One sandwich, Per Favore

My friend John asked me today if he needs to speak the language in order to go on these trips.  He said he’s a pretty inexperienced traveller, and was a little nervous.

The answer was "of course not." 

I told him the story of Fred.  Last year, when we went to Tuscany, we were standing in the Florence airport waiting on some other travelers.   Fred looked around, said he was hungry and wanted a sandwich.  I pointed to the sandwich kiosk nearby.  He paused, and said, “Hmm… well how do I ask for it?  What do I say?”   

The few of us with him encouraged him, and simply said, “Ask for one sandwich.  It’s just like ordering at home! And if you mess up, point and hold up a number with your fingers.”

Reluctantly he sidled up to the counter and soon returned with an amazing looking sandwich, especially for airport standards.  This was Italy after all.  

 VOILA! Wait, wrong language...

VOILA! Wait, wrong language...

The look in Fred’s eyes I will never forget.  The excitement and joy of traveling had struck him.  He’d broken the code.

 Once Fred broke the language barrier code, there was no stopping him.

Once Fred broke the language barrier code, there was no stopping him.

We’ve met a lot of people on our trips, and have even now made friends that we look forward to catching up with every year.

You get better at traveling.  There’s always a little nervousness, but it’s so easy to overcome the language barriers simply by tapping into your good nature, trying your best, laughing at your mistakes, and simply treating people with respect.  

This is the attitude we carry our trips –  on our bikes with each other, and off the bikes wherever we go. 

 It didn't take long for Fred to find his comfort zone in Tuscany.

It didn't take long for Fred to find his comfort zone in Tuscany.

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Mission Cycling Tuscany Camp. May 14-21. Join us!
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Ryan Khavari