As I am riding on a sweltering bus in Spain from Granada to Ronda with my wife the thought that something was missing hit me. We were having a good time, getting to see all the major and minor sites, enjoying tapas, and taking afternoon siestas, but after awhile I got the feeling that something was missing. As I watched fields and fields of sunflowers roll by, I started to think about our last international vacation (five years prior). My good friend (and Italian tutor) Antimo took me and my family to his hometown (Manduria) in southern Italy to meet his family and friends.
For two and a half weeks we didn’t visit a single museum or go to any tourist destinations. What we did do was truly experience the day to day Italy, we got so much more out of that vacation simply because we were with a local who was sharing his life’s experience with us. We harvested grapes at his dad’s countryside vineyard, went to all the best beach spots, learned from his mom how to make authentic frise (traditional rustic bread of the region), pasta, and biscotti. Antimo even took us sea urchin fishing off the coast, where we dove under water to pop the urchins off of rocks with a tablespoon. We got a truly unfiltered, authentic vacation and we actively engaged in many of the locals activities and traditions.
These types of experiences could not be found on our trip to Spain, where we mostly stuck to museums, parks, churches, and sites of interest. We were surrounded by other tourists, not by locals. We were passively taking in the history and culture, not participating in it. What was missing was the local’s perspective, the true culture (not what the local’s think tourists are interested in). So when I returned from Spain the first person I contacted was Antimo and proposed him a concept that would link tourists with Locals from around the world.
It was a magic night for me (Antimo speaking here), it was like the biggest “aha” moment of my life, I did not know whether to pinch myself or jump up and down in joy for having suddenly figured out why I was brought onto this earth. The examples and emotions I perceived from Tyson’s stories and memories of visiting me and my family in southern Italy were very insightful and moving. While it took Tyson five years of perspective to realize what was missing while on vacation, I personally became aware that sharing my culture with friends, out of the goodness of my heart, is not only my second nature, it is my passion. This was the night when my search for “what I was really passionate about and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life” ended and VoomaGo began.
The day we met was just a week before I was to go home to Italy for a vacation, during this time, we lost a lot of sleep creating project plans, a company description, business cards and a framework of the business model we envisioned. While I was In Italy, I started to think from the perspective of Voomago in everything I did and every interaction I had. I was so enthused that I kept on telling friends to get ready as next year VoomaGo would be returning with clients. Typically, I do not say things like that unless I am confident and sure I can fulfill them. With me in Italy and Tyson in Portland, Oregon, we continued acting on our dream and vision with our entire being, hard work and full passion. A year later, we were true to our word so we returned to Italy with clients who enjoyed many of the same Experiences that Tyson and his family raved about years prior.
So now anybody could have a vacation like we had with in Manduria.
Attitude Too Can Be Healthier