Hello, hello! I’m Dani. I’m currently a senior in Tisch studying Film and TV Production… however, my career sights are set on something a bit different from the entertainment industry, but more on that later. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and lived there up until last summer when my family packed up and moved to Denver, Colorado. Thoughts about this major life change were sparked while I read “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer. This part, in particular, caught my eye, “the first great joy of traveling is simply the luxury of leaving all my beliefs and certainties at home, and seeing everything I thought I knew in a different light, and from a crooked angle”. For once in my life, all of my certainties were not at home, at least not in my new home. They were miles away in the city by the Bay. Everything I knew had changed. I was forced to see my own home, neighborhood, and city in a “different light” and from a “crooked angle”. But, I believe I’m lucky in that sense. My transition was not from home to mystery. But, from one unknown to the next. To go from your new home-base not knowing the very streets you live on, to a new city, in which you are no more familiar with, was frightening, yet, in a strange way, comforting.
If I’m being completely honest, I chose Florence because my mom wanted to visit. But, also I wanted to keep pushing myself to be uncomfortable, lost, and unfamiliar. From there, I’ve found I feel my best.
Every day in New York I was editing in a cramped room, sound designing for films. I was content, but a hand kept flicking me on the forehead and asking “Is this it?”. “What next?”. “Are you happy?”. And, no. I wasn’t happy. Listening to industry leaders tell me over and over again, “Well, you know you’ll either end up in New York or LA” was like a punch in the face. Two cities. Two cities is what I was promised for the rest of my life. Two cities out of the thousands that exist and stretch to all corners of the planet. But, I could only have the choice of two. That wasn’t going to fly with me.
So, I went to Madrid.
My past semester in Spain challenged me and, indeed, just as Iyer described, scraped the rust off of parts of my mind that I had almost forgotten were there. Within the first two weeks of being in Madrid, I knew I had to do more. I had to meet more people. I had to help more people. I had to do more with my life then just edit sounds (which is an amazing career, but it wasn’t and isn’t the one for me). I need to be fulfilled and challenged.
In Madrid, I volunteered. I worked at a local school. I volunteered with children who had hearing impairments to help them learn English. I pushed myself to get more out of my semester than just a report card. I was happy. I was fulfilled! I may sound like every other person who goes abroad and comes home screaming “abroad changed my life!” over a brunch mimosa, but I don’t care. And, I love mimosas.
So, when my semester in Spain came to an end I said, “well, what’s next?” Certainly, not New York. Been there, done that. So I chose Florence. Pasta, pizza, and wine for three and a half months? What could be better?
While I have eaten my body weight in carbs, something I plan to continue doing, I’ve also continued the process that I started while in Madrid. For the first time in a long time, I’m thinking about my life outside of the realm of film. What is most intimidating is the amount of opportunities I now have open to me. No longer is it just New York or LA. Now I can choose what continent, what country, what city, what mountain town or coastal port. The opportunities are endless as long as you make a point to seize them. So, for now, why not Florence?
Link to Pico Iyer’s article: https://www.salon.com/2000/03/18/why/