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Moving Solo to Italy Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

My heritage as an Italian American has always been intriguing to me and I find I have a gravitational pull for all things Italian: designers, wine, and our Sunday family dinners with copious amounts of food and chatter. After visiting Italy in 2011, I dreamed of one day living there. My mother’s family is from Parma and my paternal side resides in San Donato Val di Comino (110 km east of Rome), although it was the city of Florence that kept a piece of my heart. Here, I have stumbled upon the most breathtaking views, quaint restaurants, and invigorating conversations with both locals and travelers.

This whimsical dream has made its appearance on many of my vision boards over the past decade but after the uncertainty that COVID-19 placed upon humans worldwide, I decided to set a date and put this plan in motion. With lockdowns and restrictions, 2020 was a really easy year to save money, not spend it. I became realistic with how much I would need to live abroad as well as make sure my ongoing bills were still covered in the US. After 11 years in the airline industry, I submitted my resignation to live out my passions full-time. While some would say “sai pazza” for leaving job security and familiarity, I have a different mindset; a life well lived would be one filled with travel, never-ending self-exploration, and the ability to find happiness through it all.

As amazing as living abroad sounds, I know loneliness can ensue when there is a lack of commonality. Most importantly, I didn't want to just be an expat in Florence. I wanted to fulfill my dream of living in Florence, while simultaneously pursuing my purpose and building a community that helps others find their passions, incorporate self-love, gratitude, and a positive mindset; all of which have helped me make leaps and bounds towards living my best life. It is crucial to have enough financial security to get you through because finding a job is not easy and you do not want to miss out on weekend trips or lavish dinners because you do not have the funds.

The most important advice I could give to someone is to build a community quickly upon arrival, like groups on InterNations. You must put yourself out there and be willing to try new things and experiences. Being surrounded by others who enjoyed similar activities made it so much easier to get out and meet people, who I can now say have become lifelong friends. You can be anyone you want when you move to another country, so let go of all your inhibitions and become your true self!

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