Tuesday, August 21, 2012


  "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness" - Mark Twain

I love to travel. I've been doing it my whole life and don't think I could ever grow tired of it. I know every airport code by heart, went to 3 high schools in 3 different countries and feel most at home in departure terminals - is that weird? For military brats, this is status quo. Growing up, we had to move every 3 or so years - which, somehow as a kid, I was wise enough to appreciate at the time. Don't get me wrong - there were tears. LOTS of tears. Remember, this was in an era long before facebook, even before email, so when you left a country, you could be almost certain that you would not speak to your 3rd grade BFF again. And that was hard. But knowing that the future held a new country, with a new language made the transition exciting, not scary. 

Here we are, living in Puerto Rico circa 1995

I loved every minute of my gypsy childhood, but wanted something different for my adult life. I wanted ROOTS. The same address for more than 3 years. Friends to grow old with.....which is what my life is starting to look like now, and I am so grateful! But every 3 years - like clockwork - I get the itch. To travel, to explore, to eat foods you can't pronounce, to not hear the English language for weeks on end - WANDERLUST.

This upcoming adventure at the end of the month takes my husband and I to New York City, Italy and Portugal for 2.5 weeks. He is from NYC, so we will be visiting his friends and family there; I lived in Italy for 4 years back in middle school/high school, so I'm taking him through my old stomping grounds - Rome, Formia (the small fishing village I lived in), Sorrento and Capri; and Devin has been wanting to surf Portugal for years, so we are staying in Ericeira - a cool surf town about 1 hour north of Lisbon.
We booked most of our places on Airbnb, which is a really cool website we've been using for over a year now. People list their homes for rent on there, so when traveling, you get to stay in a cozy, local house instead of a stiff, touristy hotel. We've used Airbnb to rent a super cool beach house on the North Shore of Hawaii and a funky loft in downtown Bangkok. We've had nothing but super positive experiences with Airbnb, which is why we are booking all our Euro stays on there again. The part I'm most excited about is the built-in host. They tell you all the best places to eat, shop, visit, etc. which gives you a real local's perspective, which I love!
For our first Euro stop, I found an awesome place in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. My sister went to St. Stephen's international boarding school in Rome, so when I would go up to visit her on the weekends, we would hang out there. That was over 10 years ago, so I google'd it just to make sure it was a still a funky, artsy, neighborhood and apparently, it's gotten even cooler since we left. People describe it now as being like NYC's East Village with the best local restaurants and nightlife in all of Rome - perfetto!

For me, our visit to Formia is the most important part of this trip. I spent 4 very formative years there, from ages 11-14, where my little sister Sabrina was born, where I met my best friend Arlene, had my first Italian boyfriends and ate the best food I've still ever tasted.
              Me & Arlene - 13 years old - Italian girls :)


      My dad and Sabrina in Venice & the girls at the Coliseum in Rome

When I came across this beautiful house in Formia, I knew we were meant to be there! Hosts Enzo and Susie live on the property in the main house and sound super sweet. This description alone sold me immediately: "With large gardens filled with olives, lemons and oranges, come and live the Italian life-style. Maybe meet the family and help bring in a harvest or two. Learn how to make your own pizza and pull it from the pizza oven in the garden. We'll show you how to make your own pasta and mozzarella too ... there is a lot to do here at Enzo's Place."

Amazing, right?! That sums up exactly what I want my Formia experience to be like. From there, we move on further south to the Amalfi Coast to stay in Sorrento and Capri for a few days. This will be an precious time to reconnect with my hubby and recharge my soul. Italy speaks to me like no other country in the world.

On the final leg of our trip, we fly to Lisbon and stay in the awesome surf towns of Ericeira and Peniche. This is Devin time. He gets to surf his brains out while I eat local foods, explore the town and try yoga in Portugese - stoked! :)
Supertubos in Peniche - one of Europe's best beach breaks

On our trek home, we have a 4 hour layover in London, so we will probably pop into town for one final Euro meal of British fish and chips, and then it's back home to sweet San Diego. It's never a bummer flying home. Landing over the downtown skyline along the San Diego bay - it never gets old! After that long amount of time away from our dog, our friends and work, it will be nice to be back and get settled. Until, of course, my Wanderlust starts acting up again..... :)

If you have any suggestions for surf/yoga/food/fun in Italy or Portugal (or have friends there!)  please message me - I would love some personalized travel tips!
Namaste xoxo, Mandy

1 comment:

  1. Mandy,
    Your trip sounds just wonderful, you brought back so many memories of the wonderful Italian countryside. Especially Amalfi.... Enjoy and never stop writing. You have a gift. I love you.



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