What to Buy Your Traveling Bae for V-Day

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Valentine’s Day is a tricky holiday when it comes to gifts, are you serious enough to buy jewelry, or is it a new blossoming relationship and you should stick to chocolate and flowers.  What about if you’re a woman, do you buy your SO a gift?  Are we sticking to gender roles or is this still the 21st century?   What do you buy for the person who never wants anything??

Either you’re good at buying presents, or you suck, but either way I am here to help you pick out some V-Day presents for your travelling love, or, slightly related your Long Distance Relationship!

  1. Matching Coordinate Wanderer Bracelets

    Nothing says I love you than matching coordinates always on your wrist.  Keep your loved one close at hand, with this little (and cute!) reminder of where they live, where you met, or a favorite destination you two frequent together.

    Use code BOHOTRAVEL20 to save 20% at checkout! ❤️


  2. A Flight!

    If you have a little more dough to spend, surprise your loved one with a trip somewhere!  Flights to Europe are low right now (I’ve seen some in the 300s!) or if you can’t book a flight maybe just plan a weekend getaway for the two of you. To figure out how to get the best deals on flights check out this post.

  3. State to State Necklace

    THESE ARE SO CUTE, and I’ve always wanted one, except my LDR is in Italy while I’m in Florida, so state to state wouldn’t really work.  If you’re rockin’ the LDR with your current SO, check out these and give them a try! 

  4. Sand Cloud Towel & a Picnic

    Always a win in my book is to plan a picnic for Valentine’s Day (if you don’t live in the snow!), so add a little something extra to it by giving your loved one an amazing towel/blanket they can keep for the next time you guys plan an adventure!  Plus with Sand Cloud every purchase helps to protect marine life.  Spreading the love in all directions! ?

    Save 25% with code BOHOTRAVEL25.

  5. A Watch

    So you can keep track of the hours you spend together, and remember all of those important FaceTime dates.  Here are two I’ve heard are great!

    World Map Watch
    Daniel Wellington

  6. World Map

    You know like the one you hang up on the wall and pin everywhere you’ve been?  Except this time you get these adorable little heart pins and pin the places you’ve been together with those, and then each have your own color for the places you’ve been separately.  How cute is that!  Especially if you have a home together ?

  7. Locket

    I don’t know when these went out of style, but I’m saying we should bring them back.  Keep bae near your heart with a cute picture as you travel the world so they’re always around.

  8. A Trip on the Schooner Freedom

    For my friends in North Florida, come and visit me on Valentine’s Day and spend an evening on the water in beautiful and historic Saint Augustine with a 2 hour sunset sail. 

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone, and let me know what you bought your special person in the comments below!




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Dealing with Reverse Culture Shock

Reverse culture shock is a very real and evident thing, and every time I come back home to America there is more shock, but I learn to handle it better.  It's a weird system I have going on, but I'm slowly learning how to make it work.  I'm sure people just assume reverse culture shock is me "missing my glamorous life in Europe" or "pissed because I have to join the 'real world'"- let me just state, my life in Europe is in no way "glamorous" and very much so a part of the 'real world' as my life in America is.  They are both different, but they are both very real and an integral part of who I am. 

So what is culture shock?

"The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, or set of attitudes."  Many people experience this when they go abroad for the first time, and every time they leave.  It's a very normal and expected occurrence, minimized through personal research of a culture, but you can never learn everything.  I consistently still find myself surprised at things in Italy, and probably will for the rest of my life, though the number of things, and amount of shock will lessen throughout the years.

How can reverse culture shock even be a thing?  You grew up in America.

Let me tell you a quick story.  I was out at the bar with some friends in my college town.  I ordered my usual drink of choice, a Vodka Lemon, and the bartender gave me a quick side eye.  I sat talking to friends and as soon as  I was handed my drink realized I'd made a grave mistake. Schweppes lemon soda is NOT a thing in America, and I was handed a Vodka with soda water (?) and a splash of some sort of lemonade (maybe).   I drank it, but when the bartender asked me if I would have another I politely declined and ordered a standard gin and tonic instead.  

My friends made fun of me and we discussed the specs of a Vodka Lemon for about 15 minutes, as I hung my head in shame because I forgot how to order a drink in America (not really).  This is just one small instance of reverse culture shock.  

