#TravelDiary:Like 2pac in 93, I get around

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When I launched JWV last month (March 2018), I kicked it off with a blog post about my recent trip to Rome (You can read about it here). I basically took my readers to Rome through a descriptive recap of how it all went down and it was a VIBE, if I do say so myself.

But, as I have said before I haven’t just been to Rome. Your girl has made a couple of trips here and there. Although it might not be as much as the average travel blogger, I have made some movements. I could be wrong but I don’t think there is a minimum amount of countries you are required to visit yearly to qualify as a travel blogger. If you love to travel, do it frequently and have the capacity to put out content, then BOOM you are good to go.

The most countries that I have visited in one year is three (2013 & 2017). Some people have the capacity to travel much more than that and that too is amazing. Whether you travel once a year or more, be grateful. As there are loads of people who would love to do it but just don’t have the time or resources.

So here is part one of my travel diary. I don’t have any pictures of my travel trips as a baby though. Issa long story, but have a read below, enjoy and stay tuned for part two coming soon.

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2002 – Miami

Daddy took his baby girl to Miami…

When my Dad told me he was taking me to Miami, Florida back in 2002. I was gassed. Super excited. Right up until I arrived in Miami, I kept singing “All night, on the beach till the break of dawn. Welcome to Miami, Bienvenidos a Miami”.  Hella cheesy but I was only 10 years old, so give me a break lol.

It was not all fun and games though because the real reason for this trip was my Grans funeral. If you ever had a death in the family you will know that it is usually filled with tears, sadness and “ole leap ah drama”. My Pups did a good job to keep me out of that though. I spent most of my time out shopping, recreating the Destiny’s Child “I’m a survivor” beach scenes at the beach, eating and of course a trip to Disneyland. I remember it like it was yesterday. I felt like one of those celebrity kids,anything I wanted or needed, my Daddy made it happen.

This was my first trip to the USA and if you read my (Is Sisterhood dying out here in these streets?) blog post last month, I shared how much I followed Black American Culture growing up. So you can just imagine how much of a field day I had out there. I was fascinated with everything because everything was literally 10 x larger than the stuff in the UK, especially the junk food.

I loved my time spent in Miami because it allowed me to reconnect with my Dads family on another level. I learned a bit more about my Fathers foundation and the type of family that I was born into.  I listened to him and his siblings share their childhood stories and looked through 100s of old photos. It really helped me piece together elements of my identity and of course understand a bit more about my Jamaican heritage.

2007 – Italy

Learning a thing or two in Florence…

My first school trip abroad and it didnt disappoint, I had so much fun. We didn’t fly though, we made our way to Dover got on the ferry and drove the entire way into Florence. It was everything I imagined a school trip to be plus more. I can remember sitting on the Coach with my Song Ericsson W810 listening to “Seany B ft Gemma Fox – Us against the world” (CHANNEL U classic) and thinking about my first boyfriend, who sadly was in jail at the time (sigh lol).  Anyway, the trip was eventful, educational and fun. I climbed the leaning tower of Piasa all the top to the top. Tossed coins in Trevi fountain, I made a promise to return & I did (click here to read about it). I also visited ‘La Specola Anatomical Collection, the largest and most famous wax anatomical collection anywhere in the world. After this trip, I vowed to myself that when I got a little bit older I would travel around the world as much as I could. It is safe to say that self- fulfilling prophecy is currently manifesting.

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2010 – New York

Big dreams in the concrete jungle…

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If you don’t know by now, I love Black America. I always have and I probably always will. When the opportunity presented itself for me to go to NEW YORKKKKK, I was all over that like Bees on honey. I had started my 2nd Job in ALLSAINTS head office the December of 2009 (shout out to my God sister for the hook up) and when I tell you I put in work for every bit of GBP that I earned to make that trip to New York possible.

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I don’t think no one truly understands just how much my heart bleeds for America, especially New York. I used to dream about living and working out there for yearssssss. It was a dream come true when I finally stepped on NYC soil. As soon as I checked into my hotel, I dropped my bags off and ran out onto Times Square. Those brights lights penetrated right through me and I couldn’t hold back my excitement. To dream about this place as a child and to finally be there many years later, confirmed to me that anything in life is possible. If you really want it!

