So What's This Site All About?

About The Geographical Cure

The Geographical Cure is a mix of curated content showcasing my love of cultural and historical travel. It began as a response to the passion sapping nature of 21st century life — distractions, children, jobs, stress — all of which can result in a murky cocktail of exhaustion and indifference.

Extricating oneself from a rut is rarely easily done, when complacency and trepidation mix together like dual ingredients in gunky glue. But life is frighteningly short. I needed a felicitous way to do battle against oblivion.

The lure of travel was an antidote. Travel appealed to my hardwired sense of adventure. It provided an opportunity to forge a stronger spirit, a chance for cultural escapism, and psychological euphoria.

Many denounce “the geographical cure” as a fantasy. I find that a temporary vacation is absolutely regenerative and has a blissful effect on the soul. Having a vacation on the horizon also provides a delightful frisson of excitement and is a tincture against thorny daily issues.

I created this space to share my passion for travel and culture and to provide a continuing stream of wanderlust inspiration for those, like me, who might need to reframe or recalibrate their spirit or who, in their next act, simple yearn to know and experience more.

me with a statue of Antoni Gaudi in Spain

About Me

I’m Leslie Livingston. I have a degree in government and art history from Dartmouth and a law degree from Northwestern. I’ve spent decades studying and admiring art and have a special fondness for Greco-Roman, Renaissance and early Modernist artworks. I’ve lived in London and Florence and go to Europe for geographical cures at least four times a year. 

My first incarnation was as a corporate lawyer at Morrison & Forester in Washington DC. After combining law and motherhood for some time, not always to good effect, I had a more than nagging sense that I needed a change. I quit my job and made a beeline back to the pool.

My next life chapter as a masters swimmer began. With my usual fervor and obsessive nature, I launched the most popular blog on the United States Masters Swimming website, and transformed myself into a masters world record holder
Then, disaster struck. I was diagnosed with blood clots and a rare condition caused by swimming —bilateral venous thoracic outlet syndrome — and the (mostly unsuccessful) surgeries commenced.

You can be devastated when something unexpected and stressful happens in life. On the other hand, if after a spasm of self pity, you redirect your energy and challenge yourself with something new, you became a stronger person because of it. For me, though I still swim, my enslavement in the natatorium has ended.

People are more than one thing in life; I am also a passionate traveler and amateur art historian. And so, while waiting for my old self to re-materialize, tip toeing the balance between life and loss, I turned to travel. As it always has done, travel provided the requisite boost to the psychic bin.

Now, resilience intact and fairly well restored, I plan and embark on travel and cultural adventures whenever I can. To date, I’ve been to 45 countries and counting. As the saying goes, I travel not just to escape the daily grind of life, but for life not to escape me.

I’m a real Europhile. It’s my favorite place to travel. I have a special focus on Italy and adore Paris, London, and all the secret hidden gems scattered throughout Europe.

I prefer to travel independently by foot or by car on my geographical cures. I adore road trips and crafting the perfect itinerary.

I am also a culture vulture who flourishes on a steady diet of beauty, history, culture, art, and food — and I’m on a quest to consume as much as possible. I especially like quirky offbeat historical destinations, not just the typical tourist sites. 

I only write about places I’ve chosen to travel to and things I’ve seen personally. Which is quite a lot, after many decades. I do all the writing on my blog myself. I don’t accept sponsored links, don’t do link swaps, don’t accept guest posts, and don’t do any sponsored trips or press trips. I don’t recommend any products either. What you get is my personal opinion and the best and most useful description I can give you of the places I’ve been. 

About My Next Trip

In the next 10 months, I have trips planned to England, Austria, Rome (Christmas season!), France, and Ireland. 


Contact Me:

33 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Leslie,

    I stumbled here looking for Louise Bourgeois…ha!…and found something that totally made my day. Your writing is really great. I enjoy how you craft your stories about your travel experiences. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  2. Great site & thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring & motivational!

    Loved your quote, “I travel not just to escape the daily grind of life, but for life not to escape me.”

  3. I too find travel necessary to re-set myself and add interest to they sometimes daily grind of “real” life. I find your site to be exceedingly inspiring and informative. I am headed off to my 17th visit to Italy tomorrow and look forward to checking out some of your off the beaten path suggestions. I will be back here frequently to spend time lost in your stories.

    • Thank you too much Rosan! Where are you off to in Italy? I am heading back for a long visit in May and am very excited. You can never get enough of Italy.

  4. Hi Leslie: Yours is one of the best travel blogs I’ve discovered. We are going to Portugal this November. I booked an airbnb in the Graca neighborhood and then coincidentally noticed the great comments you made about this neighborhood! Would you recommend staying there, because I also noted that you said to avoid Tram 28, which seems to be one of the major ways to get around. Thanks for your advice!

    • Thanks Michele! It’s a fine place to stay. I would take the tram, as it seems like the main way to get to Graca. Just, in general, I prefer to walk. Just be alert for pickpockets, as you would be on public transportation in any big city. Have fun!

  5. Hello Leslie. I am such a fan of your site! I’ve planned 4 trips to Italy with a focus on “undiscovered” towns and cities and those trips with my husband were wonderful. Sadly he has died and I am working to turn melancholy into adventure. I am dreaming of a trip to Italy on my own but am quite nervous about taking the leap. Your site inspires me. Perhaps I will cross my fingers and begin to plan. Do you travel alone? Thank you so much for your site. And may you travel safely and happily for years to come.

