When Do You Leave?

travel, translation, italian, iphone, europe

travel, translation, italian, iphone, europe

Every day for the past two weeks I have been asked the same question. I am unsure if my friends and coworkers can’t wait to be rid of me, or if they are as anxious as I am for the grandest adventure of my life. This includes that time I walked across the US/Mexico border and spent the day traipsing around Tijuana.

I have been fortunate to travel domestically (and to Canada and Mexico last year) since college. Most of these trips involved visiting friends in cities I had never seen. Glamorously, this also included crashing on couches or in dorms. When you rarely sleep well at someone’s place, be it a relative or friend, staring at the ceiling on an air mattress or on a couch is irrelevant.

This vacation may signal what psychologists call “adulthood.” A thing that I often avoid at all costs. The trip involves zero couches or air mattresses. It also features seeing some of the world’s greatest art, origins of the modern city and the finest cuisine.

When do I leave, you ask?

The scheduled departure is this Friday evening. The destinations, if you haven’t been subjected to my repeated questions or discussions, are Rome, Florence, Venice and, at long last, Paris.

For the past four to five weeks, I have been researching every travel guide and blog I can find. Rick Steves has become my close personal friend. For one week he accompanied me on my commute, sharing stories on Rome at Night, the best churches, Trastevere and walking through the countless museums that house priceless treasures.

Another few days were comprised of mimicking an “Italian for Travelers” CD my girlfriend picked up. Should I be concerned that all of the hotel dialogue was about the rooms being small and too expensive? I still need to learn how to ask where the library is and what noises Italian animals make.

Then I hit the podcasts and apps. In a true measure of nerdiness (or being curious about the world), I found lectures on the great artists. This lecture from Washington University Professor William E. Wallace was particularly fascinating about Michelangelo as artist, sculptor, foreman and aristocrat. One might call him a renaissance man.

All this crammed research made me wish I took more art and world history classes in college. I realized I would’ve paid a lot more attention if I were going to Rome and Florence at the end of the semester.

I haven’t done as much research on Paris, mais j’espère que les années de français sera de retour à son arrivée à Paris.

This trip will mark the first time I haven’t been in Chicago for my birthday. Instead, I’ll be in the eternal city and Florence. In lieu of buying me a drink this year for my birthday, feel free to send me some euros my way.

Mille grazie et merci bien to my lady friend for agreeing to join on the adventure and to all my jet setter friends who have shared their experiences on places to see, places to skip and reminding me to plan to time to enjoy la dolce vita/la belle vie.

I’ll try to update BachelorBasics with pictures and vignettes when I can. If you want more, follow me on the social channels (links are up top).

No one has asked when I come back. I think they know that I wasn’t kidding when I replied that I wasn’t.

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Andrew’s Adventure

After live tweeting my train commute into the city, I took a cab to a morning meeting. In the 10 minute ride, I learned my cabbie, Muhammad Ali, wakes up at 4am and also doesn’t like driving in the snow.

The saddest part of my day was not being able to photograph my breakfast. I had eggs benedict, which is becoming my go to instead of french toast. It was at this moment that I realized I have a problem. There is no reason to photograph all my food, but for some reason I feel compelled. I’ve entered a support group.

Below are pictures from the rest of my day downtown: working at Starbucks with the hoi polloi, a stupidly delicious muffuletta, then an early evening of culture at the Art Institute of Chicago. ‘Twas a good day, but it reminded me that there are warmer places to live in January.

Rich Kids of Instagram Got Nothing On Me

Here are my photos from last night’s Yelp Elite event at E+O Food and Drink in Mount Prospect. If you’re an elitest like I am, you find complete bliss in the exclusivity of being invited to private dining events. It gives me a glimpse of what life must be like for Adam Rapoport at Bon Appetit or Phil Vettel over at the Tribune.

“How do you get on the list?” you ask.

Start reviewing your experiences for the places you frequent. The main focus is building community, so interact with others. Like or comment on their check-ins. The neatest (I’m bringing ‘neat’ back) element is interacting with people that you primarily know from the app/online.

Another fun bit is being in a room with a bunch of other people who constantly photograph everything they put in their mouths. No judgment. Just good food and good people. Maybe you too will meet your Yelp wife at an event.

I’m in Love…

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I remember something in the Bible about making food your god. Or maybe it was to not make food your god? If it was the latter, I think God must have been rushed to crank out His “Thou Shall Not’s” and didn’t think it out fully. Because if He/She had waited the hour for smoked chicken, there would’ve been some different rules enumerated in the Good Book, which probably would’ve resembled a cook book. God probably didn’t want to share all the secret family recipes like an Italian’s pasta sauce or a perfectly spiced curry or a succulent gumbo.

Continue reading I’m in Love…