What’s your name, where are you from, and share a little about your mom or dad.
Buongiorno! My name is Karlie Marrazzo and I am a first-generation Canadian from Edmonton, Alberta. My dad, Carlo, was born in the commune of Piane Crati in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. In 1958, when he was just five years old, he emigrated to Canada with my Nonna, his sister and brother, along with several cousins, aunts and uncles. Over the years he has been a mechanic, a photographer and an educator. My mom was a lab tech in a hospital, but her true calling was writing and anything else artistic. Both of my parents instilled in me a passion to look at the world through a different lens, to observe, create and share.
How often do you travel together?
Not as often as I would like! I am an avid traveler (they call me Miss Wanderlust, after all) and my dad is content to stay in Alberta. He loves camping and I... don't love camping. We took a lot of road trips to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and British Columbia when I was a kid. Prior to our trip to Italy, the last time we traveled together was to the Canmore Folk Festival in 2011!
Best tip or words of advice for traveling with parents?
Be patient. If you are an experienced traveler and your parent isn't, be open to different experiences and doing things at a different pace. Our trip to Italy this year was much less structured and much slower paced than what I have done in the past, and it turned out to be a fantastic way to travel. I had always wanted to do a slower trip in Europe, and traveling with my dad gave me that experience.
Any funny stories or light-hearted blunders?
Dressing for a beautiful summer's day in Siracusa, Italy and getting trapped in an absolute downpour, ducking from doorway to doorway and running down the street trying not to get wet. We failed. Miserably. Rivers of water flowed down the streets. This happened two days in a row. We later found out that it hadn't rained there for four months.
What are your favorite activities on vacation together?
Simply sitting back or strolling through town and people watching. Observing our new surroundings and enjoying a different atmosphere.
What places are on your shared bucket list?
We both want to move to/retire in Italy! My dad wants to go to Mexico City and the surrounding pyramids, and I've been, so I would love to show him around there.
Planes, trains, or automobiles?
Canada is made for road trips, and they are one of my favourite ways to travel. I take several road trips a year around Alberta or the neighbouring provinces. However, whenever I leave the country, I leap at the chance to travel by train. I find it very relaxing and I love to stare out the window and daydream. Fun fact: I've been to 34 countries but I'm terrified of flying!
Any notable or unique culinary experiences?
I visited Cosenza, the city nearest the small town where my dad was born, twice before I took him there this year. One of my most memorable meals was at a small restaurant called Calabria Bella tucked in beside the cathedral. On our first night there, jet-lagged and famished, I took my dad to the same restaurant, and even had the same waiter! Seeing his delight at the beauty of Italy and the pure deliciousness of the food made the trip worthwhile.
Do you have a favorite travel memory that encapsulates your parent’s spirit?
Before we left for Italy, my dad was a touch nervous about being able to communicate with people in Italy. He doesn't speak the standard Italian that is taught in schools, but a very specific and old dialect that he learned growing up in Italy. His family and the rest of the Italian community that settled in Edmonton brought this dialect with them, so it has remained in a sort of time capsule since the 1950s. As soon as we got to Calabria, he was talking up a storm, chatting with people we passed on the street, in shops, in restaurants, you name it! When we visited Donnici Superiore (birthplace of my Nonna) and Piane Crati, we met several families that my dad was able to happily communicate with and, in turn, learn more about his family history and the area in general. It was really heart-warming to see him open up like that and to be truly joyful.
What do you cherish the most about your travels together?
Travel is my passion, and it's important to me to be able to share that side of myself with my dad. I love being able to see things through his eyes, as a less experienced traveler, and pushing him to experience something that he otherwise wouldn't have seen. Traveling with a parent is the best way to create memories that neither of you will forget, that will be cherished forever.