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Maybe Someday I’ll Get to Call Cardezza Home

Maybe Someday I’ll Get to Call Cardezza Home

Cardezza, Italy

Through a very narrow tunnel (very, very narrow) and up a windy little road into the mountains above Domodossola, in Northern Italy, lies a little village called Cardezza.

Cardezza is the birthplace of my grandfather. It is also the birthplace of the family connections I, and all of my American family have with our Italian relatives.

Quite a few years ago, while on vacation, my Uncle Johnny and Aunt Jane were driving through Italy when they saw the sign for Cardezza.

He remembered my grandfather talking about his village and they decided to head up the mountain. When he got there, he found plenty of Solaros. Solaro is my grandfather’s family name and the connection between the American and Italian Solaros began.

It was that that also led us to the Contis, my grandmother’s family from Trontano. Trontano is another village just 20 minutes away by car.

The first time I went to Cardezza was about 12 years ago and there was a huge group of us. It was hard to really get to know people. This year and last, it was just Way and I. It really gave us the opportunity to talk, laugh, eat and enjoy the company.

This is what I wrote last year after our visit. Why I didn’t publish it, I’ll never know, but since we just visited again, I thought it was high time this article saw the light of day.

Our day started with my cousins Daniele and Lua (his daughter) coming to pick us up in Stresa. We had planned to rent a car and drive ourselves. But no, Daniele wouldn’t have it.

That is just the generous nature of my family. They welcome us, spoil us and treat us … well … like family. By the way, I call all my Italian relatives cousin, it’s just easier that way.

Lua and Gaia, (you guessed it, another cousin) took us about the town and we visited the cemetery – which seems to be on the standard tour when you visit a village.

Italian Pizza - Northern Italy

While we were wandering, Daniele was getting ready to make us a bunch of pizzas from his hand-built, outdoor pizza oven. And by bunch, I mean at least 12 for the eight of us. Have I told you how much I love my family! A lot!

A fun afternoon of drink, food and plenty of laughs followed by a visit to the famed Casa Boc. Seriously, the house is a postcard in the making. Okay, so it’s only famed in our family circles, but I love this house, the lands and what it represents.

Casa Boc, Cardezza Italy

Casa Boc, Cardezza, Italy

I would love nothing more than to buy it, restore it and have family filter in and out for the remainder of my days. I sort of have a secret love affair with this place.

The first step to turning that not so little dream into reality was to get Way’s buy-in!

Easy peasy! He fell in love with it (and all of Italy) for that matter. Who knows, maybe one day I will get to call Cardezza home.

I hated to leave Cardezza, but the island was waiting to console me. Thank you to Daniele for always welcoming us with a hot pizza oven, plenty of cold beer and open arms.

I am so glad Uncle Johnny made the turn and drove up the mountain that day. ❤️

If you want a postcard from Italy, now is the time!

Why Sending Postcards Is An Important Part of Nomading About The Globe

Why Sending Postcards Is An Important Part of Nomading About The Globe

Sending snail mail postcards from a local post office in a foreign land seems to have fallen by the wayside. It has been replaced by texting, digital postcard companies, not to mention Facebook and Instagram.

What was a required activity on family vacations up until the digital age, is now a lost art.

To me, sending postcards is the best souvenir. It’s personal, it shows I’m thinking about the person, and it lasts. Who really needs another trinket with a city name on it, anyway?

Did you know, the earliest postcard was sent by Theodore Hook in 1840? He sent it to himself. It was a hand-colored postcard and included a Penny Black postage stamp.

Oldest postcard

Well, I’m following in Hook’s footsteps – sort of.

Sending postcards from around the world

It all started when I was trying to think of a way to document us nomading about the world and our 60×60 journey.

We are traveling with one suitcase, so whatever we chose to remind us of our travels needed to take up zero space and weigh about the same.

It also needed to remind us of our favorite things about that place on the planet.

That’s when we decided to send postcards. We started with our sisters, asking each one to save the postcards and gift them back to us upon the completion of our journey.

Of course, we continue to add various family members and friends to the list, but they vary every month. The sisters, though, they get a postcard from every country.

