October 13th, 2018: Arcosanti, Arizona

Dear World,

Have you ever heard of Paolo Soleri? Yeah, neither have I. Let’s learn together.

Once upon a 1919, an Italian baby named, Paolo Soleri, was born. This former baby grew up to become a world-renowned architect. Not just any architect, an architect with a vision.

His career took off when he came to Arizona in 1946 to study at Taliesin West under the architectural legend, Frank Lloyd Wright. It was during that time that he fell in love with the desert landscape and gained prominence as an architect in the US.

Inevitably, he and his wife returned to Italy where he continued to design structures like bridges. It was also during this time that he explored a new interest in ceramic and bronze bell making – a tradition that is still held up today.

In 1956 he and his family settled for good in Scottsdale, Arizona where Soleri dedicated his life to working on an urban structure he called, Arcosanti.

So what’s dat? 

Continue reading “October 13th, 2018: Arcosanti, Arizona”

October 7th, 2018: Flagstaff, Arizona

Dear World,

I have to confess, it’s been a difficult past couple of days. I am calling them difficult even though bad feels more appropriate right now.

I’m trying to make bad days troubling, or difficult, or challenging. Even then, is the word day sufficient either? Often times, for me, it’s really only a bad, troubling, difficult, or challenging couple of minutes or hours.

Though I guess it doesn’t matter as much how I define all this sadness but rather how I embody it. I feel it’s important for me to let it go through its course. To help the process, I’ve come to Flagstaff to visit some of my friends.

Thankfully I’ve had a little bit of much needed time to myself. I chose to go to a couple of art galleries in Historic Downtown. I felt at home among the blown glass, handmade political shrines, and landscape watercolor paintings.

In the first gallery, I was curious if the clerk was an artist.

“No, are you?”

Continue reading “October 7th, 2018: Flagstaff, Arizona”

19 June 2018: Barcelona, Determination, and Will-Power

Dear World,

I’m in Barcelona now! I can hardly believe this is my last stop. What’s even crazier is I have been in Europe for over a month now!

Initially, when I thought about writing this I was hesitant. Then I said, “Vail you accomplished something huge and there is nothing wrong with being excited to share that!” Hey, and isn’t that what this entire website is for?

There have been so many times during this adventure that I just wanted to give up. I cried sometimes and felt lonely as well. I missed out on things I wanted to do because I was tired or too nervous to go. I forgive myself for that because I am only capable of so much. I think I overestimated how much stamina I’d have. Especially considering the only solo travel experience I had prior to this, was a couple of days in New York- a place I had already been to in my own country. Though I will never regret being this ambitious because it was all so worth it.

Continue reading “19 June 2018: Barcelona, Determination, and Will-Power”

June 15th, 2018: Genova, Italy

Dear World,

Well, after a very, very, very stressful day of travel, I am here in Genova. Let me just say, I am a lot much patient than I ever thought I could be.

It was all worth it though. I’m here in the hostel and it’s so homey. All of the staff and guests are incredibly friendly. Plus THE BEACH!

Can you tell I’m excited?

With beach vibes,

love vail v

June 15th, 2018: Milan, Italy

Dear World,

I can do absolutely anything, I swear.

So a bit of a disaster occurred this morning.

I was supposed to leave Milan for Barcelona by train this morning. I had two connections. The first one was in Turin but I missed the train, the connection was only 12 minutes, which I’ve done before but depending on the size of the station your girl’s gotta break a sweat. Anyway, the next train going anywhere near Barcelona wasn’t leaving for another 8 hours.

I decided to take a train back to Milan Centrale, a much bigger train station. There I could just sit down and figure out what the heck to do since I need to get to Barcelona to fly home on Thursday.

I considered flying but it was out of my budget to book a flight last minute. I realized that I was not going to Barcelona today. Instead, I decided I still needed to get my butt to a beach today so I’m headed to Genova for the next two days. From there it will be much easier and quicker to take the train to Barcelona.

On top of all of this craziness, I’ve been feeling really sick. I think all this traveling is finally catching up to me. I’m pretty exhausted. It was such a bummer since yesterday was my only full day in Milan. I had to spend time resting. I guess there are worse things in the world.

I’m hoping to leave this stressful day behind and fully enjoy the beach. Fingers crossed that everything works out and I will see the Mediterranean soon!

With beach vibes,

love vail v

PS. For your viewing pleasure.

Oh, flowers make my heart so happy
So do fountains

June 13th, 2018: Verona, Italy

Dear World,

Well after a very, very, VERY stressful day of travel, I am here in Genova. And let me just say, I am a lot stronger and much more patient than I ever thought I was.

It was all worth it. This hostel is so homey, the people are so kind and we are all just hanging out watching football. Plus, I’m going to the beach tomorrow!

Can you tell I’m excited?

love vail v

June 13th, 2018: Venice, Italy

Dear World,

Life is good!

Since it’s almost the perfect halfway point between Venice and Milan, I am going to walk around Verona for a couple of hours. Plus my last name is Varone. Verona? Varone? Coincidence? I think not. Is this the land of my people? I guess I’ll have to find out.

Venice like every city so far has been incredible. Though, honestly, the canals smelled horrible.

I went to Burano and Murano which are two smaller nearby islands. They are famous for their lace and blown glass respectively. I got to see a man make a glass fish. Taking the boat over there was lovely too.

Like I said, life is good.

The most important thing I have learned on this journey so far: life has a way of working itself out, all you have to do is let it do so.

Ponder on that wisdom.

Keep dreamin’ on, I will be,

love vail v

June 9th, 2018: Vienna, Austria

Dear World,

Ich Liebe Wien!

Vienna is such a dream.

My first day here I met a group of friends from England who I spent all of my time with. It was refreshing to be a part of a group for a few days. Although I do have to say I am excited to be back to doing my own thing again. Creating itineraries with six total people isn’t always super easy…

One of the highlights for sure was discovering a micronation. Yes, you read that correctly.

Continue reading “June 9th, 2018: Vienna, Austria”

June 5th, 2018: Berlin, Germany

Dear World

Berlin was wild! If you’ve never been (first of all, go!), imagine hipster parts of Brooklyn mixed with literal forest and construction, and desolate buildings everywhere. Very strange, not a good or bad strange, just strange.

But don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful time. I did lots of sightseeing. I saw the Jewish Holocaust Memorial. I also saw the Roma and Sinti Memorial. It was all quite humbling how candidly Germans speak of that heinous part of their history. Additionally, there were rich parts of Germany’s history that I got to appreciate. I visited the Kāthe Kollwitz Museum. If you’ve never heard of her, she is so worth looking into. Continue reading “June 5th, 2018: Berlin, Germany”

May 23rd, 2018: Paris, France

Dear World,

Bonjour! What an exciting and seriously exhausting day I had. I just got back to my hostel about thirty minutes ago and I’m shocked that I’m still even awake.

My roommate and I did lots of sight-seeing today. It unintentionally turned into a bit of a tour d’Amélie (a fantastic film, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it). We visited Saint Martin Canal, Café des 2 Moulins, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Cœur, and Jardins des Tuileries.

Look at me thinking I”m all fancy for writing the names in French…

Continue reading “May 23rd, 2018: Paris, France”

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