Have you ever resisted going somewhere but gone anyway because someone prodded you? And then something really good came out of it?
That’s how I met one of my big loves, my Tuscan boyfriend in Florence, in 1979. Green lights flash in my mind when I encounter situations with a similar feel.
I’d never wanted to go to BIT, the big Italian tourism trade fair in Milan. International tour companies and travel agencies go there to meet Italian sellers of hotels, cooking school classes, local tours. I’ve always found my own suppliers in Italy through serendipity or Internet searches. Mama Margaret & Friends is more of a seller, looking for international companies to sell our tours. That’s what I told the man at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver on the phone.
“The Italian government is paying, so why not go”, he said.
“My time is precious. Plus I don’t want to waste the Italian government’s money since they don’t have much.”
He said, “You’ll be with buyers all around you at meals, on the bus, so you can network.”
OK, I’d go from February 13-17. As a buyer in disguise, I’d have to accept appointments with Italian tour companies, hotels etc.
My mind started opening. Mama Margaret’s Italian cooking tour list had a few gaps like two regions where we offer no cooking and wine tours. Who knows who I’d meet? What I’d learn browsing stands of Italy’s regions in the fair’s two buildings?
My intuition chimed in. “Someone has twisted your arm into going. Something really good will happen.”
From my 18 appointments, I found three excellent potential new tour partners who I’d like to work with now plus other interesting ones. For example, I learned about a romantic experience with roses and rose petals scattered all over a lovely room in a medieval palazzo in a hill town in Emilia-Romagna. Perfect for couples celebrating big wedding anniversaries!
I met a sommelier tour operator from near Naples who helps people whose families immigrated from the Campania region to find living relatives they didn’t know existed …while taking them on his wine tours to some of Campania’s best wineries.
I networked wherever I could, striking up conversations with fellow buyers in the hotel elevator, around breakfast tables or near my desk at the fair. I found myself among a friendly community of like minded souls, passionate about Italy travel and had lots of good chats and laughs. New professional friends, some of whom were interested in selling Mama Margaret’s Italy cooking tours!
What kind of similar experiences have you had when you’ve resisted doing something?