Once upon a time, in another life, I was a bit hotshot New York type. I had lots of friends, crazy family, a high paying job, worked hard all week, had fun all weekend, loved to shop and eat at fancy restaurants. It was everything you see on TV and more. But it didn’t make me happy. I mean shopping at the Short Hills Mall did make me happy, but it was more of a band-aid fix type of happy. I loved my job, but I wasn’t giving anything back to the world. Occasionally I would help on some charity events but they felt more like big parties than actually helping.
Then one day, I made the decision. I was going to move to Italy. I did not speak Italian. I only had a few relatives there that I hadn’t seen since I was about 4 years old. I had no job offers, no place to live, nothing concrete. Did not matter. I was going to move to Italy.
It took about 6 months to prepare everything. I had to sell all my stuff. I had to arrange flights. My best friend and I decided to have some fun bouncing around Europe for a month or so first. I think we spent more time choosing our luggage then planning anything else out. We decided after several hours studying in Barnes and Noble that we were going to Plan Not To Plan. We would end up wherever we ended up and do whatever we ended up doing. And it would be amazing.
The cheapest flight we could find was in Paris. It was a perfect starting spot. Or so we thought. We did not think about the fact that we didn’t actually speak French and finding people who spoke English would be a challenge. Or the fact that when you tried to find people to help you, they wouldn’t exactly want to help you. This wasn’t Thailand after all. Things got better in Spain since I actually did speak the language there. Plus everything’s better with sangria and paella and tapas.
It still amazes me that nothing bad happened on our trips. We somehow managed to have lots of fun and beach and disco disco and nothing was stolen. We didn’t have to go to the hospital. We didn’t lose our passports. We had an awesome trip. I’m pretty sure God or the Universe or whatever you want to call it was seriously looking out for us because we certainly weren’t.
After a month of bouncing around hotels and beaches, I got tired. I longed for the same bed and a kitchen to actually cook food in. I wanted to put my clothes away and line up my shoes in order a bit. So we booked our flights and trains to go see my cousin in Ricadi, Calabria, Italy. I had seen it on the map so I figured I could get us there. That train ride was like Christmas morning. I had no clue. I had read about this place. I heard it was called the coast of the Gods. But nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see. I’m still not even sure how to describe it.
I guess the closest I could call it would be to floating on a cloud. Everything seems so dreamy. There were just beautiful beaches and palm trees everywhere. I’m not talking LA beautiful beaches. I’m talking mythical beautiful beaches. Arriving to Capo Vaticano and going to the beach didn’t seem to help the mythical images in my brain. There were even all kinds of amazing little caves to explore. I had never been in a cave before. The food, the people, the energy, the way of life, it was all so different from the go-go-go of where I came from. Here lunch was an event. Food was fresh from the sea and the farm. Everything was made by hand. Family events were a minimum of 20 people. And everyone was your cousin. I felt like I had finally stumbled onto the place in the world that was made for me. There was no reason to continue on. This was my happily ever after. This place. Yes, I would soon meet my husband to be and establish my business and build a life so perfect I could never in my wildest dreams.
Everyone thought I was crazy for moving here. Some people still won’t talk to me 7 years later because they are so mad I decided to move here. But that has more to do with them than with me. Sometimes, we hear these crazy little voices in our heads calling us to do crazy things. I say listen to them! Quit your job if it doesn’t make you happy. Do whatever it is you feel yourself being called to do. Because that’s the thing you’re supposed to be doing. So enjoy it.