Sunday, March 21, 2010


can't really bring myself to record all the details of this trip as i usually do. it was extremely difficult to put this experience into words. it was everything you could imagine a yoga retreat in mexico to be. but better.

i have a journal where i tried my hardest to capture what i was seeing and feeling. if you really, really want to know some details i'd be happy to let you flip though. the thought of transferring those written words into binary code pixels seems a little forced.

the basic jist of the everything, in my life and in the world:
over the week, i, for some unknown reason, was able to focus on myself. entirely. i meditated every day. i had some of the most amazing conversations of my life. yoga was so healing. what a perfect spring break we planned. timing-wise and activity-wise. everything i did made me think about myself and my well being. i got a reiki treatment done by an old shaman healer. he told me sentences at the end that were the thoughts i had been thinking all week but put into someone else's words. he told me that i had a heavy heart. and that i needed to let light in to it. i needed to become more confident in myself because once that happened i would be able to share so much more beautiful energy with the world. he told me i needed to trust myself. and listen to my third eye and my intuition. he said my heart was always telling the truth. and the beliefs i tend to ignore and disregard are my reality. and that i need to listen to them. at the time i took it for what it was. it felt emotional and spiritual and real and unreal. and couldn't really process everything and put it into words. i still cant. i tried to memorize it all, but nothing i will ever say or write will give justice to that interaction with the mayan medicine man.

i found those elements and lessons in every thing i did, saw, smelled, ate, touched and breathed. ultimately, that is the best description i can give of what i learned and what i anticipate remembering for the rest of time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

italy, in retrospect.

during the first few days of being in italy i finished a book that i had begun reading 10 times over the last 5 years. i dont know why this time was the time i finally finished it. maybe i was at the right place in my life. maybe i was able to appreciate the meaning more than i ever would have. maybe its because i was spending so much time on airplanes and trains.

regardless, on the road by jack kerouac severely changed the way i looked at friendships, traveling, memories, music and life, basically. (buy it if you don't have it. i linked to amazon).

"they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and i shambled after as i've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn..."

this book is split in to five parts. and when i was in italy, i decided to do the same thing... describe my adventure across a country in five parts:

part 1 - katie, me, milan, venice, cinque terre, pisa & florence.
part 2 - katie, me, fontana liri, family, naples, rome, max, vicky & goodbyes.
part 3 - me, on my own & lots of rain.
part 4 - james, me, sardinia, a rental car & being in love.
part 5 - the last few days, a funny concert, the last few goodbyes & coming home.

here goes part one.

where to begin. katie couldn't find me. we were in the train station. i was pretty much standing underneath her feet. she was a level above me. and for two hours we simply couldn't find each other. (kate, i feel like enough time has gone by that if your family finds out about this story they won't get mad). she was dragging around her luggage and duffle bag, crying and literally screaming "rachellllLLLL?" i was reading and thinking her flight was delayed and drinking this funny orange soda and barely functioning on no sleep and jet lag. finally, "some really nice man" charged her like 10 euros to make a call using his phone card. we found each other with a sigh of relief and started our adventure.

milan was cool. we walked around for the day. we saw some beautiful churches and architecture. we saw fancy shopping centers. we went out to a romantic dinner at this beautiful outdoor resturant. i had the most perfect capresse salad. and for the first time we drank homemade italian wine in italy.

this dinner marked the first of many, many, many amazing conversations. anyone who knows kate and i, knows we are polar opposites. we always have a lot to talk about. to say the least. and by mixing wine, best friends, foreign cities, dinners that last for hours, new thoughts, crazy ideas, honesty, trust, appreciation and complete and utter attention... we were able to speak of the world and the way we thought it worked. through these conversations we both found things in each other and in ourselves that we may not have noticed otherwise.

after we ate, our waiter gave us a yellow rose and we were off. we walked all night. the streets were filled with young people. all so happy to be alive. everyone was somehow communicating even though they spoke different languages.

when we woke up in the morning we decided we were ready for the next city. we packed our bags and set off to venice.

