I’m Chavonda and my dream is quite big and contains many parts. This could have been filed under Business or Education and Learning as well as the chosen Travel and Adventure. I am hoping to TRAVELto Italy and LEARN about the 20 different regions from native Italians and through classes and guided tours. When I return I will use all of my photos, videos, notes, my travel journal, and newfound knowledge to improve my BUISNESS venture www.italian-charm.com. The plan is to visit each of the 20 regions of Italy and learn as much as possible about the regional food, traditions, and people. As I travel from region to region I will be collecting photos, video footage, and writing a travel journal to be sure I don’t forget anything I learn there. If you are unable to donate please help me out by passing this along to others. Thank you very much for any help you can provide.
My mother has helped me out tremendously in my life and now that she is retired I am trying to return the favor. The problem is that I'm in the process of starting my own business as well and I can’t do both on my own. I am working on a website/online store (www.italian-charm.com) that will give readers and customers a wealth of information about Italy and Italians. I want all of the information and products to be completely authentic and to break down any myths and misconceptions people have about this beautiful country and it’s people. To start I would like to take at least 6 months, (depending on visa approval for this length of stay), in Italy studying the culture and learning from the locals in each of the 20 regions. The project will compare the overall culture with the regional differences and histories. The entire trip will be documented in photos, video, a travel journal, and voice recordings of conversations and interviews with native Italian people. I would also like to network with small local businesses to find the best products to promote from each region in the catergories of food, art, music, literature, fashion, wine, and coffee among others.
What I will not be doing is staying in fancy hotels and eating at restaurants that cater to tourists. What I will be doing is finding the small less visited places where I can experience and learn from the down to earth Italian way of life. Of course I will visit large cities and tourists areas as they are as much a part of Italy as the undiscovered gems. My dream is to connect and stay with locals that are willing to speak to me about their customs and traditions, to learn how to cook an Italian meal traditional to that region, what they as locals think are the best things about Italy, their region, and their city. Polls, conversations, and language exchange will be my tools as well. I will document the trip through photos, videos, and a travel journal as well as by collecting receipts, brochures, tickets, any information I can gather at all and compile it into media to share with my website visitors and you! The main focus will be on bringing back information of places and people that mosts tourists will never see or experience and offering my readers and customers the chance to see and feel the magic of Italy through my site and my shop.
HOW WILL THE FUNDS BE USED
The funds in addition to any savings I can acquire will be used to buy a flight ticket, local and national transportation in Italy (ie: rail passes, bike rentals, ferries, cars etc. ), several different courses in cooking and culture, local guides when a family or host is not able to show me around, and accommodation. I would like to do most of my accommodation through couchsurfing, but I will also use airbnb (or other similar site), and host families. I will also buy the tools I will need to document the trip … good camera with video, hiking boots, voice recorder, BIG backpack, etc. As I use the funds this page will be updated with photos and documentation of purchases and reservations. I will also update as the plans and milestones (ie: visa approval) happen.
Well you already know what I'm trying to do so that's a bit about me, but here are a few more random things I love.
I love eating good food, drinking good wine, (preferably red), reading books, (mostly just fluffy ones for fun). Dancing and singing are on the list (I've been a cruise ship dancer off and on for 15 years), though freestyle isn't my strong point, learning, people watching, picnics, sitting with my feet in front of a fire with a hot chocolate (or wine) and a good book, getting lost in a new city and finding interesting things along the way (I'm very good at this), animals ... especially the furry ones (reptiles not so much), stimulating conversations, Italy (of course), mountains, clear blue beach waters, children, innocence, coffee, coffee, coffee (I could drink it all day), rainbows, the ocean, people who talk alot, smiles, big bear hugs, playing games (bar games, computer games, board games), winning, getting the giggles, daydreaming........