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
Tags: , , ,

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 43 March 22, 2010

Filed under: 50 Reasons to Take a Mini-Retirement Now — italicana kitchen @ 9:33 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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.


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.


50 Reasons You Should Take a Mini-Retirement Now February 18, 2010

It has now been 2 years and 5 days since I left the United States to travel the world and take on the life of an expat. Of course it hasn’t been all roses, as there are many sacrifices you make when uprooting yourself to lead this type of vagabond lifestyle, but if anyone ever asked me whether I regret the choice I made: absolutely not.

Life is not to be lived in the “future”. Life is not about, “someday I will do that…”, life is about now or never. Be daring, be bold and as Nike’s infamous slogan goes, Just do it.

And, while you’re plotting your escape, check back daily for a little motivation and inspiration to keep you on course.  Also, check out another great source of inspiration, author and travel guru, Timothy Ferris, who more or less coined the new meaning of the word “mini-retirement” and is a huge inspiration towards keeping me from heading back to the 9 to 5.


Road Rage January 25, 2010

Filed under: Italian Life — italicana kitchen @ 10:26 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m usually a very tame driver.  No flipping people off…honking my horn…or slamming on my breaks to tailgaters. Maybe, occasionally I’ll let out a “You freaking idiot!” comment to a car that cuts me off, but that’s about the extent of my road rage….that was until I started driving in Italy. Now, for those of you have never driven in Italy before, we’re not talking about a little bit of road stupidity, we’re talking about everyone who is on the road is “freakin’ idiots” stupidity. Yet, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em I guess, and I’ve seen myself start to get into the Italian style driving….tailgating cars…passing on solid lines during curves…shaking my fists and cursing in Italian…but the line has to be drawn somewhere, right? Well, I have my chalk out and I’m marking a big fat line….so watch out you Italian drivers. I will not tolerate this new “move out of my way” approach to passing.

While driving back to Milan after a day of  snowboarding at Courmayeur, I saw car after car try an “ambulance pass” approach to passing. Imagine three lanes on the freeway. The far right lane for trucks, middle lane for speed limit traffic and the far left lane for fast-moving traffic/passing. Well, I was  comfortably driving in the middle lane adhering to the speed limit, when what do my surprise I have a fast approaching car a few kilometers back flashing his brights at me. I instinctively, move to the right lane as I thought it was an ambulance, but moments later I shockingly watch an Audi A4 cruise past. I can only imagine a greasy-haired chubby 40 something year old man smoking a cigarette tilting his back and laughing hysterially in that “muwahhhhh” tone of voice as a cloud of smoke swirls in the air.

Now that does it. One should never be interrupted from belting out the lastest Alicia Key’s song for such an unwarranted act.  I can tolerate a little tailgating but I will not tolerate you Italian drivers who are too damn lazy to put on your blinker and switch lanes if you want to pass. Watch out you lazy bastards, this gal is holding her ground!


Rules of Dating… January 23, 2010

Filed under: Random — italicana kitchen @ 10:54 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Being in the dating world is like being a fisherman on the open sea. The fisherman has one main objective–to catch a fish.  He may be looking for the biggest fish that he can find or a certain type of fish he’s never caught; he may be fishing solely for the game of catch and release or he may be trying to catch a fish that he is  proud of, that he can take a photo and hang it on the wall to showcase his prized possession. The aims of dating are similar, one dates to find someone else. Some search for a lifelong partner, others for a one night stand.  Some search to pass the time, others to create moments to remember. In the end, though, the baseline of fishing and dating are the same: you are searching for something, there is excitement in the unknown, and a sense of hope that you will find the best catch.

There are multiple ways to date, and there are multiple ways to fish. Do you put out one line, and only one line to catch a fish? Or do you put out multiple lines and increase your odds of how many fish will bite?  With the first you are more focused, more in tune with what you are doing and are ready the moment a fish may tug on the line, the second you have more possibilities of catching something but may miss the opportunity of a bite while you are focused on another line.

With dating it is the same. When you date, should you commit yourself only to dating one person at a time to focus attention on what you are doing? Or is that the entire point of dating, to not commit yourself to a person but rather to throw out many lines to increase your chances of catching something worth keeping?

