My #FIRST #Vespa Ride

Let’s talk #FIRSTS.

#FIRSTS filled my freshman year of college. My #FIRST time living away from home. My #FIRST time time living with a roommate other than my younger sister. And my #FIRST time having to cook every meal. I chose to do these #FIRSTS halfway across the planet. I was 4719.5 miles between my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana and my new home in #Florence, Italy.

I checked #FIRSTS off from the start. #FIRST trip planned by myself.  #FIRST European trip with friends. Check. #FIRST anchovy. Yes.  #FIRST all nighter. Of course.  At the end of my #FIRST semester, I went home feeling fulfilled and happy with where I was. But, I was about to hit the reset button on my life.

I couldn't continue my studies in Florence for the second semester. Family needed me home. I accomplished so much in so little time. Yet, there was still one thing I did not do in #ITALY: ride a Vespa scooter.

Today, I live in Paris. I study at a fashion design school. I love it.  I spend a lot of time studying the fashion industry in the classroom. This spring break, I decided to visit friends in Florence.  And, get some real life experience. So, I contacted VIAJIYU's founder.

I discovered #VIAJIYU during my short time in Florence.  My goal: Intern there before my four years in #Florence were over.

And, I did. I shadowed and immersed myself in the company for one week.  I visited my #FIRST shoe factories. I learned how to fit clients, and even found my perfect fit.

I am redesigning the #IKEA bags used to transport shoes and materials to the factories. Before returning to Paris, I needed a pretty, solid shoulder strap for the new bags.

So, on my last day at VIAJIYU, I hopped on the back of a Vespa to go to the mercerie to hunt for the bag supplies. I popped on a helmet (don’t worry, Mom) and we were off. The ride was bumpy. Thanks to the cobblestone in historic Florence. Then, we cleared the city walls and the open road was easy ridin'. At #FIRST, I wanted to hold tight onto anything I could.  Then, I realized, I could let go. (Hold that core tight, ladies.) By the time we reached the city walls on the return trip, I was taking scooter selfies.

My #FIRST Vespa ride was exactly how I expected it to be. Rush hour in Paris is stand still traffic. On a Vespa, you're on the move. You can weave in and out of traffic and shorten the trip. If I didn’t live in a city with snow, rain and ice, I'd be looking for a Vespa. A reason to live in #Italy some day: More #scooter rides. Maybe, on my own Vespa. Pastel pink, of course.

Words by Anna McLaughlin, Spring 2017 #VYT
Photos by Sam Andruszkiewicz