Another example?  I forget people are friendly here and want to have a conversation with me for no apparent reason, and I can't use a "I don't speak English excuse" because well, that would just be weird.  I forget what it's like to see trucks everywhere, and to hear southern accents, and the smell of barbecue.  It's being unaware of how much I really used to drive in a day, and how much I walked throughout the day in Italy.  

It's not that I actually forgot these things, it's that they get put in the back of your mind and you just don't think about them for the time you're abroad. There's more to reverse culture shock than missing your lifestyle.  It's becoming re-accustomed to your old one.

So what can you do?

There are a few things I do to help me get back into the swing of things and beat the Post Travel Blues/ Reverse Culture Shock Strifes.

  1. Edit Photos

    This is a personal thing for me, but you can swing it your way.  Often when I come home from a trip, or after I've been abroad for a while, I'll sit on my couch and watch TV and edit photos or video.  Often this brings members of my family over my shoulder asking questions about the photos and where I am, who I am with, etc. etc.  This is a great way to bring my family into my adventures so they are a little more clued-in to my life overseas, and let me vent and talk about my times from someone who asks so I don't feel like I'm annoying people with my travel stories.  (We've all been there...)

  2. Make Plans with Friends

    One of the best ways to get past your confusing return to America is to make plans with old friends.  Go out, get back used to eating American food, and listen to what they've been up to.  Hearing your friends talk about school, work, and your mutual friends will help you deal with the time that has passed and get you caught up on all the going ons, like who's dating who, what people's plans are in the next couple of months, and so on.

  3. Plan a Weekend Trip

    Another issue I frequently deal with is my restless feet.  The 'confinement' of not being able to hop on a plane and head to a new country for 20 bucks rips at my soul and causes me anguish, but I get past this by planning weekend trips.  Just driving a few hours to hang out for a weekend at the beach, in the mountains, or for a city stay can really satiate the travel palate for a time being.  America has so many beautiful things to offer, so grab some friends, load up the car, and take a quick road trip!

  4. Write About It

    If you were a study abroad student, you probably documented your adventures in one way or another, or if you were living abroad there was probably something you did while you were overseas to remember the fun times.  Writing about your struggles with adapting back to life in America, or even just writing more about your adventures or thoughts you have can help ease the transition.  

  5. Call Friends from Abroad

    For me talking to my boyfriend and other friends who are overseas while I am in America makes me miss life in Italy a whole lot less (sometimes).  Hearing about their *very* Italian struggles like people not showing up when they're supposed to, or the lack of heating and AC everywhere makes you appreciate the little luxuries of America just a little bit more.  Not only that, but it keeps you up to date with the going ons of your friends so you don't have any FOMO.

  6. Make a Conscious Effort

    You need to try and adjust.  It won't be easy, but just sulking about not being on a trip won't do anyone any good.  Find ways to get back into the swing of things and get into a routine.  Focus on the positive and not the negative, and for the love of god don't just post throwbacks on Instgram.  Get out and do something fun, live in the NOW.

  7. Plan your next trip!!

    Nothing helps you beat post travel blues like planning another trip!  Hop on your computer and check out some flight deals and get your butt onto your next adventure. Give yourself something to look forward to!

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My 8 New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

  1. Truly Dedicate Myself to Travel

    And this is saying a lot since I traveled a ton in 2016, but I want to make 2017 even bigger. Currently gearing up I have plans to go to Peru in May, and I move back to Italy at the end of August.  I’ll let you know about those upcoming adventures then, but the first half of 2017 will be working toward an amazing second crazy travel half of 2017- but don’t think my adventures stop while I am working, there will be adventures in the US I will be tackling, and you’ll be amazed at some of the things just in my home state.  You guys are going to love it.

  2. Stop Comparing Myself to Other Bloggers/ Other People on Social Media

    I AM SO GUILTY. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been blogging for 3 months, 3 days 5 years or 15 eons, I am going to stalk their page to no end and compare myself.  Now to keep myself honest, I don’t often read what other bloggers write, mostly because I don’t want their writing to affect the way I write (subconsciously, but still!).  This is something I need to work on where it can be constructive, I need to watch it so it doesn’t get to a point where it is destructive.
    This is not to say there can't be positive comparison to fuel healthy competition.  If someone who owns an account inspires you, by all means look to them for inspiration and ideas, but don't attempt to mimic them- then you aren't being true to yourself and your page won't be unique.

