Good evening! A couple of years ago the company I work for allowed me the privilege of being one of the lucky employees that was able to go on a trip to Cherasco, Italy. To start with a little background about me, I currently work for an automotive equipment company in a small town in Oklahoma. We build equipped vehicles for several large customers including the Postal Service, The United States Military, Chesapeake Energy and many more. Currently our largest volume build is converting vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas or CNG. It is an exciting and interesting business to be in as I feel we our working at the forefront of new Green Energy technology and are actively working to lessen the United States dependency on foreign oil. However, enough about work. If you want to know more about our business or CNG conversions, feel free to comment or email me and I would be happy to discuss the details.
Now, after you know a little bit about how I am involved with CNG I can explain how this turned into a trip to Italy for me and a couple coworkers a few years ago. The parent company of the CNG kit manufacturer that we purchase the majority of our supplies from is headquartered in Cherasco Italy. We were fortunate enough to be able to spend a full week in Italy and it was an awesome experience. One of my favorite television shows, which is sadly in its final season, is “No Reservations” with Anthony Bourdain. If I could name a dream job to have it would be his, For those of you who are not familiar with the show the basic premise it that the host, Bourdain, travels to various locations all over the world and samples their culinary offerings as well as imbedding himself in the local culture. One of the best things about the show is that he is always accompanied by a local so he often gets to travel to smaller cities, restaurants and local hangouts that the traditional tourist would not have the fortune of visiting. My trip to Italy was as close to this life as I have come thus far. We were lucky enough to have a couple of employees from the company give us a tour around the city to many of the favorite local restaurants and historical sites. We toured churches built in the 1800′s, dined on traditional Italian cuisine at family owned butcher shops and restaurants and generally lived as if we were born and raised in the area for a week. It was one of the most interesting and memorable experiences of my life and one that i am truly thankful to have had the fortune to experience. Last, I would like to recommend that if possible you should try to get off the beaten path on your next vacation. Many of the places we saw and people we met were what made this trip much more fulfilling then the typical tourist trap destination. As I travel i often find it is the people at a location that make it worth coming back to. You can have the most beautiful beach setting on earth, but if the locals are not friendly, the service at your hotel is not up to par or you just don’t fit in with the local culture the odds of returning to that location are often greatly diminished. On the flip side, many people do not make the time or the effort to interact with the local people or culture and for those i can only say that they are missing out on what may be the best part of any destination.