A Road Retraveled

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

We find the coolest people as we work on this site - from all sorts of places - listservs, magazines, blogs, and twitter.  One of my very favorite new friends is our Road Retraveled Editor here on Wandering Educators, Simone di Santi. We met on twitter and have been exchanging emails ever since. I am so impressed with Simone's site, A Road Retraveled. It is chock full of travel videos, audio podcasts, traveling tidbits, and more. Every time I delve into her site, I come away laughing at her creativity and sense of humor, and adding another place to visit on our To Travel List. I knew we had to share Simone's great site with our wandering educators! We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Simone - here's what she had to say...


WE: Please tell us about your site, A Road Retraveled...

SdS: A Road Retraveled is the name of my main video and audio travel show. The name A Road Retraveled was chosen because although many roads have been traveled many times before, I travel them with a fresh eye and from different perspectives.

The show began a year and a half ago as an audio podcast in Miami, FL, but quickly and unexpectedly morphed into a video podcast starting off in Assisi, Italy, during the week of the St Francis Festival in October, 2007. After the Assisi series ended, we took a break from Italy and ventured off into New York before resuming our Italy travels throughout Rome and Florence.  The shows are very eclectic,  covering a wide range of interests and subjects that would best be describes as a mélange of the Travel Channel, History International, and the Cooking Network – and once in a while, Comedy Central. I believe that educating while entertaining makes for a more well rounded presentation.


WE:  What got you interested in doing audio and video podcasts/journals?

SdS: Initially, the idea of podcasts was new to me, but talking about and sharing my travel experiences, adventures, travel tips, and things I’ve learned from amazing and interesting people I’ve met along the way was always an important part of traveling for me.  There were many times I found myself giving “tours” of Assisi and Rome to fellow first time travelers I befriended there, and I can’t recall enjoying myself more than when sharing the places I love with other enthusiasts. The big difference now is that my travels and tours are shared with my listeners and viewers world wide instead of just a few individuals accompanying me.


WE:  You do a lot of food exploration...please tell us why you're so
passionate about this!

SdS: First of all let me say I love food…but some food doesn’t love me back, which is something that so many people face nowadays when eating out or eating abroad. Finding a restaurant that’s not only affordable, but serves food that’s fresh, healthy, natural, and prepared correctly requires some exploration and understanding of local culinary traditions! 

On the other hand, eating only in restaurants is not always the way to go for many people, including myself. Being outdoors in beautiful weather with interesting surroundings is much more preferable to me than sitting at a table in a restaurant. This prompted me to find local markets where I can buy delicious and fresh food for what I call a picnic with a view. Picnics with a view were a staple for me in Italy for budgetary reasons as well…many cannot afford to eat out at restaurants every day for a month without breaking the bank! But when taking the time to enjoy a restaurant experience, it’s important to leave your table feeling that your time and money were well spent, and you’d definitely go back.


WE: Your videos are packed with great information and such color and
ambiance. What are you trying to teach to/share with your viewers?

SdS: I think experience is a great teacher. Not only did it teach me a lot about traveling, but I hope that my experiences will help educate others as well so they don’t have to learn the hard way as I have on so many occasions. In Italy I’ve always traveled alone, and the Assisi series reflect the experiences of a girl traveling solo in a foreign country.  All the experiences and events in those series are authentic, spontaneous, and off the cuff. Nothing was planned in advance or organized.  I pretty much walked around all day with my digital audio recorder’s mic clipped on my collar while trying not to look like a crazy tourist talking to myself. I also had my pink Sony Cybershot Digital camera in hand visually capturing as many of the events taking place on the audio recorder as possible. This way, I was able to obtain as much valuable information as possible both audibly and visually to give my audience a first hand peek at the good, the bad, and sometimes the embarrassing experiences of traveling.


WE:  You are an intercultural teacher and learner.  What do you hope to
share, with your work?

SdS: If there’s one thing I’d like to demonstrate to my audience through my shows is the simple act of just showing up!  And when you do, be open to the endless possibilities of your life being enriched by new cultures, people, food, music, architecture, languages…everything!  Embrace the unexpected.  Don’t travel with a rigid itinerary…allow serendipity to be your guide from time to time. Don’t be afraid to travel alone out of fear of loneliness,  you’ll be amazed at how many incredible people you meet from around the world, and wonderful friends you make by allowing yourself to be approachable.  Strike up conversations with the locals. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of information they can provide you with about the places you’re visiting that you won’t find in any travel books, sites, or Wikipedia.  Be excited about the unknown! Forget the illusion that you’re in control of everything on your travels because you’re not. When you arrive at your destination, what’s to come is unknown to you. Don’t be afraid, but embrace the unknown and the incredible potentials it can offer you. And most importantly, do everything responsibly and don’t leave your better judgment or common sense behind because you don’t want to be careless in regards to safety, health, and money. 


WE:  What's up next for you?

SdS: My shows have evolved from audio to videos created with images and videos I’ve taken on my travels. Now I’m very excited because I’m able to get in front of the camera more often than being behind the camera, and I’m also videotaping with better cameras and equipment so the shows become even more interesting to the viewers. I’m also including cooking shows now, as well featuring special guests who have something of value and interest to share. For the most part, these are incredible individuals I meet during my travels.  I’d like my viewers to come to A Road Retraveled for more than just a travel show, but for a cultural, culinary, educational experience that’s both entertaining and inspiring.


WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

SdS: The A Road Retraveled travel show has a sidekick: Traveling Tidbits. These are short and fun videos taken during my travels that are not part of an ongoing chronological series like A Road Retraveled.  Both shows can be found on my website www.ARoadRetraveled.com as well as other video hosting sites on the web, and you can always subscribe to them for free on iTunes and YouTube. If you have any questions for me about the shows, you may contact me at: aroadretraveled [at] wanderingeducators.com   You can also find me on twitter.com/ARoadRetraveled.

I thank you for your time, I hope you enjoy A Road Retraveled and Traveling Tidbits, and I look forward to sharing more of my adventures with you.


WE: Thanks so much, Simone! We've greatly enjoyed your contributions to our site, as well as spending HOURS on your site, immersed in your excellent videos!


You can check out one of Simone's podcasts from our site by clicking here.

Simone's latest post is about the Top 3 Myths about Traveling Solo.