The first month of a new year. January is not just about making new years resolutions but also reflecting on the previous year and many are in the mindset of do I really want to be in the same position this time next year?
I get it. I was in the exact same position this time 8 years ago. I felt stuck. I knew that I wanted more from life and being stuck in the corporate grind in Australia. But deciding to make a move and completely change your life requires a huge amount of courage, guts and determination.
It requires you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and attempt the impossible and make it possible.
However, no guts no glory, no risk no story……..
I had binge watched Eat, Pray, Love and Under The Tuscan Sun and I knew, it was where I wanted to be.
For me, Italy was my soul home. A place I had been fascinated by ever since my first trip. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain so I sold my belongings, left my secure corporate banking job behind and embarked on an adventure that most people said I was crazy to do, but it felt like the most logical step in my life at that stage.
If you are sitting here and reading this article and contemplating changing your life completely in favour for moving to a new country I cannot recommend it enough. Is it hard? Yes. Is it challenging? Yes. Will there be times where you think you have made a huge mistake? Yes.
But is it worth it? Hell yes.
Here are 10 reasons why moving to a new country will totally enrich your life in every aspect.
- Learning a New Language
Nothing throws you in the deep end like moving to a new country and not knowing the language. It is full immersion at its finest. Yes there will be times where you will feel SO frustrated about not being able to express yourself as you want, and hey Google translate can really muck things up (lol) but stick with it and there will come a time where things just “click” and you will find yourself having conversations with the locals that just roll off your tongue. I struggle sometimes to think of words in English
2. Being Surrounded by Beauty
Imagine yourself wandering down a little alley in the old town of your new city. Walking over cobblestones that are older than the country you were born in. What seems to be just a simple little street fills you with such awe and amazement. Being able to marvel at the beauty on every corner, each building telling a story. I still stop in my tracks and stare in amazement at the stunning Baroque architecture that surrounds me in Puglia. It truly is magnificent and something I never take for granted.
3. Finding your Soul Home
I will never forget the feeling I felt when I first stumbled across a town in Puglia called Monopoli. I immediately had this connection whilst walking through the old town and I knew I had found my “home”. It is crazy to think that a place can have such an impact on you like you were destined to belong there. I do not have Italian heritage but it felt like home to me. I remember walking through the little streets with tears in my eyes and all goosebumpy as I just was so overwhelmed by the beauty.
4. A Relationship with a Local
This has been the biggest eye opener to me. Coming from Australia and having a certain way of doing things and meeting a local and getting to know their way of doing things, let’s just say the worlds have collided on more than one occasion. I absolutely love speaking with expats on their inter cultural relationships and the challenges and experiences they face together. It can be so very comical but also such a massive learning experience. I remember writing out my “manifestation list” of my dream partner whilst I was living in Sydney and then 4 years later meeting the exact person from the list and more. It was a totally surreal experience but so rewarding. Five years together and two gorgeous little italo-australiano bambinos.
5. Learning How to Cook Local Food
I cannot tell you how many kitchen disasters I have had since living in Italy. You ask any newbie even someone who is a dab hand in the kitchen, when they have to cook for locals it is extremely daunting. Italians become like expert Masterchef judges when eating someone else’s food and they do NOT hold back on the criticism!! But don’t take it to heart, its how you learn….and learn quickly!
6. Mealtimes are an Event
For me, lunchtimes meant I ate on the go at my desk, whether it be a quick smoothie or a takeaway salad, that could be consumed at a rapid pace whilst I was working. I have never been one to think about sitting down for a long lunch unless it was at the weekend but in Italy spending time with your loved ones at the dinner table is a ritual that is sacred. Even office workers generally get up to a 2 hour lunch break and many go home to eat with their families. It’s that quality time together, eating, debating, and the concept of “stare insieme” (being together).
7. The Afternoon Nap
Afternoon naps were never part of my daily routine back in Australia, definitely not something I could have done at the office……but here in Italy a little nap after lunch is a common thing and a past time I am most certainly embracing. The Italians have a phrase called “Il Dolce Far Niente” which means the sweetness of doing nothing and this concept is totally embraced. There is nothing like having a snooze after a long lunch and waking up feeling totally refreshed for the next major part of your day : dinner!!
8. The Food Culture
The topic of food is pretty much one of the most talked about topics here in Italy, apart from the politics but I won’t go there! I remember when I first moved here and would sit at these incredibly long lunches where everyone over eats, complains about how full they are and that they couldn’t fit another thing in but in the same breath also discussing what to cook for dinner. Food really is life here in Italy.
9. The Cafe Culture
No matter how late someone is here in Italy for something, there is always time for a coffee first. For someone like me who was always used to grabbing a coffee to take away and drink it on the go, I am totally loving the relaxed vibe of sitting at a cafe overlooking a crowded piazza and partaking in some people watching. It fascinates me. I haven’t gotten into the habit of drinking the “espresso” as I still am clinging onto my caffe lattes all throughout the day, which is frowned upon by the Italians as they feel that too much milk interferes with your digestion.
10. The Slower Pace of Life
I am someone that has always walked in such a rush like I was late for something. Living in big cities and brisk walking my way through the crowds was totally normal for me. I have had to really force myself to learn to walk slower, meander through the streets and really adapt to a slower pace of life. I never used to give myself time to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak but living here where I am surrounded by such beauty all the time, I cherish my strolls where I discover something new each time.
In the 7 years of living here, I have never looked back at my old life in Australia with any regrets of my choice to move to Italy. It has rewarded my life in so many ways I never thought possible.
Life is not a dress rehearsal, we only get one shot. Take that adventure and enjoy every minute of it!