An Innocent Abroad: Florence, Italy












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Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset



I’m going to start this post off with a quote that has grown to mean a lot and apply to my life in the past few months. Here it is…

“I am on a journey…with my work, my explorations, and a few sad stories. I travel with a suitcase full of outrageous blessings. I am on a quest for truth, beauty, and quiet joy. I am an artist, a writer, and explorer.”

I am on a journey with my work…

As you’ve probably read by now (my apologies if this is the first post of mine that you’ve read) I am a traveling journalist. No, this isn’t Eat, Pray, Love but it is my story of what I am doing and how I am growing. These posts are my work, my job, my career, and my life.

When I hike to the top of the Duomo, I do it for work. Someone once told me that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. Now, I don’t know if they’ve ever hiked to the top of the Duomo, but that is certainly putting in work. My future firm glutes will thank me for this.

I am on a journey with my explorations…

My explorations are my sole purpose for this website. If it weren’t for the beautiful world around me, I would have nothing to write about because there would be no explorations that could be done.

I wouldn’t be able to look out at Florence and see the city for countless miles. Now, I’ve been working on strengthening my faith since I’ve been in Europe, and a huge thanks to #SundayABD weekly posts, and I truly believe this city is a work of God.

I am on a journey with a few sad stories…

It’s no surprise that all of us travel with the baggage of sadness. As optimistic as I try to make each day, I learn that there are parts in my life that don’t go according to my plan.

I’ve learned that the sadness I continue to feel is the sadness of friends; friends that I have lost touch with while being away. Friends that no longer have a relationship with me. And to me, that’s the saddest part of this all because distance does not always make the heart grow fonder and bi-continental relationships do require more effort than others.

But, with the loss of a friend, you gain another. I am so thankful every day for my sorority for blessing me with these wonderful girls. I can’t imagine a Florence evening of dancing on elevated surfaces with anyone else. I don’t state my appreciation or love for them enough, but without them I wouldn’t be myself. They bring out the best of me and I continue to be grateful for the memories I have gotten to share with them in Budapest and Florence.

I travel with a suitcase full of outrageous blessings…

I think it’s so very important to remind myself of how incredibly blessed I am. I get to travel to different countries every week, I have a relationship with a man who puts up with me when I am worlds away, and I have a family that provides for me when my travels get too lavish. I wouldn’t be who I am without the blessings that God has put into my life.

If I didn’t travel with the suitcase above, the moments of hanging out in Pisa, Italy would not exist, and simply be a dream on my Pinterest board. But they’re not and my constant reminder, although it’s as small as an Insta bio, is enough to get me through.

I am on a quest for truth, beauty, and quiet joy…

            I am on this journey to learn the truth about myself. I want to see the ugly parts of myself that make traveling hard and being alone hard. I also want to see the beautiful parts of myself and gain the confidence that a world traveler should have. I am willing to accept the truth of it all to find myself while I am here.

I am an artist…

            No, I am not Michelangelo, I know, this was a revelation to me as well when I woke up this morning and looked in the mirror. But, as an admirer of art, I have an unspeakable appreciation for it that allows it to be incorporated within my everyday life.

I am a writer…

            Thank you for reading about my complex travels. With every post that I write and every person that reads each one, you allow me to live out my dream. You allow me to be the writer I have wanted to be since I was in Mrs. White’s class in third grade.

I am an explorer…

I know what you’re thinking – wow, this gal really drug out a short and simple quote. However, I think it’s important to share this aspect of my life and what goes on behind each post and trip to each location.

Traveling is not all sunshine and Instagram photos. I know I am missing out on watching babies grow, my brother graduate, and each exciting event that happens in my friends’ lives. It’s a challenge and a blessing that I am overly grateful for each day.

This trip to Florence gave me time to meditate on this all and I felt intrigued to share. If you’ve made it this far down, because I know this was a novel, then I will personally deliver a cupcake to you when I get back to America. You go Glen Coco. Or some gelato, because Italy has the best and I love them forever for it.

Join me next week as I ditch the gelato and stuff my face with waffles in Belgium. I’m excited, and I promise I won’t rant about Pinterest quotes again.

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Hannah was a guest of the Pepperdine Florence International Program. As always, my opinions are my own. 

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