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Adventures away from work

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

by Jessica Bourn

For my blog this week, I'm going to deviate from my usual topics of social media and design, and do something a little more personal. Recently, I was able to take a trip with my parents to Italy. My family is beyond blessed to be able to go on an adventure like this, and I am particularly blessed to have a job that is a little flexible, and a boss who was willing to give me the time off. Thanks, Clay!! And a big thank you to my coworkers who helped out so much while I was gone!

Venice. We began our little adventure in one of the most famous cities in the world and I'll tell you-- it didn't disappoint. I told my mom near the end of the trip that we should have started in a different city, because Venice ruined me. Words or pictures will never do it justice- the beauty of a city IN the water just can't be captured. When you hear people talk about Venice only having boats to get around, they're not kidding! From gondolas to water taxis, to "city buses" that are actually small ferries, the only options for transportation are your own two feet, or boats. I didn't see so much as a single bicycle during our 4 days there.

Pro tip: if you ever go to Venice, pack a good pair of walking shoes and a very good map. Most people rely on their phones for navigation, as we tried to do, but the twisting and turning streets Venice are not Wifi-friendly. The time difference between Italy and Mississippi is not work-friendly, either! I checked accounts, answered emails, and even took some calls- usually around 11pm, Italy time. However, those times were few and far between because Emily Katherine and our intern, Josh, did an awesome job handling everything for me!

The Dolomites. We took a day trip up to northeastern Italy to explore the Dolomites mountain range, where we saw some amazing views and breathed some sweet mountain air. The trip there and back was driven by an Italian man who reprimanded our group of silly American tourists time and time again about the correct pronunciation of Italian words and city names. The architecture of homes and buildings in the Dolomites was a strange yet charming mix of classic Italian and "Aspen" styles, and we got to eat some of the only non-Italian food during the whole trip-- German.

Florence. After four magical days in Venice, we hopped on a train and headed to the once-capital city of Italy. I didn't know until one of our guided tours told us that Florence was the capital of Italy for a while before it was switched to Rome. Florence was bursting with history, culture, people, and ART. I've never seen a city so full of art. It was almost commonplace to stroll past a beautiful sculpture on the street and not think anything of it. My mom booked us several guided tours through the city, museums, and even a vineyard-- these guides were just what we needed to truly experience the history of Florence. The city itself was breathtaking, but to then learn about the history behind so much beauty really made the whole experience that much more meaningful.

We saw countless pieces of famous art: Michelangelo's David, Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, Carravagio's Baccus, and some lesser-known pieces by Leonardo Da Vinci that were just as impressive as his famous works. I actually minored in art history in college and, while I was never particularly good at remembering names and dates, I definitely felt a true sense of wonder while standing just feet away from works of art that I had previously only looked at from a screen. Our guide at the Uffizi Gallery (where we saw most of the works listed above) informed us that it would take approximately 3 days of staying in the museum from open to close in order to look at every piece of art and read every informational plaque.

This long-winded blog post is all to say that everything you've heard about Italy being amazingly beautiful is 100% true. It really can't be over-hyped. So, if you have even the hint of a chance to make the trip happen-- do it!! And invite me. :)

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