Adventure Sharing!

One of the things that motivates me most in this life of sin is the fact that traveling is a thing. Like…actually going out of your comfort zone, plunging into a world of languages that you will likely be foreign to, and learning about the different walks of life that are happening simultaneously with our every day routines blows my mind in the best way.

So I have set a goal for myself! Ever since I lived in London for 2 months, I knew that I wanted to get far, far away from the beautiful yet somewhat daunting lifestyle of being an actor in New York City (typical, I KNOW) and explore new lands outside of the U.S.A at least 2 times a year! So far, I have kept up my promise and am excited to plan the next adventure!

What I realized, though, is that I have not been writing down and sharing with the world the wonderful experiences I am having and little tips and tricks I learned along the way. I would like to change that! So here goes nothin’:

Part 1 CAPRI

I made my first trip of the year this past May when I finally made it over to Italy. Sweet, sweet Italy. Land of unlimited pasta, gelato, and pizza. (This is not an understatement these are basically the only menu options and I was pretty happy about it.) I met up with my friend Nikki (whom I love dearly) over at the airport in Rome. She flew in from California and I from NYC. Seeing her was strangely calming; I was expecting to jump on her with glee and freak out, but we saw each other and just warmly embraced and began our journey. It was like a really great calm before a beautiful fuckin’ storm.

After traveling 8 hours on the plane (uh…many more hours for her coming from Cali) we promptly hopped on 2 trains, a ferry, and a very small, pretty terrifying bus to the island of Capri. Here is where our journey begins.

We stayed in Anacapri at an airbnb that was absolutely beautiful with a very sweet, very adorable older couple who spoke little to no English. Thankfully, Nikki studied Italian in school and was able to translate and speak to our hosts pretty darn well! While we were in Capri (we were there for about 3 days), here is some of what we got to do:

-Swim into the Blue Grotto

-Hike down to the natural arcs and sit on the small cliffs next to Fontelina beach

-Visit the gardens of Augustus

-Take the chair lift up to Monte Solaro

-Visit the lighthouse and have wine and pizza at sunset

-Met an insane man named Antonino (Who is basically like the mayor of Capri)

-Walk through a thunderstorm and duck into a seemingly small cafe only to find that it was a huge, magnificent garden covered by a massive bamboo umbrella. Here we had an amazing dinner, got free dessert, free drinks, and even a ride home! haha

These are just a few highlights from the trip to Capri. It was the perfect amount of time to spend there, as it is an island.

Some tips/things we learned:

-Most of the things to do in Capri can be free! Not everyone gets to swim into the Blue Grotto, but that is only because it is very tucked away and it states that swimming is “Stricktly” (the signs spelling, not mine) prohibited. And, to be fair, the actual look of the grotto is pretty intimidating. There is just a small deck next to it that doesn’t allow you to see into the cave itself. Once you jump in the water and swim over a bit, you can see that there is a chain that you can hold onto that will guide you into the grotto (which looks pitch black but once you get inside it is glowing ELECTRIC blue!) Luckily, we met some locals who convinced us to go swim into it when we didn’t even know it was an option and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip! The only thing on the list above that actually cost money was taking the chairlift up the mountain, and that was pretty cheap. And of course, we bought our own wine and pizza which in total was about 8-10 euro!

-Capri is not really a party place! Thinking it would mostly be on “island time”, the actual town of Capri was very, very quiet at night. There were about 3 major nightclubs, 2 of which were closed and 1 which had no one in it! To be fair, we were there on a Thursday night at the end of May. And after midnight more people began to roam the streets. Perhaps there is more that happens that we weren’t able to come upon!

-Always be open to meeting new people and making conversation! They will have great tips and advice on where to eat, what to see, and things to do that are free of charge.

-We stayed in Anacapri and that was something we were worried about at first thinking it would be far from everything, but quickly learned that it was a brilliant idea! It is a maze-like town that has very friendly, warm people and is actually a lot closer to Capri’s main attractions such as the Blue Grotto and Monte Solaro. Also, it is a lot cheaper and has many corner stores and shops that sell a delicious variety of pizzas for about 2-3 euro and massive bottles of water for .70 euro!

-If you like hiking, there is plenty to explore and see here! I think it’s a great option to start off with on a trip to Italy because you only need a few days there, it’s actually fairly affordable if you are using airbnb and splitting with a friend (it only cost me about $127 for 3 nights! Not 2 shabby)

-Something that is not a bad idea if you enjoy traveling is to take a credit card out specifically for when you plan on making these sorts of trips. I planned my trip a couple of months in advance and paid for my flight and both airbnbs using my debit card so I wouldn’t have to worry about those things being taken care of. The credit card comes into play when you are actually overseas! I took out some Euro, but mostly used the card to pay for any transportation, meals, and extra little things I wanted. Be aware that they don’t really take Discover card over seas at all. I don’t know if this is fairly common knowledge, but I learned that the hard way in France when I ran out of Euro and couldn’t use my credit card. Give yourself a fair limit that you know you will be able to pay off over a couple of months.