trying to describe the beauty of this city is impossible. we got there around lunch time. we carried our stuff up about 1000 stairs and crossed a bridge directly under the sun and then dragged our stuff down about 1000 more stairs. it was hot. we were sweating and cranky. but it was perfect. we found a hostel and we met franco. !! he showed us our room, cooked us spagetti, gave us a map and sent us on our way.

for some reason, italians do not like to make their lattes cold. at every cafe in every city we asked for an iced latte and in every cafe in every city they thought we were crazy. but we kept asking. and on this afternoon we drank the most perfect iced latte as we sat next to a canal, watching gondolas float by, surrounded by beautiful colors, drenched in amazing smells of freshly baked bread, listening to the magic of the italian language of love and embraced by the warmest summer breeze you could ever imagine.

for the rest of the day we walked. everywhere. we saw it all. the rialto. san marcos square. the masks. the museums. the basilicas. the political propaganda. we got gelato for the first time. we saw the sunset. we we ate dinner next to the grand canal. we went on a gondola ride. we drank another iced latte. we talked for hours. we sat down in front of an opera house and all of a sudden we could hear applause and then... an opera. it was beautiful. that memory is so perfect in my mind. sitting in a square on some old italian looking steps, watching the stars, seeing little kids run home to go to bed, and hearing an opera.

we stayed there until it finished. until we saw people spill out the front doors in fancy dresses and floating on happiness. it was late. but we weren't tired. we had no concept of time. we walked around some more. drank some wine with our feet dangling over the edge of a dock. we let the night get old and we watched it grow into morning. we attempted to find the water bus. we had bought a ticket and hadn't used it yet. we got on the first one we saw and before long, we realized we were going the wrong way. since venice is basically a circle, we figured we would eventually end up at our stop. almost two hours later, after an unintended tour of the island and the most breathtaking sunrise i had ever seen, we got back to our hostel. franco was amused. he thought we were crazy, crazy americans. we were strolling in as he was waking up.

we slept for a few hours, took showers, repacked our bags and decided our short stint in venice couldnt have been more perfect and we were ready to trek across the country sideways and end up in cinque terre.

knowing very little about cinque terre except that we had, had, had to visit it, we basically put our fingers on a computer screen and picked whatever little terre it landed on. when trying to book a hostel, i accidentally called a bed & breakfast. and what a beautiful mistake that was. we got to monorola pretty late. maybe 9:30. we met an adorable couple on the train who were also coming from venice. we chit chatted for a bit, and almost missed our stop.

we got to the bottom of a hill. there is absolutely no one around. my eyes adjust to the darkness and the sight i saw before me was unbelievable. any preconceived notion i had of what italy would look like suddenly appeared. times ten. i could smell salt in the air. i could feel the energy of the world. i could hear water running from the top of the hill, under the road we were standing on, back down to the sea. i was stunned.

we surprisingly found our little b&b. the woman who owned it stayed up late because she knew we were coming. we put our bags down, freshened up and decided we were hungry. we walked out by our patio, up some cobblestone steps and started looking for a restaurant. but that was the problem. we were looking when we needed to be listening and smelling. i heard the sounds of kitchen. pots, pans, sizzles, water bowling, bread being cut. then i smelled it. garlic, butter, tomatoes, pasta, muscles, cheese. we found it. exactly where we were meant to be at that very precise moment.

that dinner was amazing. our waiter kept bringing us course after course. i can still remember how the muscles tasted. i can also remember how every one there was so happy on wine and so in love with the night. i literally felt gravity pulling me into the center of the earth. i didnt want to leave. ever. the waiter and his friend drank with us after they cleaned up. the lights went out, but the fireflies kept everything bright. another night where we forgot what clocks meant. we talked about love. the conversation was a mixture of italian and english... a mixture of understanding the words in a language and the emotion and intention behind them. it was insightful. it was intriguing. it was beautiful.

the next day we went to the beach. got pretty burnt. ate tons of cherries. we didn't have a care in the world. our day was based solely on what it was we wanted to be doing in the moment. we were literally going where ever the wind blew us. we visited 3 or 4 of the 5 villages. we talked to people along the way. we absorbed everything that was before us. the only indication that the day was moving along was the fading sun and the ringing of church bells on every hour.

