Today was my first day traveling alone. No guidebook, no language, no loving friends to take me in. I left my parents in Lanusei and caught a bus to Sassari, on the other side of the Sardinia. I took photos of them out the window of the bus and felt like I was leaving to go to college again.

It’s a good practice run for Southeast Asia. It took five hours to drive just 160km on the twisty mountain roads. The sheep took a mild interest in the efforts of the bus, but the goats had seen it all before. At Sassari, there were several contradictory timetables for tomorrow’s airport bus and instead of a ticket booth, a smudged list of bars where you could buy tickets. I sweated as I dragged my suitcase uphill over cobblestones. Italian men shouted encouragement, asked me the time, and guessed my nationality (French or Dutch, mostly). I caved immediately and checked myself into a fancy hotel, where I now sit intrepidly watching Fashion TV, flicking occasionally to a dubbed version of Manhattan. Woody Allen sounds butch in Italian. Wish I did.

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