“Wordslut” Author Amanda Montell Is Spending a Month in Italy. Here’s Why.

The author of “Wordslut” and “Cultish” recognizes the healing power of long, slow, solo travel.

Author and podcast host Amanda Montell with ice cream cone in Italy

“I’ve been planning this lengthy sojourn for over a year,” says Montell.

Courtesy of Amanda Montell

Revenge travel is out (in fact, it never really felt “in” to us). Instead, this year we’re all about reconnection travel, which is proving to be the top reason for travel postpandemic. After a tough few years, people are going out into the world again with real excitement—and purpose. So we interviewed 11 globe-trotting celebrities to find out what “reconnection” means to them, whether that’s hitting the road solo, feasting through Italy, gallivanting with old friends, paying tribute to loved ones who’ve passed, or making an all-important visit to mom.

Below, linguist Amanda Montell, host of the podcast Sounds Like a Cult and author of Cultish and Wordslut, talks about her next travel plans in Italy.

What place is calling you back?

Funny you should ask, I just arrived last night for a month-long stay in a place that’d been calling me back for a long time—the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. I spent a month in San Marino, a tiny micro state on Italy’s east coast, five years ago as I was finishing up my first book, and I had also just been through a pretty earth-shattering breakup; pardon the cliché, but that trip truly changed and set the tone for the rest of my life! A soft corner of my heart has been reserved for this region of Italy ever since. I’m also in a bit of a transition now—finishing up my third book and deciding what I want to do next. So I decided to come to Bologna to rest, recharge, and reset. And eat! I learned the Italian language as a teenager and feel like the sun-shiniest version of myself when I’m speaking it, so I feel extremely lucky to be here for this precious stretch of time.

What place feels like home, even if it’s not where you’re from?

Author and podcast host Amanda Montell eating dinner and holding a glass of wine

Amanda Montell has a soft spot for Italy, especially the Emilia-Romagna region.

Courtesy of Harper Wave

My parents moved to Santa Barbara, California, when I was 21. I grew up in Baltimore, a very different vibe to say the least, and I was worried when they moved away from my childhood home that the sun-bleached, California shaka lifestyle would never feel cozy or familial to me. I underestimated how quickly a place as gorgeous as Santa Barbara can start to feel like home. Sometimes it reminds me of Italy, actually! They call it the California Riviera. I definitely don’t feel like I’m “from” Santa Barbara (I’d probably have a much chiller disposition if so, ha), but kicking back at my parents’ place there kind of feels like an ideal blend of both home and vacation.

Are you planning trips to reconnect? If so, how?

I am actually going to be here in Europe for the next three months! After I finish up my solo travels in Bologna, I’ll be hosting a couple of creative retreats in Rome, Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast, where two different groups of adventurous readers will join me to travel and write for a week each! After that, my partner, best friend, her husband, and some other loved ones will come to town and we’ll go to Sicily, then Barcelona, then the south of France, and after everyone departs, I’ll spend another month in Paris. Rough life, I know! I’ve been planning this lengthy sojourn for over a year and can’t believe it’s already happening. After five years of pure professional grinding—writing and publishing books so quickly I wasn’t able to stop, breathe, or appreciate any of it—I feel so grateful to be able to escape from the frenetic chaos of my life in L.A. and reconnect with myself here.

Amanda Montell, linguist, podcast host, and author of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism (Harper Wave, 2021) and Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language (Harper Wave, 2019)

Kaitlin Menza is a Taipei-based writer who covers lifestyle, politics, pop culture, and social issues. You can find her work at kaitlinmenza.com.
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