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Archive for January, 2012

What We Seek

The other night I took “The Power of Myth” off our bookshelf. I haven’t read the book in years – don’t know why it called to me, but it did. It is a record of Bill Moyers’ interviews of Joseph Campbell. It doesn’t take long to get very interesting!

Here are two quotes from the first few pages.

  • People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, . . .
  • We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.

I think feeling alive is why Italy resonates with so many people. There are a variety of ways it accomplishes this. In Italy your senses are engaged – all of them. The fact that it is different means you need all your senses to be able to understand those differences. It is also due to the fact that there is so much to engage your senses. Life is art in Italy and so much is given an artful touch, even the simplest thing. A pizza is beautiful, just as their

Beauty in Pizza and Piazza

piazzas are. Italian cities, at least the older sections are built on a human scale, and this engages your senses.

So your senses are alive in Italy. And when that happens we are in touch with our deeper selves. The seemingly important work to achieve purposes fades as we explore that inner part of us we rarely look at when we are doing. The exploration of the inner is a gift Italy gives us. The thing I love about our art trips is that the art serves as a conduit for these deeper experiences. It provides the medium by which we see with all our senses and truly are alive. It really is wonderful!

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Blind French author Jacques Lusseyran said about learning to get around when he became blind, ” . . . this means an end of living in front of things and a beginning of living with them.” Having just posted about Facebook, his words struck me as an apt description of the Facebook experience versus life. With Facebook you live in front of the computer. In life you live with the things and people in life.

I’m not here to beat up on Facebook, but reading this today brought it to mind. Also today I read  that a Utah Valley University study found that Facebook is making people sad. Why? Because all the images are of happy people and the Facebook reader  deduces that everyone elses’s live is happier than theirs.

And no Theresa, no Twitter either! Ok enough about Facebook! Cheers.

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I read today that Facebook is about to release 100 apps for use with their program. It got me thinking about Facebook and social media. Few will agree with me, but I just am not a fan. It is so not what we do in Italy, which is to pay attention to where you are and what your are doing. Italy, and I hope life, is about living the life that surrounds you, aware of what is taking place in front of you.

Facebook is so much the opposite. I’m sure I will be taken to task for not appreciating and understanding what it offers. But it seems to me that Facebook lets people live life at arms length from everyone. Yes you follow what everyone is doing so you stay current. But while you follow everyone else, you do nothing. And you aren’t involved in the lives of the people you follow, you are simply observing from afar. It is so much more fulfilling and alive to talk with the people who travel with us in Italy than to sit before the glow of a computer screen and see what people all over the world are doing.

She could be uploading to Facebook

Who has time to put the often irrelevant details of your life on Facebook. I’m sure it is a thrill to have lots of followers, although putting your life in front of everyone to see seems a bit bizarre. And if you spend all this time uploading to Facebook, you really aren’t present where ever you are. You aren’t truly living. It is more like putting yourself in a zoo for others to watch you.

We have a Facebook account and page for Adventures in Italy because we are told you have to do so in today’s world. Social media is where it’s at. We have one, but I rarely go there, I rarely put anything on it. Essentially then, it is worthless from a business standpoint. Frankly, I am not going to spend my time thinking of ways for people to follow what we do on Facebook, because for me it is a waste, has no value I can discern.

This blog I do for the business. But it is tied to our passion for Italy. It is a place to express what I’m feeling (such as in this post) as opposed to letting people know what I’m eating, or drinking. I don’t write here that often either, but when I do I at least care about what I am writing. Somehow, for me, there is a big divide between sharing something of importance versus something meaningless.

Perhaps I show my age. Yet I take some solace that I am not just being a Luddite when my son doesn’t have a Facebook account, and my daughter uses it sparingly. I apologize to all the Facebook fans, but I find more in life by being with others face-to-face.

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Learning Vacations

Orvieto's lively streets

Somewhat unbelievably we are entering our 10th year of leading trips to Orvieto. It kind of snuck up on us. It has been so much fun, so rewarding on many different levels with new friends and wonderful experiences. Little did I know when I did my first trip for city planners it would grow and morph to become what it is today.

That first year I ever visited Orvieto back in 2003 was just days before my group arrived. I had to get the lay of the land to guide them through the learning exercises. Since that time we have developed amazing relationships with the city, the international Slow Cities headquarter staff based in Orvieto, and many individuals, restaurant, cafe and business owners. Just such an unbelievable treat to return twice a year to renew our friendships, make new friends, welcome our guests, and watch the amazing art they produce. Simply fabulous.

Food is a big part of our trips!

I have not been as regular on this blog as I should be. But my blog host sent me a report saying 20,000 people read the blog in 2011. That was a surprise to me.

So it has been fun. We have great trips lined up for our tenth year, and we have trips scheduled for 2013 as well. We are looking forward to many more trips to Orvieto. Thanks to all who have traveled with us, all who follow this blog, and to our many friends developed as a result of our Adventures in Italy.

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