  3. Find My Peace with the Moment

    Whether it be enjoying soup on the couch with my boyfriend, sitting and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle, walking through downtown Saint Augustine, taking an exam on campus, or wandering through the streets of Florence. I plan to just let where I am affect me more and not become desensitized to where I am and the moment I am in.

  4. Work Harder than Ever- Which Means I can Play Harder than Ever

    Even my "work" right now isn't really work...this is my view every night while working on board the Schooner Freedom.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I’m working for the first half of 2017, and the second half is going to be all play. I’m finishing my bachelor’s degree this upcoming semester, and then the following few months after that I’m working 6 days a week so I have plenty in savings to travel my butt off come time to move back to Florence.  From there it’s play, play, play- with a little bit of work so I don’t get out of control!

  5. Stop Worrying what People will Think When I Tell Them my “Plan”

    I get so sick of people judging me for telling them that I want to dedicate this portion of my life to travel.  I either get the "oh wow that's so amazing!" response, or I get a "well that's not much of a plan, what are you actually going to do with your degree"...And it's THOSE PEOPLE that make me so scared to follow my dreams sometimes.  The people who tell me I travel too much (uh...what!?!?) and who think I'm crazy for living overseas.  Those who look down on me for saying I'm going to Peru, or when I tell them that I lived and worked in Italy for 8 months they just scoff.  My goal in 2017 is to rid myself of those negative people, and when they do cross my path just brush 'em off .

  6. Remember to Stay Fit While Traveling

    Fortunately enough I actually lost weight while living in Italy, but unfortunately I lost a lot of muscle from not hitting the gym.  Traveling keeps you slim as you walk a lot, but for me, the urge to get fit has hit harder than ever as I come home and my dad tells me I've lost all my quads....cool.  So from here on out I am going to make sure I stay fit while I'm traveling and while living abroad.  This means eating right, staying active, and even hitting the gym on my slow days in Florence.

    For how to stay fit while living abroad and avoiding that "study-abroad 15", check out this post!
  7. Remember to Set Down my Phone & Remember to Pick it Up

    Set down your phone when you're out at dinner (we know we're all guilty of it), but remember it's OK to pick up your phone and take pictures to immortalize a moment. Just find the healthy balance and eliminate the negative phone time.

  8. Remember that My Goal is to Inspire

    Every single Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter post, every blog entry, and every video upload, my goal is to inspire someone to get up and travel.  If I can just inspire 1 person, that is incredible, if I can inspire 10,000 people that is AMAZING.  I want to show people that it is possible to do it, you can just get up and go, all it takes is a little bit of hard work, and then there's a whole lot of play afterward.

If this post inspired you PLEASE let me know in the comments below!! And happy new year!!!!

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10 Ways to Document Your Time Abroad

You are about to embark on one of the craziest and most fulfilling experiences of your life, and whether or not you are a writer, editor, photographer, Instagram model, YouTube sensation, or just a dude with a flip phone, you are going to want to document your time abroad.  It doesn't matter if you are just taking a gap year, heading overseas to volunteer, or participating in a Study Abroad program with your college, many new adventures await, and even if you don't want to share them with the world, you may want to share them with yourself later on down the road.  Here I have compiled a unique list of ways to document your time abroad,   From every day updating, to simple one a week check-ins, this list is for every type of traveller.

  1. Take Notes on Your Phone

    I always start with this, because it's the easiest way to document anything when you're on the go.  From questions that pop in my head that later turn into blog posts, to the name of the cute café down the street I might want to return to later on.  Keeping notes in your phone is a great habit to get into.  Whenever a new idea, thought, question, or tidbit of info comes my way, I quickly jot it down to look back on later. Once you do this, it makes the rest of the documentation process a whole lot easier!

  2. Start a Blog

    If you're a writer, or even if you're not since everyone is blogging these days, a blog is a great way to write about your time abroad, and be able to share it with family and friends back at home.  Whether you go with a diary style blog and just write about your experiences, or you try and give more practical advice for other travelers, your people back at home will thank you for the frequent updates.
    Different (free) providers include, WordPress, Blogger, Tumbler...the list is endless.
    For more travel inspo, check out my other posts on The Boho Traveller.

