Reader Success: How J. Lee Got Her Dream Life in Italy
Each morning, in my home near the shores of Italy’s Lake Maggiore, I spend a few hours writing articles on my laptop. In the early afternoon, my husband and I take a two-minute walk from our apartment to the lakefront esplanade where we enjoy a cappuccino and a croissant or a nice glass of wine and some taste-tempting local specialties.
Then, every evening at around six, we join in with the locals, taking a stroll along the esplanade and visiting our favorite local cafes to catch up with friends.
Today I’m living my dream, but it wasn’t always this way…
When I was very young I was always interested in the creative arts, sketching my surroundings, taking photos with my favorite Brownie Box camera, and writing poetry. But like all good parents of that era, mine thought you could not make a proper living in the arts. So, when college beckoned, off I went to take business courses.
After some trial and error I ended up in accounting and over the years built up my resume to include a reasonably impressive history. The only problem was I really disliked what I did.
After several years, my dreams of writing and photography saw a glimmer of hope when I accidentally stumbled upon Travel Post Monthly and The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program on the web.
I thought if these people can do this, why can’t I? I submitted an article which was published and I was thrilled! I was beginning, however slowly, to realize my dream of a future I would love and had always hoped for.
I signed up for The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and began feeling my way around the internet for writing opportunities. Through this exploration I began writing weekly articles for Wcites.com out of San Francisco and e-zines like 40PlusTravelAndLeisure.com and strictlyeurope.com.
Then, on a trip to Europe with my husband, I discovered that I felt at home and at peace in the lake district of northern Italy at the foot of the Alps. The alluring village of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, which has been host to many famous writers including Hemingway, Byron, Wordsworth, and Dickens, became our base. There was no itinerary, so each morning after waking up to a breathtaking sunrise over the Alps, we consumed freshly-baked hot rolls or croissants, ham, cheese, and a wonderful cup of Italian coffee, and decided what to do for the day.
Neither of us really wanted to leave Lake Maggiore. However, our travel plans included the Italian Riviera, England, and Ireland, where we spent a few more weeks visiting friends and sightseeing.
Eventually work commitments beckoned and we returned home. We began to research what exactly was involved in a major move to Europe. After seven years, we sold our home and made the move. I wanted to be where history had its beginning and the stories would take several lifetimes to write.
There were many pitfalls and tears during the first few months. Not speaking the language fluently was a huge impediment with government bureaucrats. However, with help from some local guardian angels, we persevered and are presently ensconced in a stunning part of the planet.
I now enjoy writing about the many lesser-known places we have been able to discover since moving here. Recently we spent a week in the Italian Alps just a couple of miles from the Swiss border. We enjoyed our time relaxing at a family-run hotel in a tiny village created in the 15th century. Each morning I opened the doors to our balcony and watched the sun kiss the mountaintops with gold and listened to the sound of cow bells echoing across the valley below as the farmers took their charges out to pasture. The story from this trip has now been accepted by a publication.
As has been said many times before, realizing a dream just takes a first step. Mine took several years of planning, but anything that is important to you is worth the effort, and there is no time like the present to get started!
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]