We’re excited to introduce a series of blog posts from an actual Contiki passenger! Southern California resident Johnny Newnes is embarking on his first Contiki trip – Simply Italy, and will be documenting his adventures when he returns. Here is his introductory post – where he shares his thoughts about taking his first trip to Italy – a bucket list item he’s always had. Enjoy!
Guest post by Contiki traveler Johnny Newnes
If you are reading this blog, then chances are that you are a traveler or are interested in becoming a traveler. I am one of you. I have traveled some, however, I have not traveled nearly as much as I would like to. My bucket list of places to see runs long and I can only hope to eventually check each place off of that bucket list. Looking over said list and the great number of places written on it can be daunting at times, but right now in this moment, I am completely content. Right now, I am preparing to cross off my number one destination from that list; right now I am preparing to travel to Italy.
My name is Johnny Newnes and this is my first time with Contiki. I am from and live in Orange County, CA, USA where I work as marketing coordinator for a large restaurant chain. Being a young professional in corporate America, it can be difficult to plan an adventure half way across the world, let alone actually go on that adventure. So when I discovered Contiki and the tour being offered; Simply Italy – a 12-day excursion that leads you through almost of all of Italy – I jumped on the opportunity and took it as a sign that now is the time to make this journey.
Italy is truly a special destination for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am half Italian by descent on my mother’s side and grew up with a strong Italian influence in my life; the cooking, the gestures, the laughter, and the efforts to mix a little of “la dolce vita” into our American lives. For me, going to Italy feels a little like going back to a former home even though I have never known that home. I am anxious to see from where part of my family hails.
Secondly, I am major foodie. I mean, growing up in an Italian family, how could I not be? Cooking, and eating, are both passions of mine that have really defined a lot of who I am. I do marketing for food, I was a mildly popular food blogger once upon a time, and I am known as the “domestic god” amongst all my friends for the dinner parties I have been known to host. Now I am heading to perhaps one of the most brilliant culinary countries in the world. I am literally counting down to that first bowl of pasta paired with a nice glass of Chianti. As a foodie, I am just excited to experience all the flavors each city we visit has to offer; and I plan to ignore my normal yogi-healthy dietary habits and eat with reckless abandon on this whole trip. Buon Appetito indeed!
Lastly, I am admittedly, a history buff of sorts. I have always been interested in Greek and Roman history as well as mythology. Name any TV show or movie that had anything to do with the Roman Empire, I watched it. And at last, I am going to see where all that history took place. I am going to swim in the Mediterranean, the sea that supplied and nourished some of the greatest civilizations known to man, the sea that fed half of my ancestors. I am going to be sleeping near the Coliseum, I mean, do I even have to say it? I am going to a place so richly steeped in history, art, and culture. The wait is killing me!
As I sit here trying to figure out just what shirts I want to bring with me for this 2 week trek, I am flooded with day dreams of what my time in Italy will be like; how the views of the Tuscan countryside will look at sunset as we taste wine, how the gelato will taste as it melts in my mouth, how I will feel standing next to structures crafted so many thousands of years ago. And when these day dreams are done, I know that anything I can picture in my mind’s eye will pale in comparison to the journey ahead. I simply cannot wait to finish packing and get moving.
Needless to say, I have a long and exciting venture ahead of me. I am really grateful for how easy Contiki has made this once in a life time trip possible. And I can’t wait to share my experiences with you when I return! Ciao!