we had another perfect dinner where we both fell in love a little bit. (oh, those pizza shop owners & crazy ocean eyed boys. stop.) the seafood was the most delicious i have ever tasted. the desserts were undeniably the epitome of tiramisu perfection. we were full. our stomachs, our hearts and our minds.

we went back, crawled out the window, laid on the roof, looked at the stars, listened to the faint sound of the ocean mixed with some drums (we thought), played this song over and over and appreciated life because in this moment it was perfect.

the next day we left for florence. we stopped in pisa on the way. nothing special. we literally hopped on a bus to take us to the leaning tower. took some funny pictures. and hopped back on the bus to return to the train station. the biggest thing that happened was a gypsy woman and her baby almost stole our passports, money, and cellphone. but luckily, by me screaming "HEY" really, really loudly, she took off. and what could have been a terribly tragic incident was lost on the wind.

we got major, major florence advice from miss. birnie. so we knew this city adventure was going to be filled with checklists. and it was quite nice to have some sort of structure because otherwise i think it all would have been a bit overwhelming.

we went sightseeing. we went to the leather markets. we went to duomo square. we went to museums. we spent a bunch of time on ponte vecchio. we bought mannelli bracelets. we ate a delicious lunch over looking the arno. in the late afternoon, when we were almost out of steam, we trekked up to michelangelo square. (this feat can't be appreciated unless you yourself have done the very same thing). we saw the sunset behind the city skyline. i saw "ti amo" written every where i looked. i consequently thought of james every where that i looked. i was so happy to be traveling around italy with my best friend. and i was so anticipating traveling around italy some more with my boyfriend. i remember getting this feeling as i was looking over the rolling tuscan hills and thinking, "it really doesn't get any luckier than this."

that night we got dressed up and went out to a fancy dinner. i don't even think we were hungry, so we just ordered dessert and iced lattes. (confusing order). we walked around, shooed away some invasive fake louis vitton selling creepers, and tried to find a night club for the first time. we figured this was a city of students and there must be a good party somewhere. but nothing inspired us. so we bought a big bottle of red wine, climbed up a fire escape and watched through a window at a family across the way. they were playing card games. and yelling at each other. it was awesome.

the next day boarded the train for rome termini. we had successfully and safely zig-zagged our way across nothern italy, floating in the wind, forgetting about time and leaving behind us a trail of memories and iced lattes.

live to tell the tale.

i don't write anymore. and i miss it.

just because i am not traveling quite so much, doesn't mean i can't write about the beauty and appreciation i find in every day things.

i'm going to twist the purpose of the blog around. it won't be simply to document trips. it will be to record memories and emotion and the life that i find everywhere i go.

this will give me a good excuse to keep a camera close by. (if i really needed one). this will be another creative outlet for me to invest time and energy in. it will be another source of inspiration.

i will start with italy, in retrospect. i will use the past to remind me about the present. and hopefully after those words finally spill out of my fingers, they won't stop.

you don't have to leave where you are to travel to another place.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


full length stories and tons of photos coming soon. promise.

Friday, May 15, 2009

home is where the heart is.

so for almost the last two weeks i have been traveling... back and forth from boston to taunton. and its been great. at the last minute i decided to come home during the down time i had between being done with london and meeting katie in italy and i couldn't have been happier with my decision...

since i booked my flight home pretty close to the day i acutally left, i was able to keep it a secret from james. with help from vicky, max and heather, i was able to get tickets for the graduation and senior ball and have a perfect long weekend. james' face was priceless when he opened his apartment door and saw me standing on the porch. and, just as i had hoped... i was able to pick up my heart from the spot on the hill in boston where i left it four months ago.

watching james graduate (well, really playing connect four and the box game with his brother...) was really great. hanging out with the mannings for the weekend was such a pleasure, as always. and my heart floated around the whole time because the happiness i felt was hard to contain within my chest. the weather last weekend was absolutely perfect. i'm glad i didn't miss spring time in boston. mother's day was great, too. i really find solace in the fact that i have managed to fill my life with the most amazing people.

