Last October, I was on a flight sitting next to my husband of two days. The giddy blur of our wedding behind us, Jeffery and I were honeymooning in Italy.
On the plane, I started thinking about how travel marks transitions in our lives. We celebrate weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays with memorable trips. But sometimes the journey itself is the milestone: your first solo trip, the first you take as a new family. We set off on these trips to be transformed. As Chris Woolston writes in “Boy Meets World,” these travels may not visibly change you, but they can “rewire” your brain.
For me, our honeymoon was both a celebration of a milestone and a milestone in itself. When Jeffery and I pulled into Amalfi the next day, I felt the rush of excitement that hits me when I arrive in a new place. At the Hotel Santa Caterina (the gorgeous pool club is above), we drank Bellinis with Ninni and Giusi Gambardella, whose family has owned the Santa Caterina for four generations. These gracious women have hosted countless celebrations in their hotel. In a way, they’ve created a destination for milestone travel.
In Italy, I photographed the Colosseum; I made notes to remember the pasta pomodoro at the restaurant La Conca del Sogno, and I tweeted to share our memories. But none of that really demonstrated how my perspective shifted on the trip. At our wedding, Jeffery and I had promised many things. One was to be attentive to each other’s needs and desires. That informed simple decisions about where we should go, what we should eat, and how often we should swim (a lot).
At the end of our honeymoon, I found myself people-watching at our gate in the Rome airport. A young American girl was writing in her journal. I can’t say whether she was changed by her trip, but I’ll bet she felt a little rewired. I know I did.
WHAT I BROUGHT HOME
Still lifes by Jeffery Cross. This appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.