Shiny New News

by Bianca Gignac

Italy Justina Blakeney

I’ve been waiting to share some news that I’m pretty pumped about.

I’m offering a mini-trip based out of the Cinque Terre, Italy with the lovely Justina Blakeney this August.

Justina is my fave person to follow on Instagram (here), and her just released book, The New Bohemians, just made the New York Times Best Seller’s list (go girl!).

Italy trip Justina Blakeney
The craziest thing is that Justina and I’ve both lived in Italy for years. And Italy was the space and place that hugely shaped us, as young women just trying to figure it all out, into who we are today.
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summer in italy

I’m not sure how the “other guys” who own travel companies (yes, most are owned by men) build their trip itineraries. I instinctively feel it would start with a healthy serving of Excel spreadsheets and boardroom meetings with “accounting.”

That sounds sucky. At least to me.

When I create my summer Italy tours, I try to think … what would be awesomest? What would be bestest? What would be funnest? Admittedly, being grammatically correct has its moments. Obviously not right now though.

Which brings me to my next thought: Sometimes you gotta strip it down to the essentials before you build it up.

Sometimes you have to be visionary. And rebellious (here’s your permission slip to be so).

Accounting departments don’t usually have their finger on the pulse of these concepts.

For me, hitting the target means pointing the arrow towards non-tangibles like feelings and experiences instead of sights and the “checking things off the list” rigmarole.
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hiking cinque terre trails

“It’s the most romantic place you’ll ever see,” said my pretty Irish friend.

She pitched me that line 13 years ago, on our way to the train station to buy tickets to the Cinque Terre. That was “back in the day” when I was a student in Florence. I was more than ready to escape the Tuscan heat for the seaside.

On a Friday in July, we took the train to the first village. When I hopped off the train I squealed, “Seriously! This is amazing!” That was just the view from the train platform.

I still love hearing that phrase. I’m blessed to hear it every summer from my guests when they join my week long tours to the Cinque Terre.

My driver collects our guests from the sweaty train station. As we descend into the village of Riomaggiore, all that city commotion just washes away.

I love watching their faces as each hairpin curve delivers another peekaboo view of the village, and the entire Italian Riviera and all the way to French coastline.

If I could bottle those smiles and save them for a rainy day, I would.
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