In 2016 we sent Gunnarollla on a mission – to eat, laugh and explore his way through the Med on his own.
The Mediterranean is iconic, and although he had high expectations, I don’t think we, nor he expected that he would make such lasting memories and capture it in such a wanderlust-inducing way.
We drooled over his videos and Instagram feed, and asked him to fill us in on his amazing trip. Here are the highlights from Gunnarolla’s trip to Italy, France, Monaco and Spain:
What was your Med Highlights group like?
We were a diverse group of extroverts, introverts, and everyone in-between. There were first-time travellers and some who had more experience.
We had the expected Aussies & Brits, but also a lot of Americans and Canadians (!) so there was something to learn from everyone. It’s also worth noting that everyone on this trip was really good-looking.
Checking out everyone’s profiles on the Meetup app before the trip started, I actually wondered if I was being catfished! This was definitely a group of part-time models.
What was your favourite city and why?
I loved Madrid.
It was an international city without being overwhelming. A city that was walkable and had great public transit. A city that had incredible weather, arts & culture, access to nature, amazing food, and beautiful people. It felt like a city that I could live in.
What was the best day of the trip?
I’ll always remember our visit to Vernazza, Cinque Terre – and not just because of the breathtaking views.
It actually rained that day (atypical for that time of year, but definitely expected if Gunnarolla is on your trip) which caused some havoc for the trains. It wasn’t until our third try that we were able to get there! But all that downtime allowed us to have some deep conversations and really connect with each other.
It just goes to show that you can’t always plan every single moment of a trip, and I have to hand it to our Tour Manager Jimmy, because he stayed positive throughout the entire ordeal and didn’t let it ruin our day.
Travel is all about seeing how you cope with the unexpected. I learned so much that day.
What surprised you most about this trip?
I wasn’t expecting to make close friends – in fact, I wondered if I would make friends at all, because this was my first time travelling on a Contiki completely solo! But as much as the Mediterranean Highlights is a great tour for visiting some iconic sites (like Vatican City or the Leaning Tower of Pisa), it’s also a great trip to make friends.
There’s a considerable amount of free time, and an abundance of great restaurants and cafes, which are perfect for socializing. Connecting with people is one of my favourite parts about travel, and I’m so happy that I was able to make an awesome group of friends.
What equipment did you use to film your experience?
I shoot primarily on a Sony A7s ii and Sony RX-100 iv and I edit with Adobe Premiere Pro. I produced all the music for this video series in Ableton Live.
If you had to describe your trip in 3 words, what would they be?
Stunning, iconic, calamari!
What’s your favourite video from this trip?
This video series is different from my previous ones with Contiki – there’s less literal storytelling, and more of a focus on capturing and conveying images and vibes. One of my viewers described it as “a moving Instagram photo” and I’d have to agree – the Mediterranean is a very picturesque place so I let the image and music (based on new tracks that I composed specifically for this series) do the work.
That being said, I’m really proud of the trailer for this series. I wanted it to be kind of dreamy, which I was able to achieve with the images, my voiceover script, and a special remix of my song “Magic”. It’s a snapshot of the two weeks in two minutes that I think evokes a feeling of nostalgia and wanderlust. It’s just something a little different than what I usually do, and I think it perfectly matched the tone of the trip.
You can stream and download the soundtrack on my album ‘Wanderlust’, available on iTunes and all other major digital music services.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to take this trip in 2017?
Start with Italy and end with Spain – Rome is bustling and full of bucket list destinations (like the Trevi Fountain and Coliseum) so it’s best to get those out of the way at the start, while Madrid is chill and laid back, and the perfect end to the trip.
The food will only get better as you go along. Pizza, pasta, risotto, gelato, sangria, crepes, paella, churros, calamari, and more!
Keep an open mind and an open heart! You might go into the experience with a whole list of things to see and do and buy, but I guarantee that the best souvenir (if you let it) will be the friendships that you make. So make an effort to get to know people, because you’ll be stuck with them for a while.
Travel is an experience best shared!
Watch all of Gunnarolla’s Mediterranean Highlights series here: