In 2011 I Hosted the First Private Tour to Sicily. The Rest Is History!
Terri M. L. was the first brave soul to say yes to my offer to hosting people in my homeland of Sicily.
This was as raw and unplanned as it could get. However, I'll let Terri share her story.
"Time for me, time for a change, time to do something to get me out of this funk.
#1 - Trip to Sicily
#2 - Lose weight
Well, anyone who knows about Sicily can see the problem with this list already. So I am not a good planner.
Enter Maria, a young beautiful, Italian woman who just entered our networking group, and her passion was “to make people's dreams come true!” That got a few chuckles. She worked as a travel agent and travel was her passion. She truly walked the walk.
After listening to her talk about her upcoming trip to Sicily for the 4th time, I perked up when she said: “If anyone wants to come with me, I would love for you to share in my journey”. I didn’t expect my list to start this soon. But according to “The Secret”, I guess this is how it happens.
A couple drinks later we were planning our trip to Sicily. Well, she was planning it. I was literally just along for the ride.
Three weeks in Sicily, this truly was an amazing undertaking for me as I had traveled a week here or a week there but never for three weeks and never this far away. The Universe, as they say, was truly providing for me. Or maybe it was Maria, I still don’t know.
I remember flying into Palermo, the mountains, the sea, the beautiful colors, and buildings. I looked at Maria and almost cried. Both sets of my grandparents were from Sicily and somehow I felt I was returning to my roots.
We ate, we drank, we visited with relatives and we partied. Then, we woke up the next day and did it all over again. Our base was in Canicatti, staying in an apartment across the street from her Aunt and Uncle that a friend of theirs had vacant (we were family after all.)
I had two “go bags” a beach bag and a going out bag. It was pretty much the norm that Maria would give me 30 minutes before the next relative was to pick us up and take us somewhere else. From Palermo to Canicatti, to Taormina, to Cefalu, to Syracusa, and back again, it was a whirlwind trip.
We never stopped. I was like a little kid taking everything in and Maria couldn’t be more excited to share it all with me.
The women are beautiful and the men even more so. The smiles, the feeling of family with these complete strangers was like a warm blanket I could snuggle in all night.
I didn’t speak Italian, but I was able to understand them by hand movements, volume, and expressions. Everyone wanted to speak English.
Maria put me in a car with her cousin and some friends to go to dinner one night. No one spoke English, but by the time we arrived at dinner (40 minutes later) I figured out Lilo and Roberta (Maria's cousins) had traveled to the U.S. for their Honeymoon, spent in Miami Beach at the Lowes hotel. Go, Terri!
I have no idea what they think I did or what they got from “laser hair removal”, except I got a lot of strange looks.
The countryside, the beaches and the small towns we traveled were so different but yet, held a similarity familiar somehow familiar to me.
The ruins, the salt cliffs, and Mt Etna were all sights to behold but the one thing I learned is they live!
From the moment they wake, till the time comes to rest their heads at night, they live.
I took lots of pictures of everything, I kept a journal, but five years later, I remember the smell of the bakery where we indulged in freshly made cannoli with warm goat cheese filling, the taste of my first olive at dinner our first night, how to make tiramisu from scratch (thanks to zia Anna) and that I don’t like fresh sea urchin.
My most heartfelt memories are of the family napping on the beach, in the shade of trees after a big BBQ. A picture of Maria and I with our feet on the railing high above the seaside' a jazz bar at 3:00 in the morning; walking the path of Greek ruins at night with a stray dog; the loud conversation around the dinner table; a smoky alley with the best food vendors, the country house; the bus rides and the most expensive drink ever ( in the most beautiful setting ever) and Maria’s infectious, never ending, smile.
It’s almost like every time I looked at her she could see inside me, know what I was thinking without saying a word, and know how much this meant to me. She touches people that way. She affects people and in turn, they are better people because of the shared experience.
One thing I can say is this trip, this adventure, this epiphany, never would have happened if Maria had not entered my life. To this day she is my best friend and we continue to have adventures.
I know Sicily will not be the last of my trips with Maria, maybe Greece next? Maybe back to Sicily? Either way, I know this is only the beginning for us, as our life journey continues."
- Terri M. Labrecque / CEO of Laser Aesthetics of Clearwater
I (Mariagrazia Lauricella) would love to hear from you. If you're interested in creating your own story please fill out a booking request form. We can set up a time to chat and I'll be able to explain the entire process, see if the trips I plan are a good fit for you. Most importantly I'll be able to show you how easy and cost-efficient your dream trip or 'bucket- list' trip can be.