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New York, has a piece of my heart. In some weird way, I feel like God has something patterned out there for me. I am not sure what that may be, but if the opportunity presents itself I will surely be ready.  I spent most of this trip shopping as sightseeing was kept to a minimal. I even declined to visit Ground Zero because I felt overwhelmed being quite close to the grounds. The shopping in NYC was top notch, I felt like a kid in a candy store and came home with two suitcases packed to capacity. I also got a chance to visit the Maury show, I was a big fan back then, so it was such a vibe to go down there and see everything up close and personal. I even got a chance to visit HARLEM and my oh my, it truly felt like being back home in BRIXTON. The multi-culture of the people and the vibes of the community felt oh so familiar. New York needs to see me again, as I have so much to see and much more to do.

2012 – Dominican Republic

Scared straight in the DR…

This trip to the Dominican Republic came about after a random convo one night on BBM. DR has got to be one of the safest holidays that I have ever been on. Reading those government safety warnings before travelling really made us take extra care. We were so scared on this holiday to the point where we only left the hotel complex, to go to the beach. Looking back now, I feel very dumb. Like a pie slapped in my face kinda dumb, lol. We were under the impression we would get kidnapped by our neighbours in Haiti or even some pirates. Lord forgive us for that high level of ignorance.

We stayed at the Ifa villas Bravo all-inclusive resort, which included spa facilities of course lol. The food wasn’t that great but the beach and spa made up for it. If you ever get a chance to experience a full chocolate body massage, do it. The pictures from this trip are hilarious. My weave was about 26 INCHES (see below) and my travel case was filled with maxi dresses and sandals.

Relaxing, taking pictures for Instagram (it was the new thing back then) and recording videos of ourselves rapping to Rick Ross & Drake was mainly what this trip consisted of. I do regret not exploring as much, but I was a novice in the Travel game back then. Its safe to say that the Dominican Republic needs a do-over, Baecation maybe? lol

2013 – Turkey

Young & not so carefree in Turkey…

I believe my whole trip cost me about £389 for a one week all-inclusive trip to Marmaris. I didn’t really know what to expect but it actually turned out to be better than I could of imagined. I enjoyed a photo shoot on a boat, I got dipped in Marmaris Jesus beach and I went snorkelling for the first time. I even survived Quad biking through the forest and experienced my first EVER Turkish bath.

My mum went into a crazy frenzy when she saw the picture of me blowing out the Shisha smoke, lol. Black Mothers & their theatrics never cease to amaze me, lol. Even when you become a legal adult your parents still don’t know how to let go of you. If my mum knew how many takes it took to get this one picture, she would not have wasted her time cussing me out.

This was my first holiday as a 21-year-old woman. It was during one of the best times in my life. My friendship circle, social life and education were truly buzzing. Life was good, life was really good and this trip was like a cherry on top of all the great things that were happening in my life.

2013 – Jamaica

Likkle miss, Likkle miss ah gwan like she big in Jamaica…

Going to Jamaica as a 21-year-old adult is much different than when you go there as a child with adult supervision. I need you to understand that when it came to leaving Jamaica, I cried like a big baby at the airport. I didn’t want to go home. My spirit was so peaceful and I felt free. I literally had no cares in the world, the only thing that was on my mind was my motives for each day.

Jamaica was everything plus more.  I was on such a high as I had played in the London Nottinghill carnival two weeks before flying out . So you know my head was still on a high from the moment I got on that plane. My Jamaica antics were plain and simple. I went to a dance every night, strolled back to the hotel at 7 am most mornings, I felt shame every single time and did it again the next day, LOL. I stayed at the Sunset Grande which has now been renovated and renamed Moon Palace.

I visited Dolphin Cove, Dunn’s Rivers Falls, Bob Marley’s Mausoleum. I ate KFC, juicy patties, box food and slurped bag juice on a daily basis. I even went to the infamous adult entertainment nightclub SHADES. I was truly horrified,because what I saw in that nightclub traumatized me for life. Google that if you are bad, but do it at your own risk, lool.

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In all honesty though you can never go to Jamaica and hate it, it’s just not possible.

2013 – Morocco 

Weekend antics in Morocco…

This was the first time that I ever took a flight by myself. Things were going well until I had to stop off in Casa Blanca for my connecting flight to Marrakesh. How was I supposed to know that my luggage would be transferred onto the next flight, without me having to go through bag drop again? Please believe I was crying frantically all through that airport. If you read ‘When in Rome, do shows‘ you will know that I am not fluent in any other language apart from English. I didn’t understand a word of Arabic and I am sure the airport staff couldn’t understand my English through snot & tears lol.

To cut a long story short, I managed to get my luggage once on the other side. I spent the weekend in a private 4 bedroom villa, which included individual bathrooms, wifi, an outdoor pool, private chef with a chauffeur.