  3. Start a Video Log (vlog)


    If writing isn't your thing (and you know it clap your hands!)- then maybe an alternative to a blog for you will be a Vlog.  This doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy fancy equipment or get on your phone every day and give a spiel about what you did that day.  There are many creative ways to start a video log.  Go Pros are a great asset to have, or when I video blog, I often use my iPhone to shoot.  I've seen vlogs that document 1.5 seconds from every day they were abroad, to just weekend specific vlogs, to certain activities.  The world is your creative oyster when it comes to video, so get jiggy with it!

  4. Start an Instagram or Twitter Account Dedicated to Your Travels

    This is my Instagram account attached to my blog, which is completely separate from my personal account.

    Another great way to document your travels in a very specific and unique way, and even allow yourself to grow and expand and come back to it when you have later travels.  Another great thing about both of these accounts?  You can share the login information and make it a collaboration project.  Have roommates or a significant other that will be traveling with you?  Inspire each other and make it a joint account, agreeing to post about amazing places you guys visit together.

  5. Start a #Hashtag

    If the work of creating an entirely new account isn't exactly your cup of tea, maybe start your own hashtag to use across Social Media, so whenever your family, friends, or you yourself search it, there you are in all your glory!  All you need to do now is just remember to tag it at the end of all of your posts. Just be sure do your research before you decide on a hashtag to make sure it isn't already taken.  #GetUnique

  6. Start a Photo Series

    Along your new account or hashtag, maybe you could start a photo series.  You know, along the lines of the whole #FollowMeTo series, or there are some people who are obsessed with doors, floors, or gates even.  Find your niche and start a photo series of a particular aspect of every place you visit.

  7. Keep a Paper Journal

    Nothing beats just a handwritten paper journal to remember every detail of your trip.  Later on you can look back and reminisce on the little things that will slip your mind in years to come
    Pro Tip:  Buy your journal once you reach your destination, then you have some added sentiment and encouragement to your documentations.

  8. Start a Collection

    Stamps, postcards, terrible t-shirts, snow globes, ornaments, you name it, there is something for every traveller.  For the not s0 sentimental perhaps train stubs will do, and for people who are homebodies, maybe you would rather have a Christmas tree full of ornaments from all over the world to look at every year.  Whatever the case is, a collection can  be a great way to commemorate times gone by, even if it might prove a bit hard to stuff back in your suitcase for the way home.

  9. Create a Scrapbook

    Not exactly practical while you are traveling, but if you plan just a little bit a head of time, once you arrive back home a really nice collection could take place.  Old fashioned scrapbooks take time and effort, but if you're like me and you love to craft, it shouldn't be a burden at all...plus it can give you wanderlust inspiration once you're back home to start planning your next trip.

  10. Make a Photo Book

    If scrapbooking (and the efforts involved) isn't really your thing, but maybe photography is, consider making a photo book at the end of your trip. Just select your photos and send them into a service such as Shutterfly, and voila, the work is done for you!

Do you have any other creative ways to document your adventures!?  Let me know in the comments below!

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15 Christmas Ideas for the Traveller in Your Life

Everyone has one.  That friend who can't seem to stay put.  Always jet-setting off to some new adventure, or if they are stationary for a moment, they are dreaming of far away places, and plotting where to get lost next.  These people can be hard to buy for.  They are sentimental, constantly talking of stories and memories, but not particularly materialistic, mostly because you can't travel with a bunch of random stuff.  So what to get this person for Christmas?  Well, friends, I am here to tell you.  (AKA this is also my Christmas wishlist *hint hint mom and dad!**)

  1. A Passport Holder

    Personally, along with many other travellers that without my passport holder my wallet and passport quickly becomes a jumble of plane, train, and bus tickets, stubs, and scraps.  A nice elegant passport holder for the frequent traveller is on my list, and probably your traveller friend as well.

  2. Wanderer Bracelets

    fullsizerender-13A bit more on the sentimental side, Wanderer Bracelets are handmade in Bali and come in a variety of styles.  My personal favorite are the coordinate style bracelets.  Write down the coordinates of the place you met, your traveller's favorite destination, where you took your first trip together, or another creative idea.  

    Extra tip: save 20% when you use code BOHOTRAVEL20 at checkout.  Merry Christmas!