Mailing postcards from Belize

Way mailing postcards from Belize.

What postcards mean to us and others

We’ve been sending a postcard a month since Oct. 2018. While it’s been fun for us, we’ve found it has been equally rewarding for those that receive them.

Here are just a few things we’ve heard in response to receiving our postcards.

“I think it’s really fun to see how long it takes to get mail from other countries. I also love that they don’t arrive in order.”

“It’s such a joy finding real mail from real people in my mailbox. It’s usually just bills and advertisements.”

“Your postcards are my little escape.”

“I love walking by my fridge and seeing your postcards. They always cheer me up.”

Sending the postcards is our way of bringing people along. My sister has two kids. I am hoping the postcards will help spark a sense of exploration and adventure in my niece and nephew. And my sister-in-law is as excited about our travels as we are.

Bottom line, postcards are personal. In a time when most communication is done through the computer, it is nice to have a more personal connection with our fellow humans.

Why we started sending more postcards

When people started asking us how they could support us for the work we put into our videos, we didn’t know how to answer. We thought about it and nothing felt right. As we started writing postcards from our first country, China, it became obvious.

That is when we started sending postcards to those that wanted to support us.

It’s not always easy.

First, we have to find postcards. So far, it’s been easy in most countries. What’s not so easy is finding unique postcards. Sometimes we are successful, and other times people get a total typical touristy postcard. We usually spend our entire time in a country scouting out the best place to buy a postcard.

Second, we have to sit down and write them. As our postcard sending list grows, we spend a little time each day writing them (usually with a glass of wine or a local cocktail) so it never becomes a chore. Eventually, we will have to close our list because it’s just the two of us. For now, there’s still room, if you are interested.

Then the fun begins. Finding the local post office and buying stamps can be interesting and often is – especially when a foreign language is involved.

For instance, in Guatemala, the country’s postal service is no longer operational. In the end, we had to send the postcards via DHL. The funny thing is they arrived faster than the postcards from Mexico which were mailed two months earlier – maybe that is not so surprising.

What is surprising, though, is how much we enjoy our postcard writing time. It is one more way we stay connected to those we love and care about back home.

Want a postcard from a different country every month?

If you are interested in getting a postcard from us every month, you can sign up by clicking here. Otherwise, we are giving away five postcards randomly to people who comment on one of our new Nomading About Weekly videos.

You can check them out and comment for a chance to win a postcard from us here:

Contest ends June 23, 2019.

Oldest postcard image via BBC.

Why We’ve Been MIA, Postcards, Walking About & Travel Speak

Why We’ve Been MIA, Postcards, Walking About & Travel Speak

Nomading About Dateland AZ

Dateland, AZ – Home of the world famous date shake.

Hey there, it’s Kim writing to you today instead of Way. There’s a reason for it and I’ll explain a little later, but for now you are stuck with me.

You may have noticed that Way and I have been a little quiet over the last few weeks. We’ve been quite busy and we took the time to figure out what has been working and what hasn’t on our nomading about journey.

First of all, we spent time moving our youngest boy from dorm room to his own apartment. I knew it was coming, but I am not emotionally on board with this at all. Secondly, what kid would give up a summer in Europe to spend the time in triple digits and working? My kid, that’s who.

We have also spent time planning the next leg of our adventure – yay! Europe, here we come and our first stop is Italy, Stresa to be exact – of course! Now, many of you know I have family there, but we are excited that my mother will also be there at the same time.

Nomading About Italy

Summer 2018 – Macugnaga, Italy

Here’s a little secret, Way and I are thinking of making Italy our home base.

We’ve been without a home base for nearly 18 months and Italy seems like the perfect location. It’s centrally located to make traveling to many countries easier and not to mention … IT IS ITALY!

After a month in Italy, we are thinking of heading to France to see the lavender fields in full bloom. As always, though, nothing is final until tickets are purchased.

That leads me to what we have been up to and what you can expect from us going forward.

Returning: Postcards From Around the World

Mailing postcards from around the world.

Way mailing postcards from the main post office in Belize.

Last fall, we introduced the idea of sending postcards to your mailbox from every country we visit. We had a simple sign up on our website and it turned out to be quite popular.

