It was a hot August day—although what day of the week it was I couldn’t tell you—as I stepped off the plane into the bustling airport. My eyes, still blurry with sleep, struggled to read signs in a language I had only studied for six months and my ears strained to hear a familiar voice amid all the chatter floating about. I grabbed my bags and headed outside to the busy curb, where a van waited to pick me and about 50 of my classmates up and take us from Aeroporto di Fiumicino in Rome to Florence, Italy.
On the way there, we passed rolling hills blooming with golden sunflowers and colorful villas with lines of clothing swaying in the gentle breeze as they languidly hung from balconies. Then I saw it. Like a weary traveler in the desert just finding water, my eyes eagerly drank up the lapping blue water of the River Arno, with its graceful bridge, the Ponte Vecchio, looming overhead. Following this sight, everyone on the bus rushed to the windows as the grand Duomo came into view. We were home, at least our home for the time.
The van made a few sharp turns over the cobbled streets, leading us away from the city center to a quieter, more residential area. I was so enamored with the views of the rivers and villas that I hardly noticed we had stopped. After piling out of the van and grabbing my two huge suitcases, I stood back and took a good look at the heavy brown doors of the old villa on Viale Milton and the people surrounding me. This place, Florence, Italy, would be my home for the next year, and these 50 people would become my family. I was ready to begin the journey.
In this issue we take the road less traveled, from a whimsical woodland resort in Oak Creek Canyon to the cascading Havasu and Mooney Falls to the pristine beaches and powdered slopes of California. Also, special to this issue, is our first travel-inspired fashion shoot, “Great Escape.”
I hope this summer takes you many wonderful places!
Until Next Time,