  3. Travel Gear

    If you know where your buddy is headed to next, grab them some gear to help ease the preparation of their trip.  Hats and headwraps, hiking boots, selfie sticks, thermal underwear, sunblock sticks, hair ties, etc. can all make great stocking stuffers or presents.

    Some of my favorite brands include Smart Wool, Helley Hensen, Colombia, and Under Armour.

  4. A Nice Carry On

    From a nice backpack to a sleek leather duffel- carry-ons get treated like trash in the traveller world.  From being thrown around on planes and busses, to stuffed under beds in hostels, these trusted sidekicks take a beating.  Get your wanderer something practical they will use, and possibly make an appearance in their travel photos.

  5. Socks

    Seriously.  Because I don't have a single pair of matching socks, and they ALWAYS disappear when on a holiday.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one with this problem.

  6. Camelback Water Bottle

    img_0413Europeans constantly poke fun at Americans because of how much water they drink, and it's because they constantly see Americans toting their water bottles around. Sufficient amounts of water fight jet lag and keep you happy and healthy, so get your loved one the latest style and watch as the sticker collection on it grows.

  7. Moment Lens

    moment-lens-2These things are amazing!  They transform any regular iPhone into a near professional lens without the cost and bulk of a traditional camera.  If your jet-setter loves photos, this might just be the perfect gift.  Check this product out here.

  8. A Packtowel

    71l35dd346l-_sl1080_Another great and practical gift for the frequent hostel-stayer.  A must-have in every suitcase.  Recommended in size XL.  Check it out here.

  9. Portable Charger

    These can be found at any electronic store in the US.  Again.  ALWAYS in my carry on.

  10. A Puffy Jacket

    Help your loved one fit into the European style of things and give them a mega packable, in-style puffy jacket.  Please, stick to muted tones though.

     

  11. Polaroid Camera

    fullsizerender-15They produce such darn cute photos, and will instantly print memories that will last forever.  A mini one of these will fit right into a stocking.

  12. Swiss Army Knife

    More a dude thing, but great for emergencies and opening wine bottles.  (They also have a wallet sized version that fits in like a credit card.  Wicked cool!)

  13. Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

    md837Quite honestly the best $30 I have spent when it comes to travel prep. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Macbooks.  Check it out on the apple store here.

  14. Scarves, Mittens, and Gloves

    BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY!

  15. A Plane Ticket

    If you give me two, I'll take you with me!

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What You Need to Understand Before You Move to Italy

I absolutely love living in this country, but let me just say it is NOT for everyone.  Sure, anyone with a brain, and a relative understanding of European culture, and a knack for travel can come visit, even for an extended stay maybe, but it takes a certain type of person to truly have the gall (and the patience of a saint) to live in Italy.  It can prove a very difficult thing for Americans to adapt to- I see it every semester with the study abroad students in Florence.  It’s a situation where you either love it, or you hate it.  Even when you do love it every second, there are times where you just want to throw Italy off the face of the planet for something or another stupid thing the country has gone and done again (this is where the patience of a saint comes in).  So do you have the aptitude and willingness to live in this amazing country?  Check out my list below to be prepared before you make the move!  (The photos are to encourage you that all of this mental preparation is SO worth it?)img_5074

Everything (YES EVERYTHING) Is Tiny

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Thankfully there are not tiny amounts of cheese in Italy

And I say this as a 5’3″ (160cm) female weighing in at 105 lbs (47 kilos)- everything is tiny.  The number of times I hit my head in my second apartment while washing dishes because the cabinets were so low you couldn’t lean over the sink is appalling- even more appalling is I never learned to just not hit my head.  Bathrooms are small, doors are small, the portions (are usually perfect, which is small for Americans), the restaurants are small, the people are small, the sidewalks are unbearably small in cohabitation with the tiny winding streets, and the churches are HUGE…I think that’s something to to with the Vatican….but that’s a whole other story.  
Italy is not made for big people, so if you’re tall, be prepared for ALOT of ducking.

The Visa Process is a Load of Codswallop

img_5237
The views, on the other hand, are not codswallop!