Nikki Beach, Camel rides and fine dining at the Four Seasons hotel, were just some of the great memories that I made in Morocco. It truly deserves a do-over, but it will probably be somewhere I will go with my Husband for one of our getaways or anniversary trips. I am not married just yet guys, but my Husband will soon find me, so watch this space, lol.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Travel diary, look out for Part 2 coming soon. Also let me know if we have been to any of the same places or if you plan to visit some of the places that I have.

If you are flying out this year and need help with your Travel Wardrobe, check out the first edition of #JWV TravelGlam Lookbook for some style tips & inspiration.

Need help packing your travel case? I got you, check out  #JWV Top 10 Travel essentials to help you get things in order.

As always my boo, thank you for reading.

If you enjoyed this blog post or any others, please re-post on your socials.

Stay blessed Peeps

Lots of Love

Jenna

xoxox

When in Rome, do Shows

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I am no stranger to Italy it is an amazing place with lots to see and even much more to explore. I once visited the beautiful city of Florence the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region on a school trip. Even back then I wrote a vivid travel diary about my time in Florence and I was only 14. I randomly stumbled across it a few years ago and let’s just say reading it to myself as an adult was ridiculously awkward. The kind of awkwardness you feel reading your Facebook statuses from 2009, lol.

Looking back my time in Florence was enjoyable as I did so many great things. I climbed the Leaning Tower of paisa all the way to the top and even ventured out on a mini day trip to Rome. Where I got the chance to toss coins into Trevi Fountain and make a wish. I can’t recall what I wished for, but I do remember making a bold promise to return to the city and as the saying goes “so said, so done.”

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The opportunity to retrace my steps was presented to me by my cousin, who wanted to celebrate her upcoming graduation from her Maters (yasss Girl) with a quick trip. Without any reluctance, I accepted the invitation to return to Rome after 12 years and this is how it all went down.

Destination: Rome for 5 days
Travel Partner: The Lovely_Tiff♥
Mission: To sight see,fine dine,make memories & SLAY

British Airways had the pleasure of flying us to Rome from London Heathrow Airport. As we were booked on a midday flight, we had a chance to grab some pre-flight breakfast. BA is a ‘Boujee’ airline that feeds their passengers on both short & long haul flights. As good as this sounds, I never take such risks with plane food. I always eat before I fly just in case the food doesn’t tickle my fancy. Being as this was my first flight of 2018, I felt hella presidential paying £8.95 for my vegan breakfast (I am not a real Vegan, so please don’t judge me lol).

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The flight was 2 hours 30 mins and it was easy like Sunday morning. We kept busy with a Netflix film (The man in 3B) and slept for the duration of the flight. We arrived at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in no time and I must say it is one of the nicest airports that I have been to. The airport was super clean, modern and easy to navigate around. In saying that, the weirdest thing happened to me in the airport on our way out to grab a taxi. For the FIRST time in my life, I was stopped by airport security and it is safe to say that your girl was shooketh.

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The only words that I can say in Italian are Ciao bella so I wasn’t too keen on getting detained before even stepping out the airport. I frantically started showing them my passport and it was obvious that I wasn’t fluent in Italian, so they let me go with no further questions, whew. We slid right up out of there just in case they changed their minds. Luckily we manged to secure a group taxi for 20 euros and made our way to the hotel.

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After a multitude of drop offs we finally arrived and was able to check in to our new home for the next 5 days. The building hotel is a Chic 4 star establishment located in the central part of Rome in Via Montebello. Fully equipped with all the essential travel amenities:

  1. Welcome drinks
  2. Wi-Fi
  3. 24 hour Gym
  4. Spa facilities
  5. Breakfast  package
  6. Pay as you go restaurant access
  7. Easy travel links

I must say that the hotel was intact and filled with well-mannered attentive staffs, who were willing to be our on sight camera crew. There were a few annoying things that we didn’t enjoy, but with the good always comes the bad. For example, the poor lighting in our room had us struggling to beat our faces. The limited supply of toilet tissue and bath towels required us to call reception daily just to request a re-up*Side-eye*. In saying that though, they were minor issues that didn’t overshadow the hotel’s great qualities. I give this hotel is a strong 7 out of 10.

Check us two out below looking all Christmas gift wrapped. 

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Time to hit these Rome streets

On our first full day in the city there was no time to waste, so we grabbed a map and headed out to do some sightseeing. The first stop was the Colosseum as it was the closest to the hotel. The trains in Rome run on a proper system, nothing like the shenanigans that I see back home in London. We decided to head to the local train station Termini and get a train as it was only a few steps away. Termini station is humongous and is filled with great retail and food shops, similar to Grand Central in New York or Kings Cross in London.

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There were some things significantly noticeable and not so easy to ignore at Termini station. It was the large groups of black males trying to sell us things. Men young and old, from the shores of Senegal right through to Nigeria. Many have their own reasons for coming but for the majority, it is the chance of having a better life.

I admired their determination so I couldn’t knock their hustle or turn up my nose when they called out to us. We were approached many times and some even had the courage to strike up witty conversations. Often referring to us as “my sisters” and even though we didn’t buy anything from them, they were so kind enough to gift us with handmade bracelets. Those small acts of kindness were a gentle reminder to me that I must strive to do good by others without expecting anything in return.

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 I always try to blend in with the locals when I travel, but somehow I end up sticking out like a sore thumb. I get noticed and especially by tour guides it is as if they can smell my blood in walking distance. Within seconds of being in view we were approached by tour guides and had all sorts of offers being thrown our way but we didn’t cave in. The bottom line is this, tour guides have one job and one job only and that is to finesse you by any means necessary so stay woke.

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We arrived at the Colosseum, in no less than 15 minutes, the atmosphere was electrifying and the streets were filled with people. From buzzing tourist trying to capture the best pictures or the local street vendors trying to haggle chargers for 25 euros that I secured for only 5 lol.

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 I truly felt the buzz of the people and became overwhelmed with excitement. Only to then realize that the Colosseum was closed to visitors for the day. To think that we got dressed up, told everyone on Snap-chat only to arrive and find out it was closed after 3.30pm. Two very important lessons were learned here, always do research about a place before you go and never speak on things prematurely. At this point all we could do was laugh and of course take a few pictures just in case we didn’t come back before the end of our trip.

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Since the Colosseum was closed, we weren’t going to let the day or our outfits go to waste. So we flagged down an open people carrier, jumped in and got strolled all the way down to Trevi Fountain. Riding through the town had us feeling like the women from The Real housewives of Atlanta when they take a girls trip during the season. I felt like we were filming scenes for our own reality show, we honestly couldn’t stop grinning the entire time. The ride through the town gave us the chance to really admire the great architecture of the city, untouched and authentic in every way, shape and form.

Look at us two below Doing it for the culture.

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Trevi Fountain gave me heavy nostalgic vibes and I couldn’t contain my attitude of gratitude. In the 12 year gap since my first visit so much has taken in place in my life. Despite everything that I have been through, I knew right there and then in that moment, I was exactly where I needed to be.

So for that reason Trevi fountain will always be a special place to me. If you ever get a chance to check it out, go early in the morning to avoid hundreds of people trying to snap a bomb ass Celfie. Just so you know it is free to visit at any time and the surrounding area have some great shops where you can purchase some authentic Italian goods.

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This is what we served up on our second night in the city. Be sure to stay tuned and look out for #JennasWorldView’s Travel glam look book.

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As we were running on limited time we had to keep the ball rolling to ensure we did all of the things, that we set out to do. Setting out early on a Sunday, we purchased a travel ticket (7 euros only) and headed straight to Vatican City. The day was beautiful and as the sun shone you could feel the peace of a Sunday morning, lingering through the streets.

I ran into some of the Gal-dem on the square and had time to pose for a quick pic. Check out my girls serving major looks, I couldn’t keep up lol.

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We had to choose between visitingSistine chapeland hearing the pope speak. It really was a no brainer, so with only 5 minutes left to get in we rushed to queue up. The pope was scheduled to recite the Angelus prayerat 12pm overlooking the beaming crowd of visitors and this moment couldn’t miss us. Once granted access, we sprinted out into the square, eager to get an unobstructed view. When I finally heard the voice of the pope, I lifted my head in total amazement. The uproar of the crowd echoed in my ears and all I could do was saturate myself in the atmosphere to fully take it all in.

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The WOW factor didn’t stop there, as soon as we stepped foot into St Peters Basilica church it was safe to say that our edges got snatched, AGAIN. Being one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site, it was nothing short of amazing. I can only commend the creativity of the genius’s behind the masterpieces that stood before our eyes. I was truly blown away and my excitement nearly got me kicked out, because I was going to extreme lengths to take pictures.

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Be sure to follow us on our official Instagram page @JennasWorldView to check out rest of the pics. Follow us, like, comment and share.

Vatican city was better than we expected and it was FREE so what better way to celebrate then to break out into praise and worship, African style.

