Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Finding your dream job is not an easy feat. Sometimes it’s less about finding it and more about taking the necessary steps to create it yourself. It also requires going through difficult experiences to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. Through trusting this process, following my gut, and dreaming big, I went from the New York Minute to the Italian Siesta and found a life I love.
Not that long ago while living in New York City, I was waking up in a cold sweat every morning after dreaming all night about stress at work. I would often wake up in a panic with my heart racing, unable to get out of bed. I’d have to take deep breaths, calm myself down, then convince myself to start another day in a life that no longer felt like my own, in a place that didn’t make me happy.
Overall, I’m very blessed and even the pursuit of a career is in fact a privilege. But I do recognize that the pain we each feel is relative to what we’ve experienced in our own life thus far. That being said, I was trying really hard to love a life that just wasn’t for me, in addition to battling some inner conflicts I had managed to keep down fairly well up to that point. Having grown up in the Appalachian Mountains, the city environment was stressful and although I was learning and growing a lot, I knew I had to make a change (because, you know, being able to take a full deep breath is kinda important).
Thankfully, because of my experience in the luxury travel industry, I had my pick of several different Italian tour operators to work with and I chose one in the heel of Italy’s boot. For months, I lived a life that was polar opposite of where I’d just come from, in a region most often skipped over by American tourists. I started to breathe more easily, I started to feel excited about the work I was doing, and- thanks to a lot of time spent alone, I started to hear my own voice clearly again.
Over those several months, I listened to that voice and gave it the respect and attention I had denied it for years. As soon as I did, something completely unexpected happened: the far-off dream of one day leading my own cultural immersion trips in Italy began to materialize right there before my eyes. It was as if all the pieces I was missing in order to feel ready to start my own thing were filled one by one. Actually, that’s exactly what happened. Soon enough, I had no more excuses. A door opened and it was time to leap through it.
Fast forward to today- I live half the year in Italy and half at home in the lush Appalachian Mountains where I grew up. I create the most amazing trips (in my humble opinion) that allow people to experience a meaningful connection with the authentic culture through activities with locals, workshops with artisans, and plenty of laughter over long meals and glasses of wine.