As the door opens into Lou and Laurie Appignani's home, Miami seems a world away. Most striking is a precisely arranged collection of ceremonial masks from their visits to Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Each mask has its own story — stories that Lou happily shares.
By stepping into the unfamiliar, the Appignanis have come to appreciate the best elements of humanity. With nostalgic undertones, Laurie says, "We feel like vagabonds of the planet. There is so much to explore, so little time."
Lou and Laurie have spent a lifetime following their compass across the map. Laurie continues, "It's those moments in faraway places — a small gesture from a stranger who offers to share the little they have — it speaks volumes to me."
"We've been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel." She looks at Lou with a warm smile. "By immersing ourselves in different cultures, embracing a world of unique identities, we've learned how each of us can take steps to make this a better place, before we depart it."
The couple's favorite thumbtacks on the map are pressed on paths less traveled — Outer Mongolia, the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, Namibia, Libya and Antarctica, to name a few. But these destinations represent more than just another pinhole. The couple's global experiences drive their humanitarian efforts.
"A life of travel helps you see things in new ways. It's given us a sense of belonging. When it comes down to it, we're all members of the same tribe," Lou says. Read the rest of the story.