It’s rare that I choose to enter a blogger contest, mainly because I’m perfectly happy sticking to my bohemian musings yet here I am, racking my brain for a reason not to give it a “Go with Oh” shot. When I first took a look at the ten cities offered during the winner’s one month stay in Europe, my lips curled in the slightest hint of a smile as memories flooded to the surface of my mind.
Nearly five years ago, a 21 year old bright-eyed girl who had never stepped foot on foreign soil did the unthinkable. She crossed the pond. Over the next four months she lived and worked in London, breathing in every sight and sound until just like a balloon, she felt that she could burst. In her eyes, even the rain-soaked city streets seemed to glitter in the most beautiful way. The city became her best friend and when May came around, it was agony boarding her plane home because in many ways, London had become her home.
If you haven’t guessed it yet, this naive little girl was me and while I’ve certainly graduated to grander adventures, at my core I’m still that eager traveler ready to see the world. London was many things to me; a teacher, a friend, a home. During my months there I spent some of my weekends traveling to other countries and no matter where I went, that same grim always reappeared across my face as I touched down in London town.
Then Venice happened. As soon as I crossed that first canal bridge I knew the city had cast a spell on me. I walked around as if the whole world had stopped. Every small, insignificant detail fascinated me like I was on the brink of discovering an untold secret. In reality, my friends and I were directionally challenged to say the least. We had been searching for our hostel for a good three hours, clearly unaware of the existence of water taxis. It was after maybe our twentieth bridge to cross that one of my friends let out yet another complaint. However this time it was directed at me. A statement so careless yet so true.
You look like a girl in a snow globe.
I’ve often been called a bohemian, a dreamer, a wanderer but never something so simple as a lifeless figurine. In that very moment, I was in the most magical place I had ever seen and despite being completely lost, I couldn’t help stopping every few steps and staring, my eyes transfixed on what lay ahead.
And from this first moment in Venice I knew that travel would forever be my passion. I didn’t know how or where I would go, but I now knew that places like this really existed and I wasn’t stopping here.
So, if I’m selected as Go with Oh’s 2013 blogger, I’ll definitely be visiting Venice with the love of my life and hopefully coinciding with our anniversary on July 4th. In true bohemian fashion, I can’t plan out my entire trip months before it actually happens but I do know what I want to accomplish. In a nutshell, I want to overcome my fears, however ridiculous they might be.
Here’s what I plan to do in Venice:
1) Get Lost
I did it before and I’ll most definitely do it again. My sense of direction in Venice is essentially non-existant but at least I have my iPhone this time around…something I really could have benefited from en route to my seemingly invisible hostel. While I probably won’t have any trouble getting lost, I might even do it on purpose once I find my bearings. I really feel that this is the best way to discover a city.
2) Upstage a Gondolier
I sing. In fact, I’m not half bad. I sang in a choir in high school and in an a capella group in college but in my everyday life I am painfully shy about performing. Somehow I mustered the confidence to sing in front of large audiences but you won’t catch me even humming a tune in the presence of stranger sitting on a park bench three feet away. There’s a bit of a rumor that most gondoliers sing and I’m hoping to either team up with him for an impromptu duet or steal his spotlight completely.
3) Learn to love pigeons
I tried this my first time in Venice and unfortunately it was a major disaster. I guess I didn’t realize that once you alert them that you are in possession of food, you should expect a swarm of them on every part of your body. However, this time around I’m determined to feed the dreaded pigeons in St. Marks Square and learn to love them, or at least tolerate them. For me, this is no easy feat so I’ll need to muster an extra dose of confidence this day.
4) Become a street performer
Going along with #2 on my list, I’ve always had this desire to be a street performer for a day. It both fascinates and terrifies me, which could potentially be a bad combination but I’m willing to give it a “Go”. Hopefully my travel companion will be my partner in crime and I could sing along to his guitar chords. Regardless of the outcome, I will celebrate my attempt with a lovely glass of vino and most likely a bowl of spaghetti.
5) Haggle in Italian
One of my absolute favorite things to do wherever I travel is haggle at the local market. Despite only mastering one language, and I’m talking about English here, I’ve managed to do a pretty good job in various parts of the world despite the obvious language barrier. My goal for the Venice market is to haggle the good old Italian way – with wildly expressive hand motions, lots of volume and in broken Italian of course. I’m fairly confident that this might be the best souvenir shot of the entire trip.
Looking back on my jaunt to Venice and already dreaming of my return, perhaps at my core I am still an innocent girl frozen in the bubble of beauty that serves as my shield, but for me that bubble is not made of fragile glass and the globe does not fit in my hands. For me, that snow globe where I willingly reside is the world.
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