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I used to envy people who could answer the question: 'What nationality are you?' in a word. Ask me that question, and it's a whole story.

I was born in Zimbabwe and was raised in a Sephardic Jewish household in Cape Town. I have an Italian passport, even though neither of my parents nor any of my grandparents is Italian, or was born in Italy. My parents speak to each other in Ladino a mediaeval Judaeo-Spanish dialect.

Let me try and clarify: in 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, my Jewish ancestors were expelled from Spain and sought refuge in Turkey, North Africa and on the Islands of Rhodes and Thessaloniki, which were then part of the Ottoman Empire. One of the things they took with them to their new countries was their language, Ladino, which has endured almost five centuries! Both my grandfathers were born on Rhodes, which was an Italian colony at the time hence the Italian passports. How did they land up in Zimbabwe? They came to Africa to seek their fortunes.

When I was asked to write a blurb about myself (my worst nightmare), it got me thinking about my rather colourful and complicated heritage, which is probably what has informed my love of travel and the fascination I have with other languages, cultures and people's personal histories.

Travel is transformative. The sense of freedom and utter joy I feel when Im sipping a cappuccino and reading my book at a pavement caf in a remote Italian village, or wondering around the Tate Modern, or devouring a just-off-the-high-street kebap from a street vendor in Istanbul is revelatory. American writer Miriam Beard puts it so perfectly: 'Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.'


Stories Published:
W Hotel, Istanbul
Luxury cruise off Gcek Marina
Elixir Art Boutique Hotel, Datca
Istanbul, Turkey
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*The contributors' countries listed above, refer to each individual contributor's current country of residence, whereas the flag next to their name denotes their nationality, the country where they were born and raised!