Cinque Terre & Friends

Cinque Terre & Friends


I realized after posting last week that the blog post title (Travel is Torture) might be a bit of an inaccurate picture of how things have been going. Despite some stress and sadness, this trip has already exceeded my expectations. I think that one of the main reasons that it’s been so incredible so far is because of my great roommates and friends that I’ve made since being here. They’ve been so fun and positive and we’ve had a great time living together and experiencing Europe.


I know that I’ll look back on this time as something incredible that I can never return to, and I’m trying my best to soak it all up.


It’s been interesting traveling here, as I’ve only really ever traveled with my family. It’s been a good learning experience figuring out train and plane tickets, AirBnb’s and hostels, and everything else involved with traveling. It makes me much more confident, and it also made me start considering trips I’d like to take when I get home!


This last weekend we went to Cinque Terre and it was even more amazing than we expected! It felt like a movie set.


We swam (even though it was cold!), ate lots of pesto, foccacia and seafood, and soaked up the sunshine. It was definitely an amazing, can’t miss experience.

We’re going to Switzerland this weekend, so I’ll be posting about that soon!



Travel Equals Torture

Travel Equals Torture


In my travel writing class, we’ve been discussing how traveling is a bit like torture. It stretches you, it changes you and it can be very painful. I am so happy to be in Italy, and I’m so thankful and privileged to be able to travel around Europe this semester- I couldn’t be luckier.


But it’s also true that this has been so hard, and it will continue to be hard. It’s hard to be so far away from home, away from everyone I love and everything familiar. It’s hard to navigate airports, train stations and cities that are completely foreign. I’ve already learned so much about myself, and I’ve gained so much confidence in my individual abilities, and needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about gaining a non-American perspective on this world.

But travel can be torture. I love sharing all the fun and beauty and excitement, but it’s also important to share the shadows and the loneliness and the uncomfortable reality of being a stranger.


On a lighter note, we visited Verona yesterday, the city where Romeo and Juliet is based. We visited Juliet’s home, her tomb, and the ancient Roman arena. dsc_0140 dsc_0175

It’s so surreal to visit places I’ve only ever seen in movies- it doesn’t feel possible that I’m actually here, but here I am for months! It’s pretty incredible and I’m so so thankful.

Week One: 6,199 Miles Away


The first week of my semester abroad is over, and it’s been just as amazing and beautiful and surreal as I dreamed. Walking around Florence is like being a part of a fairy tale, so it hasn’t sunk in that this is my home for the next four months. We’ve done a lot of sightseeing in this first week in Florence, but there are still so many things to see and do- visiting churches, museums, the Tuscan countryside, flea markets and specific restaurants are just a few of the items on my Florence bucket list.


One of my favorite aspects of Florence is how walkable the central part of the city is- I’m walking between 7 and 10 miles every day, and I love the ability to just dash down to the grocery store or a beautiful piazza. The rain and gloomy weather the last few days have put a bit of a damper on exploration, but hopefully the sun will come back out soon.


A group of us took a walk up to the Piazzale Michelangelo on the outskirts of the city to enjoy the gorgeous view of the city skyline. In the photo above, you can see the top of the Duomo (the Florence Cathedral), which we are lucky enough to live 3 blocks from. Our apartment is cute and cozy, and is in a perfect, scenic location. My three roommates and I get along so well- I’ve had such a blast exploring with them, and we’re already planning lots of weekend trips together.


Of course, the food has been amazing- lots of gelato and pizza already, but one of the big surprises was how popular sandwiches are here. Freshly made bread and cheese, with amazing meats, make for a delicious, filling and surprisingly economical lunch or dinner. img_3276

There have definitely been some ups and downs with being here- it’s amazing and a once in a lifetime opportunity, but some days I definitely feel all 6,199 miles away from home. Even though it can be hard with homesickness and the time change which makes it hard to stay in contact with people back home, I think that I will slowly acclimate to my new surroundings.

I can’t wait to see what the next few months in Italy hold- I’ll be keeping you all updated about life here in Florence, and all of the trips out of the city that I already have planned!