Then we moved the offer to Patreon, a site designed for creatives, and we lost almost all of our original pen pals.

We joined Patreon because we were told it was the thing to do. It seems it was not the thing to do for us.

After we moved over, we thought people lost interest or didn’t think the personalized postcards had any value. So we decided to end the program.

Then we started to hear from many of our early pen pals. Either they thought they re-signed up or didn’t know they were supposed to. And people definitely were interested.

So they’re baaaaaccccckkkk. If you want a handwritten-personalized postcard from a different country every month, click here to learn how you join our pen pal list.

We’re mailing the next postcard from Italy!

I can already imagine us sitting alongside Lago Maggiore sipping some vino roso writing you a sweet note. To be honest, this is one of our very favorite things to do, so thank you for asking us to continue.

Beginning: Nomading About Weekly

Because Way and I have full-time jobs, editing our videos in a timely fashion seems to be next to impossible. We try. We really do, but somehow we always seem to fail.

While we were in Guatemala, we realized we needed to post something daily so people could keep track of where we are in real time.

We decided to do a daily vlog. They seemed to be very popular but we found it a bit of a challenge to keep up.

Not that interesting stuff didn’t occur every day, but remembering to video, edit and upload it every day was a challenge and often occurred late at night when all we wanted to do was sleep.

We still want to create something in real time, so we are going to start creating a weekly show specifically designed for our Facebook followers.

Look for weekly episodes beginning Saturday, June 8. Our hope is to occasionally jump on and do a live show from various locations. Nomading About Weekly (or some other cool name we come up with before we begin) will only be found on Facebook, so make sure you like our page and have notifications turned on.

Nomading About Weekly will replace this weekly Travelogue. The travelogue will now be sent out via email. So if you want to see us in your inbox every week, sign up.

Introducing: Walking About

Mexico City Walking Tour

A few months ago, a friend asked us for a list of things we did while we were in Mexico City. We went to work providing her a must-see list.

In our discussions, she thought how helpful it would be to just have a self-guided tour she could follow at her leisure. Of course, the entrepreneurial light bulb went off for Way and me.

As you know by now, Way and I are big walkers. We truly believe the best way to see the real city or town is on foot and not as part of a group.

Tours have their benefits, of course, but you aren’t free to get lost, duck into a shop that interests you or stop for happy hour on a whim.

We do a lot of research to put together the walking tours we use as a guide for our videos. Luckily we saved it all because we are going to start putting together a series of self-guided walking tours in the cities we stay in. And we are going back to some of the tours in the cities we already visited – including Mexico City.

In fact, we created a FREE walking tour as a test. Walking About: Mexico City Souvenir Shopping Walking Tour is available for download if you are interested.

We’ll be releasing the full Mexico City series soon. It includes five walking tours:

  • Historic Center Walking Tour
  • Chapultepec Park Walking Tour
  • Zona Rosa Walking Tour
  • Coyocan Walking Tour
  • Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Going forward, we look forward to adding a multi-media component to the tours. That way if you aren’t able to travel to Mexico City to walk your tour, you can virtually join us on ours.

Coming Soon: Travel Speak

And finally, back to the reason why Way isn’t writing this week’s travelogue. Way is busy creating a course to help you speak a language in four weeks – at least well enough to get around a country.

I have always been amazed that he can go to a country and communicate well enough to get around. And he does it in just a few shorts weeks.

I thought he was just good at languages and that I sucked.

He developed this system that is based on neuroscience and experience teaching internationally. So, I asked him to start helping me learn Italian.

I AM SO IMPRESSED. And let me tell you, as someone who was afraid to speak for fear of sounding foolish, this system is amazing and effective. And it works.

It should be ready for prime time in a few weeks. Interested? Fill in the form below to get notified when we go live.

Of course, I’m not in Italy yet so I’ll report back on the reality once I get there, but I have high hopes.

And Finally …

As you can see, we may have been quiet, but we have been busy. Of course, our goal of getting caught up on videos ended up being a pipe dream. One day, maybe.

Well, that is about all for now. We’ll see you in a few weeks from Italy! We can’t wait.

