Who joined the Air Force to always stay in one place and never leave their hometown? Maybe some, but many join for the chance to go places, see new things and experience the world, among other reasons (job security, paid training, benefits, etc.). But we’re focusing on the travel aspect of the Air Force way of life. The part that sends families to live in exotic, obscure locations all over the world; not only to visit, but also to live in, dive in and breathe in. Among the worldwide American AF bases, only one has that dazzling Italian charm. Of course we’re talking about Aviano Air Base in Italy for this week’s Best Base Feature!
Brianna Low and her spouse, TSgt Devin Low, have been lucky enough to experience Aviano and are in fact still living there. The couple makes their way to Minot AFB soon, but Brianna couldn’t wait to share her thoughts about what made this place a best base assignment for her. Although originally from Massachusetts, Brianna was in awe when she first found out they were going to Italy. She said, “I didn’t believe it at first when my husband told me. I always wanted to live in Europe and felt like that dream was finally coming true.” At first Brianna was intimidated about moving to a foreign country. The new way of life and language barrier can be a scary challenge. Yet Brianna said she was surprised when arriving because the locals were all very kind to them, and they tended to know enough English to be able to communicate well with each other. Another one of Brianna’s favorite parts of living in Aviano is the pure natural beauty that engulfed her. She said that the location was near to the beaches, mountains and cities yet it did not feel claustrophobic or chaotic at all. There was something for everyone and they learned quickly to embrace the local culture instead of fearing it.
It is no secret that positive thoughts create positive experiences, and Brianna is another example of this thought process. She believes that anywhere can be a Best Base if looking for the good parts. She said,
Brianna’s Top 5 Reasons that Aviano Air Base is the BEST Base
- The Community on Base– “Being at an overseas base, there is a sense of community on base. Everyone feels a little closer to each other because we are all we have. The friends we made there become your family, you do holidays, vacations, and life events together that create a special bond.”
- The Ease and Affordability of Travel– “Traveling was insanely easy. The airport was about 30 minutes away and the flights were a maximum 2.5 hours to anywhere in Europe. The most we ever paid for flights was €45 each (round trip) to Dublin, Ireland. We were able to explore almost all our Europe while being in Italy. We even drove to Nice, France, and Monaco for Christmas while there and it was only a 5.5 hour drive.”
- The Local Farmers Markets– “They would have everything from your traditional fruit and veggie stands to stands for shoes, clothes, kitchen equipment, curtains, anything. It acted as a one stop shop and everything was so much more affordable! You could get your veggies and fruits for the week for €10.”
- The Perfect Location– “The base is located at the base of the Dolomites. You have access to the mountains to hike and ski in the winter. On the other side you could drive 1.5 and make it to the beach in the summer or hop on a train and in 30 minutes you’re in Venice or Trieste. It just felt like you could have a little bit of everything there.”
- The Plethora of Things to Do– “With the ease of travel and the location, it was really hard to not have something to do. Have a long weekend? Hop on a plane and explore. Afternoon off? Drive 10 minutes to Pordenone and see a movie. There were just all sorts of options in the area that made it feel like you would never have to just sit at home bored.”