Welcome back for part two of my series on travel blogging basics. (And when I say basics, I mean for absolute beginners.) If you haven’t read part one yet, you can read it here.
But before we get into that topic, I want to make my first big announcement concerning my own blog. I have been invited as a Top Blogger to TTG Incontri, the leading international trade fair for the travel industry in Italy. It takes place in Rimini from Octorber 9th to the 11th, and will include 460 international exhibitors and 500 international buyers in the tourism sector.
I am exceedingly honored by this invitation, not only for the recognition of my blog, but more importantly, for the opportunity to help further promote tourism throughout Italy.
This is the second year that they’ve invited selected bloggers from around the world to take part in Travel Blogger Destination Italy. The organizers have recognized that blogs are becoming more and more important in the tourism industry as a way to improve online conversations, and raise awareness of tourist operators and destinations. Each blogger has been assigned to one of the four focus groups: Food, Fashion, Culture, and Travel.
Strangely enough, I get a fair number of emails asking me “How can I be a travel blogger, too?” Or more commonly, “I’ve already started a blog. But how do make it NOT suck?” Why someone would approach ME with these questions is a mystery, but they do, so let’s see if I can offer some beginner-level advice for anyone who wants to be a travel blogger. Starting today, I’m going to be posting a three, four, five part series—who knows? I’ll keep it going for as long as it holds my attention.
Also, I’ll be making a couple of really cool announcements this week related to the topics of blogging, the travel industry, and how the two interact. I have been invited to two very prestigious events next month concerning tourism in Italy, and I’m really excited to share this news with everybody.
But for now, let’s get back to the nuts and bolts of travel blogging.
I guess our group of irreverent expats has collectively decided that our recent posts have been a bit too high-brow for our audience. Hence, this week we’re discussing the important topic of lavatory protocols in Italy. Yes, when living or travelling abroad, there’s nothing quite so interesting as other people’s plumbing—apparently.
I’ve actually addressed this vital issue once before in one of my most popular articles which delved into the fascinating history of the ubiquitous bidet. No Italian household is without one. I’ve even seen them in the public restrooms in the lobby of one of Rome’s fancier hotels. This is no joking matter, so please gentle reader, wipe that sixth-grade, bathroom-humor smirk off your face, and pay attention to the wisdom we are about to impart on you. Your hygiene—and by extension, your reputation—may depend upon it.
I’ve written a few articles about the classics of Italian cinema on my blog because I feel like certain films do a great job of teaching some of the nuances of Italian culture to us foreigners. Taken in their proper context, they can help bridge the gap between fantasy and reality. That is, if we’re willing to let go of our fantasies about Italy.
Many of these movies aren’t so easy to appreciate because there are culture references that don’t translate well. Indeed, the translations found in the subtitles aren’t always linguistically accurate—or if they are, the meaning/context is lost. We can’t always substitute one thing for another, whether it’s a word or a gesture or a custom.
Consider the film with the English title, The Bicycle Thief. In Italian, it’s called, I Ladri di Biciclette. Notice that the subject is plural in Italian, The Bicycle Thieves, and not Thief, like in the English title. It may seem like a subtle point, but when presenting the film to the Hollwood-ized (read: American) audience, the focus on the individual seems like a wise marketing decision. Hollywood movies are all about the individual hero struggling against odds to overcome his obstacles and enemies. Social commentary—and especially socialism—were not big on the minds of American producers in the 40s and 50s. (Nor are they today, for that matter.)