Look out for the cameo appearance at 41 seconds 🙂

We gave the Colosseum another spin, after Vatican City. This time around though it was a success that only cost us 12 euros for entry without a tour guide. We used the internet and had our own history lesson, thank God for Wikipedia lol. I even snapped a decent panoramic picture using my iPhone 7Plus

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The transition from our day to night looks was everything and more. Take a quick peak at our evening wear from the penultimate evening of our trip.

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We finally used the spa facilities on the day before we went home and yes we payed extra for it *sigh*. My spirit was sensitively receptive to the calm energy in the spa. There was a sense of peace that was so undeniably soothing. It is a really bad habit of mine but I always book hotels with spa facilities. I am such a sucker for luxury and these types of hotels are far from cheap lol. I truly wish that we could have spent more time at the spa but time was of the essence.

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We didn’t plan to shop in Rome we just accidentally ended up shopping, lol. If you ever plan to shop on holiday, you have to ensure that your coins are right. If you’re a sucker for a good bargain like me, you will never let a good deal pass you buy. We grabbed some exclusive pieces and of course some good ole key rings for family and friends. Ask yourself this, if you don’t buy key rings or fridge magnets on holiday did you really go on holiday? lol

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Our trip was drawing to a close when it suddenly hit us that we haven’t even tried any authentic Italian dishes.  In saying that Tiff and I mutually agreed it would be outrageous to come all the way to Rome and not taste a real Italian Lasagne.

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Please believe I asked for garlic bread to accompany our Lasagne and the waitress at Caffe Pasticceria U. Giuliani looked at us as if we were crazy, LOL. I don’t exactly know where the garlic bread combination came from, but the Italians don’t get down like that.

I thoroughly enjoyed it but did feel like it needed a touch of scotch bonnet pepper. I guess you just can’t take the Caribbean out of me lol. I do now have an even higher level of respect for the way other cultures prepare their food. I guess we can learn how to do something, but no one can slay it like the people it originated from.

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Our love for Italian food didn’t stop there because we were on a quest to fine dine. With our heels on, elaborate dresses and no dinner reservation we made our way to the exquisiteHosteria La Stazione.

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We were welcomed into the restaurant with a smile by the owner who offered to give us full access to dine privately. With no negations or prior words exchanged he gifted us with an act of kindness at no extra cost. Inside the décor was chic, moderately lighted, with bottles of vintage wines placed perfectly in the surrounding cabinets. It looked like a romantic scene in a movie, but in the reality there was not one Bae in sight, just the lovely Tiff and I. Our food was definitely 10 out of 10, from the starter’s right back down to the serving of our drinks.

Gelateria La Romana, was an unexpected gem that we randomly came across thanks to the help of  google maps on our first night. It is a fresh ice cream and dessert place that will have regular dessert places back home in London looking like a Novice. I have never encountered such sweet flavors in all my days and by this point our edges were holding on by mere strands.

You other ice cream and dessert places whats good?

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The Last Lap

#Travel Tip: On the last night of your trip, it is your duty to go out with a bang. You must put on your  best and bring forth your SLAY.

Here at #JennasWorldView  we call that closing the show: the Last Lap.

For our last night in Rome we spent our evening at the popular European hotel chain the NH Collection Roma. The dining experience was 100% but our outfits were the most important element of the night.

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The lead up to our final dinner required efficient team work and of course strategic preparation. Everything was done according to precision, right down to the amount of highlight we applied to ensure that our faces stayed popping.

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It was a long gown affair because we aimed to showcase elegance, class & sophistication. Red was our theme colour as it is bold and it spoke on our behalf without needing any introductions. Of course to seal the night we did what we do best and thats take some bomb ass pictures, lol.

Please believe that we hijacked the piano bar at our hotel and conducted a mini photo shoot courtesy of the hotel staff. Not to mention the live performance with the pianist to accompany our live show.

and tonight Ladies & gentleman Jenna & Tiff will close the show. Lights, camera, action!

Our trip to Rome ended on a high, we laughed, we smiled, we explored and we came through with the SLAY. We managed to do so many things in Rome without spending lots of money.

This trip has set the tone for my travel trips that are yet to come in 2018.  I am more than ready to embark on my next travel adventures and of course I look forward to sharing them with you here are @JennasWorldView.

Who knows I might get a chance to return to Rome in the near future. You know what they say, the third time is always a charm.

Thank you ever so much for reading my FIRST ever blog post, I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Please follow @JennasWorldView, comment, like & share.

Lots of Love

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Jenna

xoxo