A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Why, hello there. February 17, 2012

Filed under: Italy — italicana kitchen @ 6:26 pm
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Thanks to a reader who recently wrote me and asked me about my whereabouts, I am writing this blog post today. I always find that there are people or events that come unexpectedly into your life to pull you back on track towards achieving your dreams.  When this happens we have two choices: to make the changes needed or to let the moment and motivation pass. This choice is life’s little way to say, “Hey! What the heck are you doing getting lost in daily routines when you have a purpose. Your life mission is to follow that passion inside of you, to go after that dream!”  However, more often than not, these choices are often overlooked, tuned out or simply discarded like a crumpled piece of notebook paper with a few scribbled words.  Well, today, thanks to a reader I’ll call *S*, I am writing again. Why? Because, it’s my passion and what I love to do. Why haven’t I been writing? Simply put: fear.

Looking at this word, I want to laugh. I am not usually the gal that fears anything. Quitting my job, leaving my family and friends to travel the world trip—done. Sky diving, bungee jumping, canyon swinging, white water rafting—loved it. Moving to Italy by myself where I knew absolutely no one and had to find a job and build a friend network from scratch—bring it on.  Writing on my blog or writing my book—absolutely terrifying. I should clarify. It’s not the writing process that scares me, but rather the truth-telling-process. I have this inner need to write and tell the truth but am often blocked by my conscience. I want to write about real life experiences and about taboo subjects but once I start my mind interferes:  “If I say that will that person get mad at me?”, “If I talk about sex, what will my parents, my colleagues or boss think?”

I envy those who are so brutally sincere that when someone asks them if she looks fat in her outfit, the response is yes—regardless if it is their relative, friend, co-worker or a complete stranger. I say no—or, often times, skirt around the response by suggesting how it could look better like, “That skirt would look great with a long sweater,” where in reality I’m thinking, “OMG, get a longer sweater and cover that muffin top!”  But, really, how can I say those things out loud? Let alone write them down for the world to see?  I can just imagine all the people with their voodoo dolls poking me in the eyes, heart and, if they’re truly perverted, bum hole.

So that’s where I’ve been the past year since posting to this blog—in this wonderful state of non productiveness when I have so many stories and experiences to share—living in Italy, snowboarding in the Alps, falling madly in love, and being on the verge of moving in with my Italian boyfriend (and his family!).

The truth. That word is a loaded gun. What I want to shoot out of it, what I want this blog to be about, is that when you take that majestic leap towards following your passions, great things truly start coming your way. That is the truth that I know, and that is the truth that I want to continue writing about. I think different writers serve different purposes. Some make you laugh while others make you cry. Maybe I will never have the courage to tell you that the food you just cooked smells like a nursing home and tastes like dirt mixed with tomato sauce, but I do have the courage to tell you that there is nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams if you go out on that limb and try. So, for now, until I grow some bull-sized balls, I’ll just do what I do best and focus on that.

 

50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now: Number 41 April 8, 2010

You could be snowboarding in fresh powder in the Italian Alps…

 

50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now: Number 43 March 22, 2010

Filed under: 50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now — italicana kitchen @ 9:33 pm
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In 100 years it won’t matter.

That’s one of the phrase’s my dad use to tell me when I was growing up as a child. He use to tell me that line when I was upset over not getting an A+ on a test, losing a basketball game or  lamenting over some other trivial matter.  “In 100 years it won’t matter,” that  little phrase would instantly bring me back to reality and the obvious truth that we all have about a 100 years to live and then life on earth is over. Done end of story, that’s all we get so why waste time complaining when we can be living!

What you do or don’t do, in the end, doesn’t matter. Now, you can take those words in a negative or positive spin; meaning that, “who cares what I do now, I’ll just be lazy because nothing matter anyways” and you spend your days letting life pass you by; or, you can take a positive approach to the phrase and say that, “I’m going to make these 100 years one hell of a ride” doing everything you’ve dreamed of, defying your fears, pushing away your doubts and living your life to the fullest because you realize that in the end…big pause here…in 100 years it won’t matter. When you realize this,  there is no reason not to always aim higher than you can reach and always strive for what seems impossible.