If you are a student or an EU citizen, consider yourself #BLESSED.  A number of hoops is required to jump through to get a visa on your own is painful, agonizing, and downright ludicrous.  I probably will spend about 5 days – meaning 120 hours- doing Visa BS annually.  For me- my love of Italy and my life here makes it worth it in the end- but it is time-consuming.  Not to mention dealing with the entire process that nobody will ever fully explain- EVER, in English or Italian, makes it that much more lovely.  

I love you Italy, but I do not love your Visa process.  Sorry.  Sincerely, a disgruntled expat.

You Should Never Be Rude

img_5280
But you can TOTALLY be sassy like this street art lady.

This goes as a general life fact, but when you first move here, especially if you aren’t particularly well versed in the language or culture, try and shy away from being rude.  You should do so in general, but ya know if you want to be rude be rude in the country’s native language.  Apart from being a hooman bean other hooman beans want to be around, Italians will be rude right back at you.  Sometimes they will be rude just because they KNOW you are an American (see how they know here), and though they shouldn’t be since tourism is a main source of revenue here- it’s how it goes.  And when Italians are rude it can sting, and you will get cry like a little baby because you are a soft American who hasn’t been toughened by the European scorn.  Not really, but just being polite makes things easier for everyone.  Once you know some Italian and someone says something rude, you can yell back a few choice words- until then it’s time to play nice. ??

You Have to Make Time to Enjoy the City

img_5230
I shouldn’t have to tell you to enjoy this!! ?

If you’re a study abroad student, it may seem like you have forever to enjoy the city you are living in, but those 3/4 months will fly by faster than expected.  Make time to go and climb the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore), walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, hike the trail in Fiesole, and see the artwork in the Uffizi.  I know people who have lived in Florence for 15 years and have just within this past month climbed the bell tower to the Duomo.  (If you’re reading this you know who you are…) Don’t leave it all for the last minute (or 2 weeks) you’re in town- because you won’t enjoy it as you would have if you spread it out.  

Water, Heat/AC, Electricity are Expensive and IMPOSSIBLE

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Who needs AC when you can apertivo to this view!?!? PC Cristian Diletti

Okay, well forget about the whole AC concept if you’re here in the summer because if your apartment has it, consider yourself highfalutin- and it’s probably not even that spectacular.  Here in the winter?  You can’t turn on the heat until after November 1st usually. 

As for water- pressure is usually less than desired, and it’s pretty harsh on the hair.  The good news is in most of Italy tap water is drinkable! 

Electricity is a completely different beast.  If you have ever lived in an old house, what I’m about to say won’t come as a surprise.  Don’t run more than one appliance at a time.  In my ex-boyfriend’s apartment, we couldn’t run the dishwasher at the same time as the toaster, but the microwave is OK.  Only 1 AC can be on when the stove is on, but no other appliance or the breaker will flip.  In my current apartment as soon as I hear one of my roommates turn on the blow dryer I run to turn off my space heater, otherwise we are all wandering around in the dark for 5 minutes while someone goes to find their phone to light the way to the breaker.  It’s a bit like a game, though exhausting and a little terrifying when the lights go out and you’re in the shower.

Italians tend to be very energy-conscious and turn off lights when they leave rooms and don’t have appliances running unless it’s necessary.  This also means no laundry dryers, so get ready to air dry all your dirty (not really I mean your clean) laundry!

While I’m on the subject of homes- you might want to invest in a white noise maker or a good app on your phone or computer or earplugs!  The walls in Italy are old and thin, which means you can hear everything in your flatmate’s room and on the street below. 

It’s Grazie, not Grazie

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David will be mad if you mispronounce it.

It’s all in the pronunciation, and if you can get this one right, you’re already doing better than half of the Americans I hear on the street.  Check out this brief guide to crucial phrases in Italian, and start off your stay on the right track. ?  Prego.

The Grocery Stores are a Blessing within a Curse

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Which means it’s a good thing there’s always gelato.

While I love how everything in the grocery stores here is cheaper and fresher than in America (seriously, this is amazing)- the trip itself is a curse from the DEVIL HIMSELF.  Jokes aside, you’re going to want a plan of attack, because this is no relaxing stroll through Publix- this is full on war!  Most of the grocery stores (Conad City) are one long zigzagging path through the building that flows in a single direction leading to the check out counter.  Know what you want and need before you go!  Lines are usually painfully long at rush hour, but the ‘Nad will have everything you need.

