Mount Etna

It doesn’t surprise me at all that among the beautiful places Italy has to offer for a wine fair, that I would end up in the foothills of Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano. Located on the east coast of Sicily, 3,329 meters (10,922 feet) high, Etna is the largest active volcano in Italy. Because …

Note to Self: Don’t Forget These Moments

The idea of going home has left me feeling a bit out of sorts these days. When I first bought my flight back home, I was excited to tell my close friends and as soon as we started making plans on what to do when I came back, this deep feeling inside of me began …

Help Keep Musica Distesa Alive!

If there is one thing that has made an irreplaceable impression on me during my travels, it is Corrado and Valeria. Without them, I may have never been able to embark on this incredible journey I’ve been so blessed to make. These two are exemplary examples of living with an open heart. I love them to death, and …

A Taste of Sweet and Succulent Sicily

Another one to check off the list: Sicily. I have always dreamed of Sicily…there is something about the romanticism of the island that had always attracted me. There was something about reading about fishing boats, the Mediterranean Sea, and sun that made Brandon and I talk about running off to Sicily together…someday…maybe. Lisa and I had talked …

Photojournalism and Publishing Ethics

It’s a funny feeling when you’re reading through one of the most beautifully printed wine newspapers you’ve ever seen (Pietre Colorate), admiring the photojournalism and thinking, “Wow..I would LOVE to have one of my photos published in here…this paper is so beautiful!”…and when you turn to the last page, you recognize your own photo printed …

The Wild Tulips of San Michele

I have been looking forward to this time of year for a long time! San Michele, the area where La Distesa’s vineyards are have a peculiar feature about them. Every year, as Spring arrives, wild tulips bloom everywhere. I missed this phenomenon last year as I arrived the week after the tulips died off. It’s …

How to eat your way through Sicily

My Sicilian vacation can be summed up in three words: Food, Wine, Beach. From my experience, that’s all that matters there. Because when you’re not stuffing your face with food and wine, you’re swimming it off in the Mediterranean Sea. I was especially excited to dine in Sicily because it is where I have always …

Taormina and Agrigento (Greek Ruins Exploration)

Taormina After spending the morning swimming in Taormina, Giovanni, Lisa, and I went to explore the ancient greek theater of Taormina. This was quite a different experience. I went for my first Gonadola ride from the parking lot to reach the town. That was exciting and terrifying at the same time after Lisa told us …

Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea

After a crazy first day in Marsala, Giovanni and I opted for a much more relaxing morning. Instead of touring more vineyards, we went down the road for some sun and beach time. We swam in three different bodies of water that day, and unfortunately the morning started with the worst location of all (it …

Marsala, Italy

After a quick flight after dinner, Team La Distesa finally made it into Trapani, Sicily. The landing was the worst one I’ve ever experienced, but for 10 euros you can’t complain (yeah Ryanair!). We met Corrado and Valeria’s friend, Nino Barraco, a winemaker in Marsala, picked up our rental cars and off to Marsala we …

One Year Abroad: Photography Highlights

Today marks my one year abroad. Finally something that has been number one on my bucket list can be checked off. And look at me…still going strong. Would stay abroad if I really wanted to, but to be honest, some time at home will be good for my heart as well. I’m one of those …

A Gift to Share and Grow

For Easter, Giulia and Giacomo made a sign and gave Lisa and I a special present: An olive tree for us to plant at La Distesa! I felt like I would burst into tears from this. It was such a cute gesture! So the next day Valeria, Lisa, and I went out to plant the …

Italian Easter = American Thanksgiving

I’ve never really celebrated Easter aside from Easter egg hunting as a kid. My parents are buddhist so it wasn’t really a thing for us. Easter is however a big deal in Italy (big surprise). I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than lots of food (GIovanni tells me it’s the time of year when …

Why Traveling for a Year is Not Career Suicide

As I’m busy crafting new resumes and cover letters for the inevitable job search, an idea dawned on me. Many of you, my friends, acquaintances, or even strangers have told me in some form or another, “Wow you are so brave to quit your job.” For the sake of keeping a simple conversation flowing, I usually try to …

Beautiful Moments one Sunday Evening

Right before I embarked on my England/Thailand/India expedition, I was fortunate enough to discover Maiale Volante. One of the things I was looking forward to on my return to Italy was eating here again. Lucky for me, I didn’t even have to think of an occasion for us to go, Corrado was holding a book …

Planting New Vines

There is no rest for the strong here! Once we completed pruning the vines, we moved straight onto digging up dead vines and planting new ones. Some of the young vines planted last year didn’t quite make it, so we marked them earlier in the fall when they were still green. That way we knew …

Winter in Italia

Brr. It is flat out cold here these days. Ironically enough, it seemed warmer in the Himalayas than it has been here, in Cupramontana. With the steep and rolling hillsides, it’s been interesting to see the diverse climates around the lands. Our work varies depending on the weather, but we’ve mostly been finishing the winter pruning. This …

Lha – An Intro to International Teaching

I have always had a strong sense of community service growing up, and the feeling of wanting to give back to the community grew even larger once I started traveling around Asia. Seeing people live in real poverty stirred something inside of me. As I’ve traveled around I’ve often reflected on what my next step …

A Spiritual Rebirth: Tenzin Chom-Chu

It wasn’t a big surprise when I failed to be granted an audience with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Since he didn’t have any public teachings while I was in town, I figured I wouldn’t even see him at all. Turns out the last few days I was in town, he had cancelled some events …

Homemade Tibetan Food – Momos and Thupka

First off – you won’t really learn how to make Tibetan Momos from this blog. This is just about my experience TRYING to learn. With that said, enjoy the story telling, photo story, and yummy looking goodness. As some of you know, I’ve been teaching English with a program called Lha, and one of my …

My First Himalayan Hike – Triund Hill

With all of the craziness I’ve experienced in India…I came to India with one thing in mind: Himalayas. It is true that this time of year I would’ve been better off in Nepal, but at the time I wasn’t confident enough in myself to travel to an even more remote country alone. While my lovely …

Review: Mama’s Kitchen

Traveling through Asia has made me a little homesick for my mom’s food, and when I saw a small curtained shop that said “Mama’s Kitchen”, I walked right in without any hesitation. It seemed like a small ma and pa type shop, and I couldn’t have been more spot on. After months of eating out, …

The Beatles Ashram and a Dip in the Ganges

Rishikesh is known as the Yoga Capital of the world, as many forms of yoga came from this area. It used to be filled with legitimate ashrams (the ones that don’t ask you to pay hundreds of dollars to get your om on) but these days, it’s heavily catered to the western yoga enthusiasts (and therefore use …

Rishikesh Wanderings

The first time I could smell, feel, and even taste, fresh, crisp relatively smog free air in India, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face. I stuck my head out of the rickety government bus window (probably not the best idea since something could’ve swatted my head off or the bus would …