The #1 Reason You Need To Stop Hating Where You Live

It happened in Siena.


Tucked away in the hills of Tuscany, cobbled and bustling with tourists, Siena called to us. It was gorgeous and every bit what I imaged Tuscany to be. After scaling the tower, nearly forgetting my camera (ok, I straight up forgot it at the restaurant and the waiter was kind enough to bring it to me) and being pooped on by a bird I really needed a glass of wine and a panini

We explored the tight bricked streets and stumbled upon a delicious sandwich shop. I wish I had paid more attention to what it was called. The front of the store was crowded and filled with people waiting for a panini or eating one. But, below the shop was a musty but amazing little cellar decked out in old photos, newspaper clippings and artifacts from the 1920’s. We sat on rickety metal chairs and savored our panini with freshly cut meats and cheeses from the area.

The man who made us our sandwiches practically squealed in delight as he over heard Paolo and I talking.

“No Paolo, can you just order,” I had begged.

“Dai, Brooke,” he said with a sigh, then proceeded to order for me.

The man smiled and said, “It’s ok. I speak English. Where are you from?”

I started in on my usual scripted answer. No one knows where Montana is. No one cares, and if they do it’s only long enough to ask if I know Hannah or if I like Miley. No one knows about the beauty that Missoula holds secret to those who live here. No one cares that Brad Pitt filmed a movie here back in the day. No one cares about the river that runs through it. No one cares that Glacier is way better than Yellowstone but Yellowstone gets more praise.  You get my point, though. No one knows where in the world Montana is.

I prattled on and watched as his face grew more and more astounded. I paused, confused about if he was really following what I was saying.

“You know, another group of Americans came through here,” he said. “But, what are the chances that you walk into this shop? I love fly fishing and I know Missoula and I want to go there so badly someday. Brad Pitt was there!”

Needless to say, I was completely taken back by this response. Really? This man lives in freaking ITALY serving panini in a beautiful city in a historic shop, drinking the best wines and enjoying TUSCANY for God’s sake! Yet here he is dreaming about the city I couldn’t have left any faster. It was such a revelation for me, to think that the place I lived was the place someone else had on their bucketlist. It put things into a whole new perspective for me. Every single place in the world has something to offer, whether you think it might or not. The place you are right now, someone else is dreaming of and saving up to see, “someday.”

What I took for granted each day that man in the panini shop was waiting to experience in his life. I hope he gets to Montana someday and I hope beyond hope that he comes through the coffee shop and I get to make him an espresso.

Brooke JohnstonComment