    • Hi Kathleen. So sorry to hear about your husband. I travel all the time on my own. Europe is pretty easy for solo travel. But being a tad nervous is normal. You can drive. Or just travel by train, which is very efficient in Italy between cities and large towns. Most people speak English in Italy, except maybe in a small out of the way town. You can also take a tour, but I would be picky if you went that option. If you travel solo, you can do exactly what you want and not be on anyone else’s eat/sleep schedule.

  6. What a wonderful discovery I have made in your website/blog. I stumbled upon it doing research for my scrapbook on Monastario de Jeronimos in Belem, Portugal. Now, I want to read more, and get excited about travel again, with the pandemic mostly behind us, I hope. I have traveled my who life, but mostly with my mom on tours, so solo travel on your own is a foreign thing, but sounds awesome. Keep writing, keep sharing, you are inspiring!

  7. Time zone of transcending array of hope and light that ever blossoms red roses and liiy that transforms barriers and situations to positivity.all in all the arc the light.

  8. Thanks for your various articles. I have Irish and Italian blood, as well as Apache and Comanche, and I love to travel when I can. I have been married 55 years, and my wife has had 2 hip replacements and then 5 years ago, it was discovered she has congenital heart failure, so our traveling days of any distance is over. I really enjoyed your article on Civita-di-Bagnoregio as this is the type of place I really enjoy to visit. In the meantime, my wife and I are located in a gated Village that is quite rural with lots of hills, trees, lakes, and solitude.

  9. I came across your article on the Palio di Siena (I’ve been many times) while looking for something good to send to friends who are considering going. Your post on the race was one of the very best I’ve seen. Excellent! Thanks. Glad to have found you.

  10. Leslie: I stumbled upon The Geographical Cure today, while searching for background information on Nuremberg Germany. Your in-depth information about places in Europe is outstanding, as is you wonderful gift of the English language. We will be referring our visitors at Cosguide4travel.Com to your website. My wife and I take 3-month long DIY travel trips to different parts of the globe each year. We agree that travel is a wonderful cure for getting away from the daily extremist political views and hatred in the US that are the basis of most cable news and social media.

  11. Hi Leslie,
    I just discovered your blog searching my upcoming trip to Florence. Absolutely the most amazing art blog for Europe, especially Italy I’ve ever seen. I’ve travelled throughout Europe for years but you’ve opened my eyes and inspired me to see even more. Florence is my favorite city of course as the seat of the Renaissance with the richest treasures of art and the flowering of Humanism setting the stage for our modern times. I’ve been looking for a source of information you’re providing so I can spend the remaining years of my recent retirement exploring the finest art in Europe. You make it so accessible saving me so much time researching. I can’t thank you enough! Are you familiar with Richard Peterson’s ‘Looking at Painting in Florence 13th – 16th Centuries’? Fantastic resource for understanding and looking at Florence’s greatest paintings.
    You’re providing the best inspiration and resource for art lovers!
    Courtland Benson

    • Thank you so much Courtland!! I love Florence as well. I will put Peterson’s book on my to do list. Thanks for the recommendation.

  12. Hi Leslie, beautiful blog!
    Have you ever been to Abruzzo – Italy?
    Looking forward to read your next adventure.

    Ciao 🙂
    Anna from Pescara

  13. Hi Leslie,

    I came across your AMAZING website/writing and I’m beyond inspired.

    I’ve now made the decision to take a 1-month sabbatical next summer with my wife and 3 kids (7, 5, 3 years old) to the Basque region as that is where my origins are from!

    Given we have three little kids, we don’t want to move our lodging frequently as it’ll no longer feel like a ‘sabbatical’… so we’re thinking to only have 2 or max 3 home bases; such as San Sebastián for 14 days, Bilbao 10 days and maybe 6 days somewhere else (perhaps Oviedo)… and from all those areas, make the occaionsal day trips to the smaller towns/villages so we can experience my families origins 🙂

    I’d love your advice on what your 2 (max 3) home bases would be for a 30 day trip to this area. THANKS SOOOOO MUCH!!

    • Thank you Christian! It depends how much you like cities, tourists, beaches, and whether you’ll have a car. I really liked Bilbao, but I hated driving in and around the city. San Sebastian is pretty touristy. The streets were mobbed when I was last there in the summer. I love Oviedo, perfect small city to base yourself in and not as crowded. I also really liked Vitoria-Gasteiz.

  14. Many thanks Leslie for your wonderful guidance. We came across your website a little ways into our five-week trip around Italy and it has greatly enriched our experience. We consistently found your suggestions to be very helpful and especially appreciated your guidance through the oh so many amazing art museums. Had it not been for your review we might have missed Pinoteca Brera in Milan, which in our experience fully deserves your rave review. Best wishes and happy travels, Charles and Heather

  15. Hi. I stumbled back into your site many times researching this and that, and I’ve found your pieces to be well-researched, well-written, and very enjoyable. I hope that you’ll keep it up.

  16. Just found your blog and already in love with the format and your recommendations! Stoked to find this as we are planning a trip to Pittsburgh. Cheers, Marissa


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