Abrasions During our Family Travels: An Introduction

Jamil and I have been traveling to Italy since we met. Truly. In June 2007, Jamil and I took our first trip together. He met me in Turin after I’d spent a week in Florence with my best friend, Jennifer, and her mother and sister. We drove up into the hills of Piemonte (or was it Lombardy?… the Italian regions in the North tend to overlap for me) and checked into a verdant, delightful agriturismo, a running farm that also hosts guests. We navigated the twisting highways of Genoa on the way to Pisa, where we not only saw the iconic tower, which really leans, but also collected Jamil’s misplaced luggage, which Continental had so graciously delivered to the Pisa airport because of its relative proximity to the agriturismo. Nothing was actually close to that agriturismo, nothing but the gravel road at a 30% grade that led treacherously up the craggy hillside and threatened to pull our Fiat Punto back to the autostrada. So, we didn’t blame the airline for opting out of a direct delivery. And that impromptu schlep to the Pisa airport gave Jamil his first brush with what my dad fondly refers to as “the abrasions of travel”. You inevitably encounter inconveniences when you fly thousands of miles from your comfort zone, and if you’ve got a somewhat sunny disposition about those glitches, you often find those are the stories you laugh about and relish later. We still talk about the humble supermarket where we stopped to buy groceries in Pisa. (That morning, the agriturismo unceremoniously and unapologetically informed us that dinner would not be served, despite the fact that driving at night on that godforsaken road was a death wish.) Determined to cook on the tiny kitchenette stove in our room, we purchased unmarked sausages in a Styrofoam container and an array of vegetables that I can no longer recall. All I remember are those incredible sausages, probably the best we’ve ever prepared. It was a highlight of that trip.

I felt like I might dedicate a few posts to the abrasions of travel we’ve faced, mostly since Josephine was born, because as with that surprise trip to Pisa, we’re still talking about those mishaps. Stay tuned.

Author: Jessica Givens