Pro Tip: When buying fruits and veggies make sure to check the number, take them to the scale and weigh them and get a sticker to put on your bag.  Otherwise, you are going to cause all sorts of hassle at the checkout lane.

Patience is a Great Virtue to Have

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When the patience is lacking…the wine is not.

As mentioned before, you have to have a lot of patience to live in Italy- or you will certainly be angry all the time.  Come to terms with the fact that everything takes forever.  Literally everything.  Then if something happens in a reasonable time, be surprised.  Otherwise, it’s gonna be a lot of anxious waiting for you, because regardless of what you do- you WILL have to wait.

 

If I’ve made you grumpy about living here, maybe read about why it’s so great too! 

 

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Social Media is a Lie

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I recently called a friend and told her about a difficult situation going on in my life.  She responded "Oh wow, really?  I'm so surprised, your Instagram pictures from this weekend were amazing!" While yes, I know my photos from that weekend were, as the kids call it, "on fleek", they in no way represented the emotional turmoil wreaking havoc inside my head.

I posted those photos, happy and carefree, even though at the moment I felt like a train wreck.  I chose to post something to Social Media which in no way represented my actual well being.  Why did I do this?  At what point in time did I mentally say, "No, Sydney, only show people the good stuff."?  I don't know the answer.

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I began to wonder at what age are we taught to not let people see our true emotions.  It's not just boys who are told not to cry as kids, but girls too.  Don't cry or they'll think your a "typical" emotional woman.  Why are we so uncomfortable with other's knowing our pain?  Why is it a contest to see who can be the "strongest", or in bad relationships whoever is the least attached has the most power.  Why as humans are we selfish with these kinds of emotions?  Why, when I was upset in the 10th grade for my childhood dog dying, did someone turn around to me and say "Stop being emotional, it's just a f***ing dog."?  

I don't believe in posting all of your problems on social media, and I'm sure that many people feel the same way.  Which means coming into play here is that SOCIAL MEDIA IS A LIE.  If everyone is doing this, except for on occasion, and we believed only what we saw on Facebook, then we would be living in some sort of engagement party, baby shower, politcal agenda utopia.  And some days it certainly feels that way when I spend all day on a computer. 

But it's not.  Life is nothing like Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/whatever is the newest trend says it is.  

Constantly I have people messaging me saying how incredible my life is and how inspiring my posts are, or how they wish they could be living my life.  I always answer to them, well it's not that hard, all you have to do is get up and move.  They always just laugh and ask me what my next adventure is.  Maybe my life may seem exotic at times to those not around, but most days I feel like a normal girl who misses ranch dressing.  

I know I lead a blessed life- and this post is in no means trying to disregard the incredible opportunities I have been given.  I built my way of life for myself, and I try everyday to be proud of it and know I am a strong woman who has done incredible things, with only more to come.  This is unfortunately something that daily becomes harder to tell myself.

With so much social media around, a true challenge lies in not comparing yourself to other people.  There is nothing more time consuming (expect maybe binge watching Lost and eating cheese puffs), than going to other people's social media profiles and putting yourself down.  We need to stop the comparisons! That smiling photo in Barcelona, or the amazing sunset shot in Greece, in no way represents the person who posted it.  There is a reason why when I post a photo with myself in it at some amazing location gets more likes than just a scenic photo.  Because people are self indulgent, and for some reason they like to see it as well.  It's not like I make the photo any better.  If anything I'm taking away from the natural beauty around me and slightly distracting myself from truly experiencing where I am.  

Come to terms with it. Social Media is a lie.  Being a Social Media Manager and a blogger, this is one of the hardest things to come to terms with.  It is a vicious love/hate relationship that cycles insistently.  

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Do not waste your time going to other people's pages and wishing you were like them, or that you had their life, or even that you wish your hair looked like theirs.  Live your own life.  Post what makes you feel good and comfortable, but don't lie.  Don't be afraid to post the "ugly" and uncomfortable on Social Media either, as humans, we need to see it all.  If you are literally always happy, with no other emotions, then are you even human at all?

If you must compare, use it to better yourself, and set goals.  Say "Hey!  I really like what this person has done and I am going to aspire to be as successful."  Do not compare to bring yourself or others down.  Remember you never know what is actually happening on the other end of the screen.

 

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