In the spring of 2007, when my year abroad in Barcelona was winding down, and I was nursing a broken heart, I took a long weekend trip to Rome for the first time, to try to cheer myself up or at least distract myself (in one of the most romantic cities on earth, how clever!).
I often prefer traveling by myself actually, because you can go wherever you want, see whatever you want to see, skip the stuff you should care about but don’t, basically not have to compromise about anything and not have to feel bad that that’s kind of selfish.
That freedom is important when you visit somewhere like Rome, where there is just so much to see.
I still remember a lot of little moments from that trip: sitting in the afternoon at the Fontana di Trevi and looking up at the swallows darting and ducking back and forth; climbing up and eating a panino on a little hill overlooking the Colosseo; and one thing in particular stands out with the help of hindsight — rounding another corner in the early evening in the Centro Storico and seeing a whole wall of blooming purple flowers on the side of the Hotel Raphael, and thinking to myself, “Well, I could live here.”
And that’s kind of how it all began.