Until then, go explore – There’s a great big, beautiful world out there.

Kim (and Way)

P.S. There is a lot in this update, so here’s a recap.

Our Last Video

More are coming soon, I promise!

Goodbye Guatemala City; Hello Antigua Guatemala

Goodbye Guatemala City; Hello Antigua Guatemala

Overlooking Cathedral of San José (Antigua Guatemala Cathedral).

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So, maybe that’s a bit dramatic.

Guatemala City is beautiful, historic, friendly, safe, all the things you want in a destination and it should be on your list. But for us, it has not been as smooth a stay as usual.

Kim has not been feeling 100% after that first day of food poisoning, and I’ve had an ear problem all week.

We did make the trek to Antiqua Guatemala (Yes, that is its official name) at the end of the week and that change changed things. Kim is feeling better and I can hear much better.

Antigua marks the end of Guatemala for us and we will travel to the U.S. next Saturday.

WE SPENT TIME NOMADING ABOUT …

Last week we were nomading about the Plaza de la Constitution (the main square) again and it was hot.

The sunshine was in our bones and our moods were cranky. At lower elevations, the sun has to fight to penetrate layers upon layers of air, each layer more thick than the preceding one.

In Guatemala City high in the mountains, the air is sparse and the sun shoots right through. It a searing different between shade and sun. The air is crispy hot.

(Editor’s aka Kim’s note: Can you tell who has been working on his creative writing?)

We filmed the Story of Guatemala City (it’s a story of destruction and rebirth) and we ran for shade at every opportunity.

What the air lacked in density the people made up for. The square and surrounding streets were layered thick with people celebrating the 5th week of the Lenten season.

The streets were layered with colorful sawdust in endless designs and 100 men, or little girls, carried massive platforms on their shoulders festooned with a diorama of some biblical scene over the sawdust creations.

But first came boys riding horses dressed as Roman soldiers and priests filling the air with burning thuribles. After everyone came, men armed with brooms festooned in City uniforms sweeping away the sawdust.

We didn’t travel to Guatemala for the food

The square was covered with food booths. All the corn people got together and formed a corn stronghold. The meat people formed their meat territory and the sweets people formed their place too.

We ate corn and we ate meat and we ate sweets and we wished we had eaten none of it. Our tastebuds were bored while we ate. And our stomachs rebelled through with massive rumblings after the fact. Guatemala is not a place of food.

But that did not stop us! Oh no.

The next day we were at Al Adobe a fine restaurant with not so fine chile rellenos. But the Kak’ ik! This was the best kak’ ik we have had – anywhere in the world.

In fact, it was the only kak ‘ik we had ever eaten anywhere in the world, but it was very good nonetheless. Kak’ ik is a fine soup with many spices we cannot discern. Our tastebuds were no longer bored.

With our tastebuds excited and our stomachs no longer protesting we confidently sat at Doblado. Dobaldo was no random place, it came with two recommendations, the Airbnb owner and my waiter. But it disappointed.

Dobaldo’s are thick fried tortilla shells built of old oil and stale corn and stuffed with greasy meat. The meat was good but not good enough to get through the layers of old corn and stale oil. Our stomachs rebelled again.

We also decided to start filming “Chinese Food In Every Country.” It will be a while before this video gets complete, but we thought it would be fun to compare between countries. Guatemala was our first country. The experiment did not start well.

On our last day in Guatemala City, it seemed fitting to witness the flag lowering ceremony, see it in #dailyvlog 17.

Our week ended with our journey to Antigua. What a city!

WE WILL BE NOMADING ABOUT …

This week we will be nomading about Antigua.

A view of Antigua Guatemala from Cerro de la Cruz.

We have big plans for our last week before returning home. The agenda includes:

  • Climbing volcanoes
  • Touring the city
  • Eating snack foods
  • Watching Lenten processions
  • Exploring ruins

If you want to know what daily life is like nomading about Antigua checkout our Facebook Page. You can type “Nomading About #dailyvlog” in the FB search bar and our videos will pop up.

