It was nice to sit on a bench at 1,300 feet above sea level—reminding myself why I came to the Hermitage in Big Sur in the first place

For one week leading into the darkest day of the year, I lived in rapturous silence amid the Benedictine Monks at the New Camaldoli Hermitage on a steep cliffside of the Lucia Mountains, Big Sur. No phone, no internet, no socializing — no problem.

Although I have not practiced the…


Serenity and inner solace — one step, one breath at a time

The Weekend Wind-Down is a series from The Bold Italic highlighting ways to explore the Bay Area and wind down from your stressful week. If you have an idea or tip, email us, or DM us on Twitter or Instagram.

If you have ever wondered what is the sound of…


Where dancing feet meet a San Francisco beat at American Bites

This article is part of My Favorite Corner of SF, a feature series that pays homage to a special place in the city.

How many lamentations have I shared with friends about how North Beach just isn’t the Italo-Bohemian hotspot it used to be. No question, tourism, and socio-economic factors…

Zen-practicing neuroscientist discusses the flow and center of no-self, common to skills like tango and surfing.

There is no dearth of evidence, scientific and anecdotal, about physical activities’ health effects on body and mind. The euphoria-inducing dopamine release, the elevated endorphins, and the chemical cocktail that changes brain waves inducing the physiological glow and flow, have been much discussed.

Odd as it sounded, surfing friends have…

Black bears, unless you come between a mother and her cub — or have an aromatic dark roast in hand—don’t want to harm us

For many years, every summer, my brother Chuck and I would backpack over the High Sierra for up to a week. Strong blood ties aside, we possessed diametrically opposed politics, lifestyles, and to some extent, ideas on backcountry etiquette.

Yet wilderness survival is a sort of bonding ritual, even for…

Bicycling is one of the best ways to tour and savor Italy’s rustic countryside with its native flavors.

It was October when I was with a lively group, cycling the lush hills of Umbria, Italy’s “green heart.” I was on a bike tour with its heart as well as its sensibility in the right place. By day we cycled leisurely or as hard as we liked. By evening…

“The Chihuly-like bouquets of coral might have been sculpted by an underwater glass-blower. They are under tons of lava now.”

The Big Island, the largest and southeasternmost of the Hawaiian isles, is still birthing from its watery womb. It rises and falls in fiery fits and starts as the Pacific Plate tectonically shapes and shifts the entire chain. …

Kristin Newman is a woman after my heart. In her memoir, What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, she takes the globe by the balls. Literally.

It warms the cockles & valves of my heart to see a woman who takes the world by the balls. Who doesn’t sit around waiting for Mr. Right, but gets out, trots the globe, and understands that cultural immersion has many meanings and applications. In her 2014 memoir, Kristin Newman…

Camille Cusumano

Author(ity) in/on San Francisco. Novel, essay, memoir. Teaches tango. Travel, outdoors, culture. Former editor at VIA Mag.

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