When I was nominated by Jessica Spiegel of WhyGo Italy to participate in Tripbase’s My 7 Links project, I couldn’t say no. First, Jessica sits at the head of the Italy Blogging Roundtable (of which I am a participant) which makes her kind of my boss, if by “boss” one means “very nice person who lives nine time zones away and invents writing projects which are super-fun but unpaid”. Second, Jessica is a rarified Real Travel Writer, whereas I am Just Some Chick Who Futzes Around, so I’m thinking I should probably follow her lead.
The third–and probably most compelling–reason I couldn’t say no is that it was an excuse to go back through my old posts and indulge in a bit of nostalgia. The project has participants publish a link to one of their own past posts in seven different categories.Though I’ve been blogging for just over a year, some of the older articles on my blog are pieces that I wrote between 2003 and 2006 for the Slow Travel website (back when the word blog had yet to permeate our culture), and it had been awhile since I’d had the excuse to read through them. Almost eight years have passed since those first articles were written, and it was fun to say hello to my 32 year old self again.
So thanks to Jessica for calling me out, and to the folks over at Tripbase for coming up with these seven great reasons to shake the moths out of the archives.
My most beautiful post
Though many of my blog posts offer pragmatic information and travel tips to help visitors discover Umbria, the ones in which I tend to wax most poetic are, of course, those where I touch on my personal life. And nothing is more personal than this crazy hold Italy has over my soul—and, as I said in this recent post (this is an extra link, so it doesn’t count as one of my seven) sometimes Italy comes close to breaking me. During those times I dig out this love letter I wrote to Italy close to a decade ago and rekindle the flame that made me fall in love with her in the first place.
My most popular post
Everybody loves a good rant, and boy did I tap into a pulsing expat frustration artery with this post from last year. I was surprised and touched by all the wonderful, thoughtful comments and dialogue this post generated and realized that as isolating as the expat life can sometimes be, there is also a lot of affection and support in our community.
My most controversial post
I was actually expecting this post to spark more controversy than it did. Nothing gets folks riled up like a good religious debate, which is why I generally hold my own spirituality cards close to my chest. But, as it turns out, my blog has a passel of openminded and accepting followers. Thank god.
My most helpful post
No ifs, ands, or buts…people love an itinerary to give their trip planning some structure without the hassle of all the background research. My one week Umbria itinerary continues to be the nuts-and-bolts post readers love the most (my two week itinerary, as well. And no, this doesn’t count as one of my seven) and was also one of my favorites to write.
A post whose success surprised me
Okay, the popularity of this post was totally shocking to me. A piece that I totally pulled out of my derrier one grey January weekend when I was stumped about what to throw up on the blog ended up going as close to viral as I’m ever going to get and snagging me my first speaking engagement. Ever. Who knew that so many readers out there harbored an interest in hog butchering?
A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved
A dear friend turned me on to Umbria’s dragon legends, and this post remains one of my all time most entertaining (both to research and write). Unfortunately—and I know this may come as a shock—not many people are running Google searches with the terms Umbria + dragon. At least I can never be accused of writing for SEO.
The post that I am most proud of
I don’t have many redeeming qualities beyond my freakish ability to wiggle my ears and to sniff out a fib from a six year old at 50 paces, but I do concede that I am very good at finding the humor in otherwise trying situations. When our phones were out for over a month, it caused me such stress that I think I am still working the knots out of my shoulders seven years later, but I was able to write one of my funnier pieces about it and make myself laugh. And that ain’t peanuts in this tough world.
I’m sort of late to the game, which means that most of my favorite bloggers seem to have already been nominated. That said, I enthusiastically nominate my guilty pleasure: Liz from the irreverently hilarious Letters from Florence.