Until next week, adventure on! ~Way (and Kim)

P.S. We know we’ve been slow to edit videos lately. We don’t want to be slow, but working, exploring, and sleeping is getting in the way. Our plan is to edit and post like crazy when we get back to the States next week. We’re hoping the need to explore will be a little less urgent.

Our Latest Video

In our latest video, we went in search of Street Art in Mexico City. Mexico City street art is colorful, vibrant and all around. The street art is thought-provoking and creative and it is hard to spend time in the historic center without it making an impression on you.

This is just a small taste of some of the images that caused us to pause and enjoy the moment. Street art has a way of making you feel good. We hope you enjoy!

It’s Easy Living in Guatemala City – Mostly [Travelogue #11]

It’s Easy Living in Guatemala City – Mostly [Travelogue #11]

The more we get to know about Guatemala City, the more we like it. The people are nice, the coffee is the best, and it’s an easy city to be in while we work and travel.

Several people told us not to waste our time with Guatemala City. I’m glad we didn’t listen to them. The longer we stay here, the more comfortable we become. Between Kim and I, we find it easy to communicate (of course, it takes two of us) and we are enjoying our time just nomading about.

WE SPENT TIME NOMADING ABOUT …

Last week we were Nomading About the city filming more parades, the Sunday market at Plaza de la Constitution (the main square), and shopping daily at the Mercado Central which is the huge underground market in the center of the city.

We had some work days where we didn’t have a chance to do much. But we were able to work in a drink or two on the rooftop bar at our apartment and run downstairs as a local parade or protest went by.

We started what we hope will be a new series highlighting national foods in each country. Our first attempt to failed, however. We set out to find a Guatemalan restaurant and walked about two miles. We came up short. A lot of Italian and American foods but not traditional Guatemalan.

Finally, we found a local bakery with empanadas, a food that was on our list to try. Attached to the bakery is a restaurant.  We decided to lunch there and film our first national food. The bakery had empanadas, the restaurant did not.

Oh, well. {Sigh}

We did have a great meal, but not what we were looking for. The bakery was great, too. We’ve been back daily for fresh bread and treats.

It’s all fun and games … until it’s not

Not everything is fun and games when traveling. One consistent problem is banking.

Sometimes foreign ATMs will accept our cards the next day they won’t. One bank will issue cash from our debit card another bank will not.

A 45-minute wait for the simplest transaction is normal. Usually, you have to wait in two lines.

We had trouble getting cash this week. Everything worked out but it unexpectedly soaked up 2 and half hours of our day. And until I had the cash in hand, there was no guarantee we would get any.

I also had a problem with my ear. A Guatemalan friend took me to the hospital. The first hospital did not have any experience with ears. The second hospital sent me to the emergency hospital. The emergency hospital said my issue was not an emergency.

Sounds like American medical care. But all medical care in Guatemala is free. In the end, I got some drops and was told to use them twice a day for three days.

I think it’s working, but I am not entirely sure yet. The total cost of the day was Q90 or about $12. Which includes a taxi ride to and from our apartment, the doctor’s visit, and a prescription.

We’ve also been having a lot of discussion about our voice and the kind of videos we want to make. The reality is we are not young backpackers traveling the globe. We are a middle-age-ish working couple that loves history, culture, good food, and adventure.

As such, we are making a concentrated effort to tell more of the stories we want to tell and stop producing videos because we think we should or because everyone else is doing it.

It makes perfect sense when you think about … Kim is a professional storyteller, after all.

WE WILL BE NOMADING ABOUT …

This week we will be nomading about the city filming the story of Guatemala City, as we see it. Guatemala City is a story of destruction and rebirth. This is a city that has risen from the ashes four times.

We are also headed to Antigua for the week before we venture back to the states to housesit for my mother and then help our boy move out of the dorms for the summer.

If you didn’t know, we have been filming very short daily vlogs for our VIP group. It gives people a look into our travels in real time.

Well, we have decided to move our daily vlogs to our Facebook Page so everyone who wants them can view them. So, if you want to know what our crazy, daily life is like make sure and visit us there. Here are a few you might want to see:

Oh, and while you’re there like our page if you haven’t already, please. And Thanks! People often ask us how they can support our art. We’ve been playing around with a few different ideas

Until next week, adventure on! ~ Way (and Kim)

OUR LATEST VIDEO

We posted a tour of our neighborhood in the Historic District of Mexico this week.

