Have you ever seen something so beautiful you didn’t think it could possibly be real?

Sometimes I’m amazed by the beauty of the world we live in. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to see something truly amazing and beautiful, but I suppose that’s what makes the beautiful moments I have experienced even more breathtaking.

In the summer of 2010, I lived in Siena, Italy, for two months on a study abroad program. As part of this program, each student participated in an internship at a local business. My internship was in La Ristorante Bagoga, a fancy restaurant in the city. I worked in the back and eventually learned my way around an Italian kitchen.

One day, about a week into my internship, my boss, Pierino, asked if I would help him cater a dinner party of tourists from Holland at Villa Trasqua, a villa out in the middle of the Tuscan countryside.

We set out on his little Vespa, traversing Tuscany’s rolling hills to reach the villa, passing through beautiful valleys covered in yellow flowers that welcomed the summer. As we arrived at the villa just before sunset, the sky was lit up in oranges, reds, and purples.

We prepared the dinner and served it to the delight of our Dutch guests. When we finished our work at around eleven at night, I got to take a break. Walking out onto the villa’s balcony, I lay down on a lounge chair, looked up into the sky, and caught my breath.

As my eyes gazed upward, I saw millions of stars—more stars than I’ve ever seen at one time in my whole life. It was absolutely gorgeous, an amazing example of the beauty you can find all around the world.

There is beauty to be found in the expected places, like Tuscany, which is arguably one of the most beautiful areas of the world. But there is also beauty in the unexpected places. I expected to see gorgeous rolling hills and valleys covered with yellow flowers, but I didn’t expect to see the beauty of the sunset or the wonder of the millions of stars.

This is why I love travel. It allows us to get to know new places and new people and learn to appreciate the unexpected beauty that can truly take our breath away.

—Sydnee Bowler

Photo Credit:
Michael Curry