To keep folks entertained while stuck at home this year, Netflix has released a steady stream of reality dating shows that depict romance in various communities: Indian Matchmaking (about Indians and Indian Americans), Love on the Spectrum (about people on the autism spectrum), and now, Deaf U, following the exploits of college students at Gallaudet University, which educates students who are deaf or hard of hearing. “I don’t mind sleeping with you,” one student brutally signs and says to her paramour in the show’s trailer.

The show was executive produced by Nyle DiMarco, a model, actor, and activist whom you might recognize from his winning stints on America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars. Amid lockdown, he’s producing an entire slate of programming about the Deaf community, but a peek at his Instagram page makes it clear he’s really yearning to travel again—particularly to his beloved Italy. In an email conversation with Condé Nast Traveler, he talks about his obsession with the European country, his go-to plane outfit, and more.

The aspect of travel he misses the most:

Meeting Deafies (we say that instead of Deaf people, FYI) from all over. It’s quite fascinating how we immediately connect because of our “universal” Deaf experience despite the distance, [and] cultural and language differences.

His last trip before lockdown:

I spent a few weeks in Puglia, Italy, and then went on to London. I fell in love with Puglia, a region sprinkled with hundred-, if not thousand-year-old olive trees. Each looks like they have lived through it all. Puglia is a constant, gorgeous stretch of old buildings. They feel somewhat desolate, but once you enter them, they’re absolutely upbeat and lively as if the dry-stone walls could tell some great stories. And of course, pristine beaches like what you might expect to see in the Maldives. I then went to London to visit a friend of mine, Lauren Ridloff, who was shooting The Eternals as Marvel’s first Deaf superhero. Did you know the sign for “London” in sign language is the same as “crazy/loud?” It’s reflective of the always bustling city and is one of my favorite places to visit.

On his favorite way to get around:

I’m juggling between cars and trains for a preferred mode of transportation. There is absolutely nothing that beats the idyllic and seemingly painted landscape of a place like the Alps. Taking the train is perfect for a trip like that. One tunnel to another, each its own picturesque panorama, just soaking that all in can be a sort of existential experience. However, you cannot beat traveling by car if you’re up for spontaneous detours and roads less traveled. Taking a random path or new route can immediately open up a world of secret spots, authentic cultural experiences, pristine beaches, and untouched land that no Lonely Planet forum will ever tell you about.

The contents of his carry-on bag:

I always carry a couple of back-up clothes, just in case my bag gets lost. It’s good to be prepared for anything. I’ll also pack two apples and protein bars for a snack—you can’t always count on airplane food. A portable charger is a must-have, and a toiletry bag, and I typically bring a book and my iPad with downloaded TV shows. Oh, and currently a face mask and bandana—those are essentials right now.

How he spends his flying time:

Most times TV and movies on planes lack captions (tsk, tsk, airlines), so I typically watch downloaded shows and movies on Netflix via my iPad. I will watch anything that the world is raving about so I can have an opinion and join in conversations about it.