We landed in Mexico City for three weeks and found a quaint Airbnb in the historic center of the city. It was the perfect location to explore Ciudad de Mexico. We were a 10-15 minute walk from the Zocalo, Bellas Artes, Alameda Park, and street markets galore. Join us for a walking tour of our neighborhood.

Art, Celebrations, and Shopping in Guatemala City [Travelogue #10]

Art, Celebrations, and Shopping in Guatemala City [Travelogue #10]

We filmed a street art video starting with this image in our Airbnb lobby.

As we mentioned, last week, our introduction to Guatemala City was not kind. Our first meal sent both of us to the bathroom with terrible food poisoning. We were violently sick for a full day and slept for another day recovering.

But, after that, the City has been sensational. We are staying in the Historic District, Zone 1. This area is being revitalized and I think it will be the next hot spot for tourism.

We can see the Central Square (Plaza de la Constitución) and the giant Guatemalan flag from our apartment.

Plaza de la Constitución.

The city is packed with cathedrals and interesting old buildings and walking streets surround the Plaza de la Constitución.

A lot of women are dressed in colorful traditional Mayan dresses – not to appeal to tourists (of which we are apparently the only ones) but because that is what they wear.

And from what we can tell there is a parade almost every day.

We spent time nomading about …

Last week we were nomading about our neighboorhood which centers around Plaza de la Constitución.

Just like the Zocalo in Mexico City, Plaza de la Constitución in Guatemala City is flanked by the National Palace, Metropolitan Cathedral, and Portal El Comercio (market) and in the center is a very large Guatemalan flag.

Guatemala City is a city of celebration. We have experienced four parades in our first seven days here. And maybe we missed some?

We explored the Mercado Central and underground market next to the Plaza de la Constitución. As well as the market streets adjacent to the Mercado Central, where one will encounter goats being herded down the street.

Inside the Mercado Central.

We happened upon a peaceful protest of coffee farmers who had covered the street in front of the National Congress with coffee beans. They were camping there until Congress passed a long-awaited bill to support local coffee growers. We arrived just as they passed the bill and the farmers were celebrating.

Coffee farmers celebrate as the government votes in favor of providing financial help.

Their protest was next to a high school, and the students were helping them roast beans and do other activities.

We also explored Zone 4 which is being revitalized and gentrified. It is full of hip cafes, bars, shops, and is covered in street art. We filmed a street art video while we were there.

Also last week, we introduced our “Daily-ish Vlog” to our VIP Facebook Group. We are trying to share more of our journey in real time. The two minute-ish vlogs give a sneak peek into our day.

We were actually able to share the moment the coffee farmers found out the bill passed, some footage from one of the parades, and toasting sunset from the rooftop bar on top of our Airbnb apartment building.

It’s $5 a month to join. If you want to travel with us in real time, click here.

We will be nomading about …

This week we will be nomading about the city delving into its history, exploring the neighborhood, attempting to capture the Mercado Central, and take you on a food tour in the Plaza de la Constitución.

We’ll be filming the history of the city, stopping by all the major landmarks. The city has a tumultuous history and the people here want to make sure it isn’t forgotten. We’re going to do our part.

Additionally, we are going to start filming the Guatemalan food story, where we explore the history of and taste of traditional dishes.

Until next week, adventure on! ~ Way (and Kim)

Our latest video

We posted, Tenochtitlan, The Ancient Aztec Capital.

Tenochtitlan was a large Mexica city-state located under much of what is now the historic center of Mexico City. It is quite remarkable that an entire ancient Aztec city exists under the city.

The ancient city discovered when a local worker was drilling to access electricity cables.

Once found, the government had two square blocks excavated by demolishing the existing buildings. Additionally, there are places throughout the Zocalo where you can see the ruins below ground.

I was most excited to see Tenochtitlan after we decided we were headed to Mexico City. In fact, it was the very first thing we did. I was not disappointed.

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WAY & KIM?

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