T.C.K. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was an American professional basketball player born in Philadelphia, Penn. U.S.A., in 1978. When he was 6, Bryant’s father Joe transitioned from playing in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the U.S. to an Italian men’s basketball club. They lived in Italy for seven of Bryant’s formative years, 1983-1991. According to the Lonely Planet, the family first traveled to Rieti, Italy, for two seasons then moved to Reggio Calabria, followed by Pistoia in Tuscany. Their last move was to Reggio Emilia, Italy, where they lived until Bryant was 13.
Reggio Emilia is the town where Bryant believed he formed most of his memories and learned how to speak fluent Italian and Spanish. Bryant said in “BaskeTime magazine” in 2016, “I have many memories, it’s special,” and “My story began in this town.” Italy was where Bryant learned to shoot layups and where, as he told the Washington Post, “my dream began.” Bryant also mentioned his experience overseas shaped his upbringing on and off the court which “set him apart from his opponents in years to come.” Bryant’s experience closely relates to the life experience of a good family friend, Paige Karlin Dioguardi.
Paige Dioguardi’s Story
Dioguardi is a wife and a mother of two daughters living in Bend, Ore. U.S.A. She grew up in an upper-class suburb of Chicago, Ill. Her parents sent her to live with a family in Baune, France, in the French wine country for three weeks when she was 10 years old. Dioguardi had to take six months of French prior to her exchange trip in order to attend school while she was there. She remembers learning the language prior to her arrival did not offer her the security and familiarity her parents thought it would. In our interview she said, “It was super scary at first, I remember the first night I was there I had to pull out my french-english dictionary and look up the word homesick. I had only talked to my parents once in the weeks I was there.”
Being immersed in a new and foreign culture exposed her to so much; at the impressionable stage in middle school, it changed her life forever. Her early travel experience formed her curiosity about culture, influenced her acceptance of others and made her feel brave in the face of the unknown and unfamiliar.
The only way to experience culture is to fully immerse yourself.Paige Dioguardi
France and the love of traveling will always stay close to her heart due to this experience in her formative years. “It was just this moment when the world feels so large, there is so much to learn.” France birthed the realization she had a love for travel and wanted to have these experiences over and over again. Dioguardi said, “France really opened my eyes up to the fact that there was so much to do and see and experience and learn and it gave me a little taste of all that I wanted to do with my life.” She brings this mentality into parenting, and has sent her daughter to Thailand alone at age 15 and continues to travel with her family to places like Spain, Italy and Portugal. About her daughters, Dioguardi said she “will forever encourage them to travel.”
Love for Travel
Like Kobe Bryant and Paige Dioguardi, being immersed in a different culture on your own at a young age permanently alters who you are and informs your mindset. Although Bryant died far too young, his love for travel remains a remembered prominent trait and topic. According to The Budget Savvy Travelers, “During his downtime, he enjoyed taking family vacations and sharing the world with his wife Vanessa, and their children.” Passing a prioritization and love of travel to their daughters is something both Bryant and Dioguardi have made sure to do.
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