Need some inspiration? Go meet someone you admire

It's not as hard as you may think

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Sharon Ufberg & Elizabeth Minchilli 

I would only be in Rome for 36 hours but I wanted to make this short visit to Italy memorable. Since my last stop in Rome, I started avidly following the food blogger and photographer, Elizabeth Minchilli. An expat from St. Louis, married to an Italian and now a longtime resident of Rome, I was fascinated with her as a woman and accomplished design author who chose to make her living all about food, and not just any food but Italian food, my absolute favorite. Minchilli seems to have chosen a life dedicated to exploring Italian culture through cooking and dining. She shares her recipes and passion with the world through her EAT ITALY mobile app, her blog, books and food tours.

This was a woman I wanted to meet, join for a walk around Rome, be inspired by and get to know better. I have found no one is inaccessible, too important, or too popular to reach. All one has to do is ask, so I did. And Elizabeth, after some initial inquiry, was gracious, welcoming and fun.

Cappuccino art

We spent the morning walking around her neighborhood of Monti. She took me on a local tour she regularly offers and we started in one of her favorite typical Italian cafes for a cappuccino and then proceeded to waltz the neighborhood popping into places of interest to taste something new, try an old favorite or admire a refurbished building. It’s a neighborhood close to the Colosseum and one I had never walked though despite my many travels to Rome. It seems the tourists are just discovering this part of town. Elizabeth knows every nook and cranny of her “hood” and her love for all things Roman is obvious. She openly shares the good, the not so good and the very exceptional changes that makes this part of town so special.

While we walked, tasted and toured, we also got to talk openly about our work, family and life as women entrepreneurs, writers, and world explorers. It is always heartwarming to meet up with someone you know through their public persona, only to be pleasantly surprised to find how much you truly have in common.

I was impressed by Minchilli’s genuine pride in her neighborhood of 30+ years and her enthusiasm to talk about the many changes any neighborhood experiences over that many decades. She focuses on the silver lining amidst the loss of some of her favorite artisans and venues over time.

Jam Crostata

But what most inspired me was her enduring enthusiasm for everything food. A lovely jam crostata sitting on a pastry counter, a basket of fresh tomatoes at the green grocer or a delicately decorated cappuccino would have her whipping out her camera to snap a picture or share a story.

When you need a little motivation, a fresh perspective or some new ideas about your own life’s journey, find an interesting person you admire or follow and go meet them in person!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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