I’ve always gone with the latter, dating multiple people at continuous times until I’ve found someone who I want to get to know intimately and that is when I pull in all my other rods. But, as I’ve found out yesterday, levels of intimacy are different for each person. For instance, what is a value of a kiss? Is it something you give out to multiple people or is it something you give only to someone as a commitment?

I’ve always thought of a kiss as part of the dating process. A kiss can tell you a lot about a person and whether you’re attracted physically without playing on a bigger ball field like sex, which for me is the top-level of intimacy and something you share safely in a committed and monogamous relationship.

Yet, back to a kiss. A kiss is something that moves you from the “friend” zone and into the “dating” zone.  But, is it appropriate to kiss multiple people at once?  For me, I always believed it was. If there weren’t levels of excitement, attraction during the kiss than the relationship should be turned backed to the friend zone. If there are no butterflies, then it’s almost impossible to grow an intimate relationship even if you love everything else about the person. If there are sparks during the kiss than the relationship can move into the exclusive zone, given that is what you want and the other important pieces (values, interests, morals) of the relationship fit.

What do you think? Is dating multiple people at once an acceptable convention or is it a superficial way to date?


Men are like Paint November 28, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 1:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Right now, my love life is all over the place. I feel like my heart is a paint pallet and all of the boys in my past, present and future are the different colors of paint. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, white, black, grey and all the shades in between. They are all so different. My mind is trying to paint my bedroom. It grabs a paint brush and puts one stroke of color on the wall, let’s it dry, looks at it and waits. After a while, the paintbrush gets emerged in water, everything that was once connected to the paintbrush is washed away. Used and disposed of, because my mind wants to try out a new color. So the paintbrush, once dipped in red, is now washed, dried and dipped into orange. A stroke of paint is streaked across the wall, but only a small line. Then, back into the water the paint brush goes and the same actions repeat. And repeat. And repeat. I have all of these beautiful colors, and they are all alluring it their own way, but it is me that is indecisive as to which color to paint my walls. Do I paint a tranquil colored room filled with soft hues where I can relax, a vibrant colored room that inspires me; colors that standout and are noticed, or colors that compliment the art hanging on the wall and serve merely as the backdrop?

A partner is like paint; and, paint is one of the most important parts of a room, it is the backdrop by which everything else evolves around and connects to. However I paint my room will decide for me as to what type of decor I fill the room with: elegant, country-feel, artsy, trendy or simplistic.  What kind of room do I feel most comfortable in, what kind of lifestyle do I want to lead? Each color is so different, all with their own unique characteristics and all provoke completely different emotions: relaxing, inspiring, serious, playful, lively, boring, cutting-edge, old-fashioned.  My surroundings are important to me because they change how I act. For instance, if I am in a super elegant room I wouldn’t dare jump on the couch, yet, if I was in a cozy room–game on! Some people are fortunate to be themselves in all kinds of rooms, but for me the room directly affects my behavior and actions.  Whether this is a trait or a flaw I am still unsure of. Is it good to be so adaptable to your surroundings or is it a vice?

There have been a few times I have committed more to a color by painting an entire wall. Only one though. And, it filled the room for a while and made it feel cosey, made me feel more at home.  But, I never let it go further than that…and the wall soon came to be painted over in white, small streaks of colors splashed across it’s surface like many times before as I continue to search for the color with which I feel most connected to instead of picking one and enjoying it.

So, my room remains unfinished, and in truth quite ugly. It’s not inviting nor is it relaxing or soothing because….it is not complete. I want to complete this room. I am ready to furnish it, to commit to a style and to call it my own. But, the question always comes back to me…what color do I choose when my mind changes so often? And, if I paint the whole room one color I want to be sure. I don’t want to someday repaint it again. I don’t want to do it all over. I would rather touch up the paint, or recoat it with another color. I want the color to last. I want my partner and my relationship to last.

Sometimes I just wish that a stranger would walk into my room with a bucket of paint and throw it on my walls. I would laugh at the madness. I would laugh at the realization of how easy the whole process can be: choose a color and throw the paint. Because, in the end a room that is painted and decorated feels like home. Maybe it’s not perfect, but it is cosy and warm.  A room left unpainted, undecorated feels merely like a room in transit. It doesn’t feel owned, it only feels rented and above all, it feelsincomplete.