The Gondola Fantasy That Nearly Broke Us Up

I thought she was too touristy. I was an idiot.

Andy Raskin
5 min readJul 31, 2018
Original photo by John Jason on Unsplash

We’d been dating for nearly a year. Everything was going great, when Emily said, “I have always wanted to ride in a gondola in Venice.”

I winced. “What?”

“It would be romantic,” she said.

Some people refrain from touristy activities because they look down on them. In my case, it’s fear. Fear that people who don’t do clichéd, touristy things will judge me.

“What kind of loser rides the horse-drawn carriages?” they’d whisper in Central Park, so I’ve never ridden one. I’ve never hopped on a cable car in San Francisco, never toured Buckingham Palace during visits to London. I lived in Tokyo for four years and never climbed Mount Fuji.

I tried to forget about Emily’s gondola remark, the way you might try to put out of your mind that your new partner snores, or dislikes uni. Attractive? Certainly not, but can you imagine a world in which it’s not a deal-breaker?


One day, we realized we had enough airline miles to take an overseas trip together.

“How about a street food tour of Southeast Asia?” I proposed.



Andy Raskin

Helping leaders tell strategic stories. Ex @skype @mashery @timeinc