|a simple meal allowing for old friends to catch up|
|Torre Garisenda and Asinelli in Bologna|
|the stairs of Torre Asinelli|
As this is the final post, I wanted to conclude with the number one take home message that I learned during my time here. Yes, I ate lots of pizza, picked up great concepts, drink many glasses of wine, and met amazing people, but these things do not summarize my trip in my mind. Rather, its that belief in one's self is an amazing thing. Before and during the trip, I was constantly asked if I was scared or worried about being in the country alone and traveling by bike. My typical answer was no and that I felt well prepared. But deep down, yes, there was concern and anxiety. However, and more importantly, I really believed that I could make this trip successful in all the aspects I wanted to (e.g. seeing as much as I could and creating partnerships with Italian food producers). I knew I'd have to work hard on the bike, be flexible with my schedule, speak from the heart, and listen rather than just hear. When the time came, I delivered on these points and it allowed me to make the most of my daily destinations and meet and hear the story and culture of many Italians.
As many of you know, I have ambitious plans for the near future. Again, deep down there is fear and anxiety about making it a reality and from Italy, I bring back many concepts, recipes, and stories that will be amazingly valuable. But of greater importance and something that is invaluable, I bring back a deeper sense of belief in myself and in my hopes for bringing something unique to our community. I know I am excited and I hope you are too.
Ciao e grazie to all of my dear friends and family. Your pizzaiolo is heading home.