I am really excited to share part 2 of this trip, which was when we ventured back up the coast and went to Rome! I feel like I have so much to share and don’t want to overwhelm, but should you have any questions feel free to reach out! Also, follow me on Instagram to see some sweet pics! @katie_lugo

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Ramblings of a (newly struggling) actor

It’s amazing what one day surrounded by nature can do for you. Whether it’s a forest or a sunshiny meadow or the beach…anything. ANYthing but New York City can make you feel at ease.

Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. Truly, madly, deeply. But this place can really make you question your sanity. I sincerely am grateful to live here for so many reasons, but also appreciate getting away whenever I can.

I have been trying not to get caught up in the fact that I am not currently on stage and performing in a show. I am, however, directing which is very exciting and rewarding, so to still be apart of the theater in some way is very satisfying. But I can’t shake this feeling of worry, this feeling of being held to the highest of standards. Most of the time I can keep it pretty hushed these days, but some days my mind runs wild and I panic over the fact that I am not “where I am supposed to be”, whatever that means.

I recently talked to some friends in the acting world who say that I inspire them and make them want to do their best, and while I really am very touched and excited by that, I always feel like I am somehow letting them down if I am not in the middle of working on a role. I have to rid myself of that idea. I got too used to things coming easily, to booking things quickly and being on the move. I got too comfortable in “success” that when I hit this little lull in my acting career, I started to freak the F out. I think that is only natural, as an artist and as a person, to be honest. But it eats me alive when I allow it too. Even if I have gone on a bunch of auditions, even if I tell myself I am doing super well, even if I inspire people around me and am always on the move, it eats me alive if I am not booking, even if it doesn’t remotely show.

Today I went to Cupsogue Beach in The Hamptons. One day away with my sister and brother-in-law getting tossed around in the waves and soaking up some rays was really cleansing. I took some time to just reflect (corny sounding but true) and I realized that what we feel is failure is an opportunity for growth and for experience. How you react to your perceived failure is what will make or break you. The other day I spoke to my friend who is also an actor and she said something that was pretty simple but also profound to me since I have been dealing with these sudden bursts of panic; she said that if you aren’t enjoying the journey, what is the point? Why do we do what we do? If everything came easily, would there be any growth for you as an actor or as a person?

As I lay in the sun earlier today, allowing the beams to heat my smiling face, I felt this so deeply within me. I know that this time in my life, this “lull”, is for experience. It’s for growth. It’s to propel me to the next level so that I can be learning constantly and defying the possibilities of what I thought I was capable of doing. I have time. TIME! I have time where I can travel, where I can learn new things and see new theater, where I can direct and spend time with friends and family. I’m young! How awesome is that?

This was a rant, yes. And maybe you aren’t a struggling artist, but every human struggles with something whether their lives seem perfect or not. They aren’t. And that’s what makes people interesting. Their journey, their triumphs, their low points, their passions and how they pursue them. You are always growing and learning and once you accept “failure” into your life, you can laugh it off and move forward towards your goals without getting too stuck on things.

 

To this point.

What exactly has brought me to this point? What has finally clicked within me, urging me to write again? I have realized how therapeutic and valuable writing actually is to me. It has been there for me through my darkest times, my best and most exciting times, and those in between times where you are kind of just like….”so…today  I got up and did some laundry and ate a Crunch bar. Fin.”

I’m not here to write a novel…yet. (I think eventually I will, but for now I will stick to working on my writing and sharing stories and thoughts here and there.} Then again, I am sure a lot of people are not here to write novels. This is like a safe haven…until I decide to open up and allow people to know the link to this website. Maybe that will be tomorrow. Maybe a month, a year, or never. I really don’t mind either way.

I think a few of the main reasons I have decided to start a blog is because A. I love writing, B.I want to work on my skills, C. I have a lot of creativity that I am not using, and D. my friend Greg Dybec just published his first book called The Art Of Living Other Peoples Lives. Going to Barnes and Noble and seeing his book on the shelf really inspired me and filled me with undeniable happiness but also a tinge of “Hey…you actually can do this too. You know how to write. What gives? GO FOR IT.”

The thing is, when you are a 20-something year old actor trying to make it in this cold, exciting, opportunity-filled city, you kind of lose sight of the other things you are good at. You become consumed, or at least I have, with figuring out that next step and how to get into the next audition room to show them you are right for the part and that you won’t let them down and that your headshot and resume are gold because you got thm done by a well-respected  photographer and that you take lessons with the finest and have the energy to light up a theater every single night and the list goes on and on and on. A lot goes into being an actor. And then suddenly its like BAM I forgot that I love to write and read and paint and play sports and have really become obsessed with this self image that just takes over my thoughts and fills me with anxiety that motivates me but also makes me squirm and move 24/7. Basically in my brain I have been saying IAMANACTORIAMASINGERTHISISALL. But that is definitely not true.

So, I guess this is the long-winded way of me trying to say that I have come here because I have been inspired. I have come here because, especially lately, I have a lot on my mind. I have come here because I think I have great stories to tell, fiction and non-fiction, plays,  and also some songs and poetry up my sleeve. Hey, look at me! I’m goin’ for it.