11 Stops On The Groovalution Part 3 - Vietnam, Sweden, Italy

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Team Groovalution

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Hi. My name is ellee ven, and I am a self proclaimed groovalutionary. As you know, I am not a travel agent, I am not a rocket scientist, but I am a self proclaimed groovalutionary. And I am convinced that travel is the fastest and easiest way to plant the seeds of inspiration. So, on episodes one and two, you have already visited with me eight of my favorite destinations. Let's see where we go next.

 Vietnam, party people. Okay, I'm here to tell you that Vietnam is actually, really one of the most amazing places I've been. You may not know this, but there is a lot of French influence there, so the cuisine happens to be particularly fabulous. The Citadel is a colorful and incredible, uh, home base for, basically, the dynasties of yore. It is great, it is beautiful, and the architecture is truly elaborate and special.

My creative inspiration from Vietnam would be red. I never knew I loved red so much. Oh, my goodness. I never knew I loved red so much, and I don't know if that's going into commie territory and that's wrong, but I'm just gonna tell you that red is beautiful.

And now, where will we go next, you wonder. Oh, Sweden. Oh, my gosh. Now, that is a beautiful country. Okay, so, total fun fact about Sweden is that there are nine political parties. Are we talking about fair representation? Wow. Amazing, right? So, I got to see the town hall. So beautiful.

What's very interesting, also, about Sweden is that most people have boats because they're all little islands. So, it's really a boating life even though, of course, it gets cold, so it's not happening in the winter, but, the desirable months people are cruisin' around on their boats, which I think is pretty neat. The food was amazing. The fashion was amazing. The people were multilingual and beautiful. I got to go to Stockholm and also to the Ice Hotel, which is a little further north.

At the Ice Hotel, you actually got to sleep like a goddess in the North. You got to sleep under these, like, little fur bits like, in an actual ice hotel that actually is made out of ice and each of the rooms are decorated and designed by these famous ice sculpturists. So, that was pretty incredible. Of course, I also did the dog sledding and snowmobiling that was amazing.

We got to see the Northern Lights, and we got to do, Swedish treatments where you jump into the ice lake and then you go into the sauna, and then you jump into the ice, then you go to the sauna. I got a reindeer carpet.

My inspiration from Sweden actually would have to be fairness. Very progressive. You know, of course, it is the home of ABBA. What else needs to be said?

We are now on the last stop of 11 steps on The Groovalution. Where is it gonna be? 

Italia. Pizza. Pasta. Oh, my gosh. Okay, so I have only been to Venice. You like pizza, I like pizza, I like pasta, you like pasta. Yeah, that is a place that it's worth having real pasta, let me tell you. That's a place that you might wanna have some pizza. Yeah, Venice was really amazing. 

The history of Italy is super extensive and Venice is just a little piece of that puzzle. But what is super fascinating about Venice is it's built on water. So, you land and then you're taken by a water taxi to this little land. And it's amazing because, you know, your hair's blowing in the wind. You're like, how big can my sunglasses be? You might wonder. They were big, and my hair was blowing, and the water is just so, like, it's just really straight out of a Audrey Hepburn movie.

The reflections in the water are something that you've never seen in your life. And moment for moment, the way that it changes, and the way that it changes the whole world around it is really a neat thing to see, and something that I think I had taken for granted until I really was in this, like, city built on the water.

So, of course throughout the city there's gondolas, the men are super cute with big hats and striped shirts. Amazing. I took this course there and it was actually about water coloring. And they had us go through the city and identify different colors and different shapes. So, you just had to take pictures of things that were like yellow rectangles. Mine was yellow rectangles, but other people had like red square. And then, you went back at the end of the day and then drew these things that you saw. But what was really neat was going through the city looking for a particular thing because again, it kind of shifted my creativity. It made me look at it a different way instead of being, you know, going, gravitating to the things I might normally gravitate to, I was forced to look for something new. So, that was a really neat experience. And I actually ended up writing a bunch of songs after that. Best one is I'm Sure I'm Not Sure. 

The art is phenomenal, the history is phenomenal, the food's phenomenal. The hot chocolate's phenomenal. 

The word for Venice would be special. Something that's really super cool about Venice is, I'm sure you might be familiar with the movie Eyes Wide Shut. The person who actually made those masks and is, like, the oldest mask maker in Italy is based in Venice. So I actually got to make a mask, which was pretty amazing.

And an interesting story about it is that historically, like if you look back at Venetian culture in let's say the 1500s, people would all wear the same thing. They would come to parties in a gondolier. All of them had the same. No one could be more ornate than the others, and all the party-goers had to wear those black robes, black hats, and the white mask. And the idea was, that then the royals could party with everybody else, and everybody was masked and wearing the same thing, and so you couldn't differentiate one person from another, which I think is a very interesting perspective. Instead of standing out, instead of making yourself known at a party... In fact, you were actually trying to make yourself anonymous.

So I hope you've enjoyed 11 stops on The Groovalution, talking about my trips to Bali, India, Mexico, Marrakesh, Sweden, Iceland, the Iberian Peninsula, Columbia, Vietnam, Venice. The world is big, and I have scratched all of those off on my map, and I'm here to tell you I've seen nothing. And there are so many places to go and there's so much inspiration to be had. So, your dream is just a reservation away. Go ahead, make a plan, and then everything else is gonna follow suit. 

My name is ellee ven. I'm a self proclaimed groovalutionary.

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