Travelers enjoying their Danube River cruise
Professor JoAnn DellaNeva works as the Academic Director for the London Global Gateway and currently lives onsite in London. She recently returned from hosting the Gems of Danube trip exploring the Danube River region, and in October 2019, she will resume her host role once more for the Normandy trip commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. In the midst of her busy travels, she took some time to share a little more about her experience.
By the end of this year, you will have hosted two Travelin’ Irish trips. What made you decide to get involved?
I’ve always loved traveling and I lived in England and France at various times in my life. I also spent a good deal of time in Italy as a tourist. As someone who has taught French and Italian literature, I very much wanted to share my enthusiasm for those cultures, and I hoped that my language facility could be of help to some alumni on occasion. Since I started hosting, I’ve branched out to other countries that I'm not so familiar with (such as the Danube trip) and where I don't know the language, but this has been interesting because it helps me to remember how foreign some places might seem to our first-time travelers. So, where I can, I love sharing some expertise that I might have, but there is always a thrill to visiting new places.
You just got back from hosting the “Gems of Danube” trip. What were some of the highlights?
I’d say the Mozart and Strauss concert in Vienna was a definite highlight. So was arriving in Budapest, where our boat was one of the few given permission to dock directly across from the Parliament building. Seeing that building lit up at night was magical. But it's hard to choose just one or two highlights!
What do you consider your primary responsibility as a host to be?
I hope that I can help foster a feeling of camaraderie among the ND alumni, who are most often traveling with other university alumni associations. I also hope that our travelers will see me as an advocate for them if there's something that needs attention, although that rarely happens.
In October you’ll be hosting the “Normandy - 75th Anniversary of D-Day” trip. What are your expectations for that trip?
Although I've been to France multiple times and to parts of Normandy as well, this will be the first time I'm visiting the Normandy beaches. I expect I will be learning quite a lot about the incredible stories experienced by those who planned and fought in those battles. I'm also eager to revisit Mont-Saint-Michel, and I'm excited to see the Bayeux tapestry for the first time.
You’ve done a fair amount of traveling and living abroad. What’s one place you haven’t been to that you’d like to visit?
There's a lot of world out there that I don't know! I'd say probably the Holy Land is tops on my list of places I'd like to visit one day.
What advice would you offer to first time travelers with ND Alumni Travel?
Try to learn as much as you can in advance about the regions you will be visiting—read guide books, travel memoirs, and even fiction set in the locations you will be visiting, or look at videos or films set there if possible. Then you'll know exactly what to look for when you see these sites in person, and the experience will be all the more rewarding.