall so majestic, so powerful, so magnificent, especially from the eyes of a child. I stared at it in absolute awe. I remember sitting on the edge, feet dangling in the water, completely frozen in time. Looking straight up, squinting my eyes, I could barely see the top. Lost somewhere in the mountains of Northern Italy, a little 10 year old girl just sat in pure amazement and wonder.
My love of adventure instantly exploded.
And I remember it like it was yesterday.
Did I turn back and go home even though I was positive my mother was worrying after not seeing me all day and the sun was starting to go down?
We pressed on. More mountains, more waterfalls. More exploring. More adventuring. Only eventually returning home because I knew pasta was waiting for me.
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