Love Affair with Travel Art

A Love Affair with Travel

In one month, eight travelers will embark on a trip that has actually been in the making for decades: Trim Queen Maker Tourism — Venice Edition. Now that the preparations are nearly finito, I have a moment to reflect and wonder, what is it about looking forward to a trip that has me pining for it, like reuniting with a long distance love? Travel, to me, is mind-expanding: I crave it, it takes me out of my day-to-day work, I slough off domestic responsibilities and get out of my relentless mode of “producing.” Travel lets me receive or absorb experiences, art, culture, food, people; it fills my depleted reserves. Travel reinvigorates my spirit, and I return to my normal life enriched by a secret you can’t see on the outside (perhaps like my younger self embracing my Italian love).

I took Dream of Venice on my summer vacation in the Hudson Valley

Dream Of Venice

In anticipation of our Italian adventure, my fellow Italophile, and generous Venice expert JoAnn Locktov, Principal of Bella Figura Communications and publisher of the Dream Of Venice book series, gifted us a literary and visual aperitivo of the beautiful La Serenissima that awaits. JoAnn won an IPPY Award from The Independent Publisher for her book Dream Of Venice Architecture on which she collaborated with talented photographer and film maker Riccardo De Cal.

Dream of Venice series by JoAnn Loctov of Bella Figura Communications

JoAnn and I met through a mutual friend, Leslie Carothers, three years ago and she enthusiastically connected me with Venetian cognoscenti and artisans who would inspire me to launch Maker Tourism — introducing other creatives to the vibrant, authentic community most tourists do not get to see, taking a deep experiential dive into the artisanal traditions that make Venice a complex city of living art.

“La Serenissima” – Serenissimo was a Byzantine title, bestowed upon the Doge and the Signoria at first, then extended to the entire Republic of Venice. Venice has continued carrying this nickname through the centuries as from the outside Venice looked like a peaceful place, spared from the turmoil affecting so many other cities. – Italy Magazine

In Dream of Venice Architecture renowned architects share their wonder, musings and how the beauty, history, and experience of visiting Venice has moved them and often inspired their work. One essay that viscerally transported me is by J. Michael Welton architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. and editor of Architects and Artisans:

Love of Travel
The Peggy Guggenheim Museum Photo: Riccardo De Cal

Like Welton, we will get lost, find our way again, then be delighted beyond our imaginations…touring Peggy’s Palazzo on Tuesday of our trip.

Travel is…

My fellow explorers of Venetian sottoportegi, canals, bridges, piazzas, palaces and ateliers share why they love to travel. In fact, I have shared travel with most of these insatiably curious women, which makes for the best travel (and spritz-sipping) companions.

I love to travel and I find inspiration and gratitude in most every step I take. – Dorian

Experiencing new places opens your mind to new possibilities. I love to travel with intelligent, creative women who inspire me to be more. – Amy

My soul expands on each trip, no matter how close or far…

Travel excites me to the marrow for the adventure and exploration of the unknown – societal, terrain, foods. I thrive on seeing how we are different and how we are the same, finding a true common connection to someone. And, of course, discovering artistic expression!

Jill Seale and her cat

Travel allows you to get a fresh perspective and take you out of your day to day. I always come back from a trip with a greater understanding of what’s “out there.”

I love travel because it sharpens your eye for the beautiful, interesting and unusual. It is my SOUL FOOD.

It shakes me out of my comfort zone.

Experience is an Interior Decoration

Never Say Never Again – Sean Connery stars as James Bond 1983

In a high school classroom, the exact subject I don’t recall, I learned of the phrase, “Experience is an interior decoration.” I pondered it, obsessively then started doodling it in my school notebooks. Soon thereafter I was watching the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again” with my boyfriend in a Sacramento theater, totally enthralled by 007’s exotic locales. I vowed “I’m going to travel this year”. Well, I was 16 with limited resources and though I had been all over California with my dad and mom for tennis tournaments, as well as family trips to Disneyland, Lake Tahoe and Hawaii, we weren’t exactly international travelers. So Junior year, through the business organization Junior Achievement, I entered “President of the Year” competitions and was sponsored to go to Indiana University and Colgate College in upstate New York to compete. I can’t remember if I won, but I do remember the thrill of traveling solo for the first time on a plane, and how I came back feeling different…somehow internally redecorated.

Junior Achievers Scott, Melodie & me 1984
La Quinta resort Palm Springs w Davis 1984

My swanky boyfriend (same one) and I used to sneak off in his Alpha Romeo GTV to drive 100 miles to San Francisco, telling our folks we were headed to a local football game. (I hope my teenage daughter doesn’t read this!). We’d window shop hand in hand, try on beautiful clothes in luxury boutiques, and would eventually try our luck ordering a cocktail at a ritzy hotel bar, sometimes getting served when Davis flashed his Gucci wallet. Ha! For Spring break, his family invited me to Palm Springs and I felt like I was on a movie set. For the first time in my life, everything was cinematic — the palm trees, the technicolors, the mid-century architecture…even us. We sipped virgin pina coladas poolside after heated tennis matches (me in a pink bandau bikini and Davis in pink plaid swim trunks) and it was the most glamorous, picture-perfect setting I’d ever been in. James Bond would have smiled approvingly.

As an empirical, and visual, learner, I think my innately insatiable curiosity about life beyond what I knew sparked my desire to travel, and to eventually leave California, live in Italy, and then New York.

On the Accademia Bridge near Ca’ Foscari with my college roommate Mitch 1987 probably after a big lunch at La Mensa our school commissary where wine was also served

My best kindergarten friend was a Greek girl named Angela. I longed to share the “secret” language, rituals, food that I experienced at her family home. My family was of Italian descent but the language was long lost after WWII. At 6 years old, inspired by Angela’s family and going to Greek festivals, eating Greek food and learning Greek dances, I was determined to bring some Italian heritage back to our family. So years later when I had the chance to study at Ca’Foscari University in Venice Italy as an exchange student from UC Berkeley, I scarcely gave it a second thought. But I remember as I sat on the jetway feeling very “Euro” in tailored khaki shorts with a navy blouse, the chicest cognac-colored sandals and tortoise shell glasses, it suddenly hit me “Oh my God, what am I doing?” The plane took off and my love affair with Italy was solidified. 30 years later, we’re still going strong.

  • Mary

    You paint the most vivid pictures with your words. You elicit the most delightful feelings with your thoughts. Italy should name you an ambassador for this mist beautiful and historically, culturally and emotionally rich country. Love you, Jana and your zeal for life!

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