Twenty years ago we blew every penny we were given for our wedding and honeymoon and went to Italy. One of us had just graduated and was jobless and the other would be returning to a work-study job in a preschool making minimum wage. We could care less. He had offered to take me out of the country for the very first time and not a common sense piece of logic could have stopped me from being so whimsical. One would hope that after 20 years, a healthy mix of responsibility, savings, and income would lend itself to either an easy to afford anniversary trip or the reserve to not go. Unfortunately, that first trip abroad created an insatiable zest for travel and taught us how to do it within our finances, small as they may be. And, having spent the last 2 decades in ministry, income never quite allowed us to be sensible. Creative is the way of travel for us.
To make this 20th anniversary trip back to Italy a reality we relied on two things: credit cards that gave us 50,000 air miles for signing up (which turned into 2 free tickets) and a father who gifted us with timeshare points to stay in an apartment, in the middle of Tuscany, for free. The apartment allowed us to cook most meals and that left our biggest extravagance: a hotspot to enable Siri to talk us through the crazy mountain roads of the Crete Sienese, in butchered Italian no less.
Folks, if you long to travel and see the world, figure out a way to make it happen. Get creative and think outside of the box. I guarantee you'll spend as much for a week in Disney or on a beach in Mexico. I'll spare you the throw back photos I took 20 years ago when I first took over the camera! But hopefully these pictures come close to expressing the beauty of Italy.