 

50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now #44 March 6, 2010

Filed under: 50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now — italicana kitchen @ 12:39 pm
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Anyone can make a lifestyle change.

And, sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration:

 

50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now #44 March 5, 2010

Technology masks tradition.

When I was traveling throughout Southeast Asia, some of my favorite photos I took were of men and women working in rice paddy fields.  I walked past many rice farmers dressed in pointy straw hats, their ankles deep in mud, as they threw stalks of rice into the ground of a steep mountain slope.  It was nothing I had ever seen before. It was serene, it was beautiful.

Now flash forward to the future and imagine a rice planting machine. It is not as serene, nor so beautiful. On one hand, I am a proponent of technology because the work, for rice farmers in Southeast Asia today and other parts of underdeveloped nations who are using traditional methods, is extremely laborious and tedious taking away  time spent with family and friends.  However, with that being said, witnessing first hand these traditional methods while they still exist is indescribable, and is something I am extremely grateful and fortunate to have seen in my lifetime, because, like everything in this world, change is inevitable.

 

Taking a Mini-Retirement Now: Reason #48 February 22, 2010

Four to five weeks holiday isn’t a dream it’s standard in Western European countries.

If you think that a four to five-week holiday is a dream it’s not; in fact, it’s a reality in Western Europe and other countries around the world.

After traveling around the world for 10 months and now living in Italy for the past year, going back to the United States is going to be a challenge.  I still don’t understand this American ideology that one needs to work 60…70..80 hours a week, taking virtually no vacation (two weeks on average) while trying to move up the corporate ladder.  The European economy, in general, is a sound economy and average employees receive four to five weeks holiday, in some countries siesta’s during the day, and in general, they don’t stay at the office longer than they have to; whereas, in the States, the more hours you put in gives you bragging rights.

“I worked 70 hours last week,” one employee says to the other.

“Oh yeah, well I worked 80 hours, slept in my office and still haven’t showered today,” the other retorts with a coffee-induced- shaky-smile.

I don’t even want to imagine what this conversation will be like in ten years if this workaholic lifestyle continues. Things could get pretty smelly (pun intended).

The point is, four to five week holidays seem like an absolute, unattainable dream for Americans; one, that is often times in our hopes but out of reach. However, it is not unattainable. Millions of Europeans and citizens from other countries live this dream each year.  They have a balanced lifestyle of work and play; this is their philosophy for life.

We, as over-worked, stressed out Americans, need to reanalyze our work ideology.  Really, I promise, you’re not being a slacker if you work fewer hours; in fact, it’s the smart thing to do. Aren’t you a better employee when you aren’t anxious and strung out on caffeine?  Aren’t you a more productive employee when you get a good night’s  rest?  Aren’t you a more efficient employee when you choose a working method that suits you as long as you produce results?

Weekends are essential for recuperating from the work week, just as four to five weeks of vacation are to recuperating from the work year.  Don’t feel guilty for wanting to take off on holiday for four to five weeks; rather, Americans, you should be feeling pissed-off that you’re not already.  And, look at the Boston Tea Party–with enough pissed off Americans, we can change the rules.

 

Taking a Mini-Retirement Now: # Number 49 February 21, 2010

The only time you ever truly have is the present.

What if you die?  What if you become disabled? What if you lose interest in the dreams you hold now?

What if you dream to trek through the Amazon jungle, and by the time you are ready to, it’s deforested?  What if your dream is to stand in Rome’s Colossuem and you never get the chance because it has been destroyed?  What if you want to do a home stay with a hillside tribe in Sapa, Vietnam, but they have dispersed and moved to the cities? Environmental destruction happens. Wars happens. Globalization happens.  Change happens.

If you hold a dream now, then strive to do it sooner than later; because, as life goes on the opportunity may be lost.

Don’t think if, think when…then make it happen.