reuniting with kate was obviously amazing. we sat in her car, turned up the radio, looked at eachother, smiled, drove off and realized we were back in action. about to embark on an italian adventure, nonetheless. anticipation is bittersweet.

speaking about anticipation for the upcoming italian chapter of my life... james' dad just bought his graduation gift... a round trip ticket to rome.

the rest of my two weeks in the states has been filled with family, friends, cookouts, going out for ice cream, forever 21, target, watching the office for hours, smores, pizza, fruity pebbles, gold fish... really everyone and everything i missed while i was away. and though somethings about my life may have changed, everything happens for a reason and things work out excatly how they are supposed to. i am about to repack my suitcases, charge my ipod, pick out a book i haven't read yet and continue traveling around europe enjoying what has inevitably been the most life-altering, action packed, perfectly amazing few months of my life.

see yah in june!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

we all love you lots.

i said goodbye to modus and to all my friends. its so weird to think that i have spent basically everyday with a group of people for the last 3 months... and now i will probably never see them again. we'll keep in touch through the internet, but the likelihood of them visiting or me coming back and seeing them is very small.

my last day at work was really great. everyone signed a card for me with really sweet, sincere messages. they got me a cake and gave me a gift card to a cool london store. they let me listen to whatever music i wanted to all day. we all went out for dinner and drinks afterwards. it was a lovely last day. im going to miss it very much.

this past weekend i have spent wandering around from one part of london to the other. i have spent precious time with amazing people. this was my last weekend in london. everything that i did had a sense of finality to it. i don't think i have ever appreciated a city more than i appreciate this one. london is beautiful, it pulls the stars from the sky and wears them around it's neck.

as for where i'm off to next... i'm about to pack my bags, go to the airport and figure that out...

<3 Rd

Sunday, April 26, 2009


i don't think i really need to say how beautiful greece is on a warm weekend in the end of april, but...

the city was stunning. it was everything i had envisioned. the ancient monuments were breathtakingly overwhelming. i felt honored to be able to see them for real. i kept closing my eyes and having flashbacks of what it all must have looked like during 400 BC.

the world's oldest city proved to have stood the test of time. the amount of knowledge that came from this place... all the philosophers, all the ideas, all the concepts... unfathomable, really.

dana and i spent the weekend on our own. which was totally fine. we napped in the national park, surrounded by flowers and ruins and covered in a blanket of sunlight. we found an amazing cafe under a canopy of vines where we sat for hours drinking iced cappuccinos and writing in our journals and looking at maps and pamphlets about athens. then we hit all the tourist hot spots. (the temple of zeus, hadrian's arch, the first olympic stadium, the acient agora, parliment, the national library, the acropolis and more).

on our way down from the acropolis, we stopped to eat dinner at a traditional greek restaurant. we obviously ordered greek salads and smiled at eachother as we ate the most delicious feta either of us had ever had. the owner of the restaurant came over to our table to clear our plates and bring us our check and he started talking to us really fast in greek. we smiled and shook our heads and said, "yeaaaaaaaa... it was.... greaaattt..." he started laughing and said (in english) "i'm sorry girls, you look like you are from greece. you are visiting? i'll be right back." so he took our plates and when he returned he had a dessert for each of us in his hands. baklava... it was perfect (and free)!

later that night, we found this really cool street in the neighborhood called psirri. we sat at an outdoor bar and listened to traditional greek music and absorbed the culture. there were so many people hanging out on the street. so many lights. so much buzz. the energy of this city was unforgettable. it seemed as if everyone was so happy and grateful to be alive enjoying such a beautiful spring night. i know we were.

we spent the next day at the markets. obviously i can't go to a city and not go to a market. the strawberries were amazing and i think i had about 4 more iced cappuccinos. the jewelry was so beautiful and i wished i could have bought everything i saw.

we met back up with lindsey and kristen for a big lunch before we headed back to the hostel and then to the airport. another lovely weekend for the books.

<3 Rd