In 1999, shortly after my 27th birthday, I took off a few weeks from work and backpacked Italy.
It was my first time away from North America, and I had no real idea what I was doing. The backpack I purchased was way too heavy, and came equipped with wheels (adding unnecessary weight). I spoke no Italian, and knew little of Italy’s history or culture. I arrived in Milan armed with a guide book, some train advice and a shitload of excitement.
The trip was amazing.
I trekked from hostel to hostel. I marveled at the cathedrals of Rome, the architecture of Florence. I hopped a boat to Sicily, then followed two Australian women to Malta (maybe my favorite spot on earth). I tried Vegemite (don’t). I soaked in the culture. I felt free and young and euphoric.
I also took the above photo—maybe my all-time favorite image.
It evokes so many feelings and emotions. I was walking through the streets of Venice, dazzled by the colors, the smells, the waterways, the people. At one point I found myself staring at a religious figurine behind a pane of glass. I stopped to take the picture, probably thinking it offered a cool reflection of the buildings positioned behind me.
It’s better than I’d hoped for. The clothing lines, dangling above. The red- and mustard-colored structures. The flowers. And, in the righthand corner, young me, gangling armed, snapping the shot in my $8 Marshall’s T-shirt.
It still does something for me.