The Shape I’m In

Hi, I’m John and I’m currently studying Photography at Falmouth University. I’ve known Florin for a few years now. We met through his online Eurovision contest and the friendship went from there. I accepted his challenge because I needed to occupy my head with other ideas that didn’t surround my course. I love my course but sometimes, you need to think about yourself and how you can improve and present yourself.

I’ve traveled all over most of western Europe, had a dash of the Balkans and a whiff of America. These are all trips I have very much enjoyed but there are about three specific trips I have been on that have made me want to return. The first, in 2014, I went to Lake Tahoe and other places in California and Nevada. It was the trip of a lifetime. Me, mum, dad and my sister all packing our bags for a three-week stayin’ the land of the free. We had the biggest rental car possible A Ford Expedition L. And it was very L! We went in a large circle… kind of.

We went from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe and stayed there for a week, before coming back on ourselves and going to San Francisco via Sacramento for a spot of lunch.Then down through Death Valley for a three-night stay in fabulous Las Vegas,which is fabulous really. Only if you’re big on gambling or shopping is it fabulous. Also, the heat and humidity is a massive drag. Try to avoid it as much as you can but that can only really be done by hanging out in the shopping centers and casinos.

I want to go back to these places because I never go to fully explore them. Los Angeles is a maze of a city and San Francisco is so hilly, you really need a car for most of it, unless you get the old trams. I spent most of that trip in Lake Tahoe so I’ve already seen enough of it. Another reason to come back is the food! The food was delicious. I had reindeer for the first time as well as Buffalo Wings. It all sounds very American which I guess is a good thing. The portion sizes are much larger than what you’d get in Europe so you will gain weight.

The second trip that made me want to return was to Nashville, Tennessee. The food, the sights, and the events. We were there for two weeks and it wasn’t enough. I learnt about the slave trade and civil rights movement in Memphis as well as visit Graceland,where Elvis lived. I learnt about how slaves lived and worked on plantations in Franklin, and this town is also where I had chicken and waffles with maple syrup for the first time. Sounds disgusting but tastes delicious. A visit to the Grand Ole Opry was in store as well. My mum loves the country music show Nashville and the music.She just had to go. Unfortunately, my dad loves country music too, so there was no way out. The show was good but I think I’ll stick to my Italian Pop Rock. I want to return because it was so much fun. The people, the food and the general atmosphere were perfect.

The third trip, Italy, the land of beautiful food and cars. I’ve gone to Italy for most of the holidays of my life, but this trip to Montecatini in Tuscany was just indescribable. It was the villa and just the endless sunshine and relaxation that made it indescribable. The villa was a large expanse or terracotta colored magic. There was a pool, a gym, and four en suite bedrooms so that you had eternal privacy. It was situated in the hills away from the town, but it was close enough for a night out or an ice cream run. When I did venture out of the villa, it was situated in between Pisa and Florence so either city was in easy reach. Going back to that villa would transport me into a state of ecstasy. I would be so relaxed, I wouldn’t text,use social media or leave for however long I would be there for. One place really sticks with me is this Osteria in Montecatini. Osteria Di Moneta is really a class act in the city. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is welcoming and the staff is kind. I’ve been to Montecatini three times and I still want to go back.

I’ve learnt about so much from these trips such as civil rights, the slave trade, cooking skills, and language skills although my Italian is still quite bad. People should go traveling because it helps build the mind and drop any prejudices that they had against a group of people. It also lets you try and experience new cultures and the food of those cultures just like I tried chicken and waffles for the first time! You’ll make fond memories to look back on in the future.

On my blog, you can find my adventures in Italy, my latest music interests and life at university. On my Instagram, you’ll find pictures from my university town and my recent travels.

You can follow John’s adventures on his blog here. Want to be the next guest writer? Feel free to drop me an email to [email protected] and I’ll gladly share your stories with my readers! 

Florin S.

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