View Post

We’re All Strangers Somewhere

In The Art of Travel, 12. Strangers, Florence by Tia1 Comment

The barrier between strangers and friends is heightened by a difference in language – at times more pronounced than at others.  Simultaneously however, “friendships” that transcend this linguistic divide are particularly meaningful.  Making local friends in Italy has been difficult because of the language barrier, as well as the fact that most young people in Florence live in the suburbs …

View Post

Art As Travel

In The Art of Travel, 10. The Art of Place, Florence by Tia1 Comment

Art is the kind of thing that I have always been adjacent to from a young age – taking ballet classes, keeping a sketchbook, making short films, and taking photographs – but it wasn’t until recently that I really became interested in and engaged by the power of art.  This transition coincided, not incidentally, with moving to New York for …

View Post

After Hours

In The Art of Travel, 9. Troubles, Florence by Tia2 Comments

One, two, three If you close the door The night could last forever Leave the sunshine out And say hello to never All the people are dancing And they’re having such fun I wish it could happen to me But if you close the door I’d never have to see the day again I recently rediscovered the song “After Hours” …

View Post

Tourist Trapped in the Age of Social Media

In The Art of Travel, 8. Bubble, Florence by Tia1 Comment

“All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.” This is one of the key arguments of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle.  Although it was first published in 1967, it may as well apply to today, as modern social life becomes increasingly mediated by technology – particularly social media.  When travelling, the impetus has drastically shifted focus from having …

View Post

Vienna Waits For You

In The Art of Travel, 7. Free topic, Florence by Tia1 Comment

You know that you’re hooked on Europe when a weekend spent “at home” instead of travelling feels like wasted time.  In search of more adventure and some time away, I boarded an overnight train from Florence to Vienna on Thursday night, spending 11 hours squished between strangers and clutching my backpack, trying to sleep intermittently, and waking up – in …

View Post

A Room with a View (on Travel and Self-Actualisation)

In The Art of Travel, 6. First Book, Florence by Tia2 Comments

On the threshold of adulthood, it is easy – even mandatory, perhaps – to find oneself feeling adrift.  In many ways, like travelling, coming of age is fraught with exploration, doubt, isolation, and fulfilment (or sometimes lack thereof).  While travel may embody a physical journey and all of the various psychological implications that come along with that, growing up is …

View Post

#ItalyToo?: The Complex Identity Politics of Contemporary Italy, Explained by an Outsider

In The Art of Travel, 4. Politics, Florence by Tia1 Comment

TW: Harassment, cat-calling, victim shaming “First they put out, then they whine and pretend to regret it.”  This is an October 2017 headline from Italian newspaper Libero in response to the initial wave of allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein, allegations that rocked the Western media and led to the downfall of dozens of men in entertainment, journalism, and politics.  But not …

View Post

Scusca, No Italiano!

In The Art of Travel, 3. Communicating, Florence by Tia1 Comment

I will come right out and say it now – I have taken being a native English speaker in an English speaking country for granted.  Growing up in Canada in a fourth-generation Canadian family, English was naturally my first language, and French my second.  No matter where I went in the country, I could communicate, or at the very least, …

View Post

Befriending Florence

In The Art of Travel, 2. Getting oriented, Florence by Tia1 Comment

Feeling lost and being lost are very different experiences. As the resident ‘mom’ of every friend group I have ever had, I am always deferred to as the navigator and/or Google Maps operator. “You have your life together,” people tell me with a laugh, as I lead them to the grocery store and back again, cook for myself, read a …