A year ago, I left the United States to go home to Italy. While I was searching for someone to watch my bag while I changed into sweatpants for the long flight, I noticed an older couple. I asked them to watch my bag and the woman agreed, then laughed and said, “But there will be a small charge!”

When I came back, I thanked her and we started talking.

Where are you going?

Is this your first time going to Italy?

Her husband, in his 80s, didn’t say a word and continued to read on his tablet. They both seemed to be quite tech-savvy given their iPads, iPhones, and cameras.

I found out they already had been to Italy four times and on this occasion, they would be visiting Milan, Rome, Sicily, and Amalfi.

She had so much energy and longing to explore. Two of their most recent trips had taken them to India and Thailand, and she showed me photos and videos of elephants painting in the jungle (yes, elephants can paint!).

“We travel four or five times a year. The airfare to Italy was cheap. We try to budget!”

I liked Ann instantly. She was the kind of person you could spend hours talking to, her laughter punctuating the conversation.She was thrilled about visiting their friends in New Jersey after they returned from Italy, before heading back to their home in Ohio. And, of course, she couldn’t wait to be in Italy again. She was excited about life. You could tell by looking into her eyes and hearing her infectious laugh.

But there was one thing I liked most about her — the one thing I always look for in people.

She showed me her new Nikon camera with super zoom and said, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for this!“

The light of Golden Hour came in through the wall of windows and the sun was streaked with the most intense colors just behind the Manhattan skyline. She jumped up from her seat and started taking pictures. “I’ve been waiting for the sunset, it’s amazing, look at it!“

She quickly changed position four or five times to find the perfect spot, then proudly showed me the result. Her new camera was as shiny as her smile.

After 70 years she was still amazed by a the sunset. One of the simplest, yet most beautiful things we get to see every day.

Joy in the simple, everyday moments of life is what I strive for. Ann noticed the little things.

Thank you, Ann, for reminding me of this important lesson.

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Giorgio was born and raised in a small Italian coastal town just south of Rome, and currently works as social media manager and magazine editor for a travel magazine. He also has his own blog where he writes about his adventures around the world. Foodie and window seat seeker. Find him on Instagram.

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