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Why Italy?

DisclaimerI’m always hesitant to post about plans before they happen since you can never plan for something 100%. But since my plans are about as solid as they can be, here goes.

Seven years ago I stood on a dock overlooking the Adriatic Sea and announced to a friend standing nearby that I wanted to live here. By here, I didn’t mean Trieste specifically, but Italy in general. Having been in the country for a few weeks by that time, it had already captured my heart.

She laughed. “Oh, you don’t really mean that.”

Those words always stuck with me. I knew exactly what I wanted, and yet the years kept passing. I still kept delaying. I got a dog, got a job, moved to other cities, apartments, but never Italy.

Two years ago, I took a vacation to Rome and was filled with that familiar pain and longing when it was time to leave. Armed with the fortune of having a very amazing, flexible job, I decided it was time to take steps to make the big move. I started the process to become a dual Italian-American citizen.

I chose to do this first because I knew I’d be moving with my dog. As safe as air travel is these days, I never wanted to put him on a plane unnecessarily. If I could guarantee that I only needed one plane ride for him, then I knew I’d feel more confident about bringing him on this adventure with me.

A few months ago, my mother and I found out that all of our paperwork was accepted and, just last week, we applied for our little red passports. Beyond logistics, the process of applying for citizenship was an emotional one. I’ve always very much looked to the past and sharing this citizenship very much felt like a connection to family members who came before me.

All along in this whole journey, I have friends and family who remain skeptical. With good intentions, they keep asking, “But are you sure? Why Italy?”

Here’s the funny thing. I wouldn’t be moving to Italy this year if I hadn’t gone to Brazil over the summer.

I fell in love with Brazil while sitting on the beach with my coworker in Ipanema, looking at the ridiculously gorgeous coastline, thinking, “My life needs to be an adventure.”

In my mind, I threw my plans of moving to Italy out the window, started looking at visa options, and reminded myself that any plan, no matter how long you’ve had it, can still be a safety net — even when it sounds like a scary one, like moving overseas. I don’t, and never did, want to be safe.

Visas and customs and borders are hard. The logistics of me moving to another country for a year, especially with my dog, started to become obviously Not An Option. I sat with my thoughts, trying to figure out what it was exactly I wanted to do. I’d already gotten the ball rolling on moving, figuring out what it would mean to uproot my life, and a single thought occurred to me.

“You’ve been waiting 10 years to move to Italy, why would you make yourself wait one more now that it’s feasible for you?”

Oh, right. Deep-down, part of me was scared. Doing this meant admitting that, after the move, I might not be happy. I might have made the wrong decision. My friend might have been right. In fact, I’d done this once before when I moved to France 10 years ago, and DC five years ago, and, boy, were those the wrong decisions.

But, more importantly, those bad decisions shaped me more than anything else in my life.

Explaining why you want to do something big like moving to Italy, or starting a business, or switching careers, comes with a thousand little reasons — like being able to go back to school without spending a second lifetime in student loan debt or being truly overwhelmed by the prospect of mozzarella di buffala at any given time.

In reality, it’s just like being in love. Yes, I could “count the ways,” but at the end of the day, deep-down, it’s something I feel in my bones. There’s certainly room for doubt and fear in those bones, but there’s also an electricity, an excitement, a knowing I need to do this. That if I don’t, I’d spend the rest of my life wondering.

And like I told myself in Rio de Janeiro, life is an adventure. Adventures can’t be lived from the sidelines. They involve risk. And, of course, without risk, there’s absolutely no reward.

So on March 1st, I have my first one-way flight ever booked. Then Francis, my dog, will follow. And then, we’ll see what happens next.

25 thoughts on “Why Italy?

  1. Anddddd this is amazing. You’re going to have a wonderful time – there’s no question about that. Congratulations Erica!

    1. Thanks so much Jeff!

  2. Oh, Erica, all the yays! ALL of them!

    1. I’ve used all my yays today already! Haha, thanks Andrea 🙂

  3. So so so excited for you. I can’t say I didn’t have any adventures when I was younger, but sometimes I wish I’d had more. 🙂 So I’m glad you’re going for it!

    1. Thanks Pam! Bring Ziggie too when you visit 😉

  4. So very happy for you! This takes bravery – hats off to you for saying “yes” to adventure!

    1. Aw, thanks Wendy!

  5. You know this was something that I wanted to do. At my age, my only enjoyment now is being able to live vicariously through you, and watching you take advantage of the opportunities offered to you. I had them at different times in my life, and only accepted one once, and it ended up being a bad decision and becoming costly. I think that’s why I strayed from looking at opportunity.
    There’s a big difference between taking a chance, and using your chance. I believe that you’re using yours, and you have my respect, admiration, and love. Though I cry as I write this, I can’t tell you how really happy I am for you.
    Solo il meglio….

    1. Aw, thank you dad – it’s so nice to hear that 🙂

  6. I’m so excited for you!! Uprooting your life is hard and scary, but it’s so worth it. I wish I had started sooner. 🙂

    1. Exactly! Phew, thanks Carolyn 🙂

  7. All the best to you Erica 🙂 I am sure it will be a fabulous!

  8. Congrats! Moving abroad is scary and exciting, and there’s no way to be totally sure about it, but the good news is that it isn’t permanent unless you want it to be. My first move to Germany wasn’t right for me, but I’m so glad I did it and my next move was easier and landed me in an even better place. Hooray for adventure!

    1. Exactly – that’s really helpful to hear 🙂 Thanks Rachel!

  9. This post brought tears to my eyes. I love that you’re following your heart and that Francis is right there with you. I love that he was and is such a major factor in your decision. I just love everything about this! I can’t wait to read more about your adventures!

    1. Gah, thank you Marjorie! I’m still freaking out so much about the day Francis moves, but I can’t do it without him, right? ♥️

      1. Nope, and I don’t think you’d ever consider doing it without him. He’ll be totally fine and then we can look forward to “Francis in Italy” pics and stories!!!

  10. This is really awesome to hear! So excited for you … and jealous. 🙂

    Congrats and best of luck on your new adventure!!

  11. I fell in love with Brazil while sitting on the beach with my coworker in Ipanema, looking at the ridiculously gorgeous coastline, thinking, “My life needs to be an adventure.”

    Yes!!

    Congrats!

  12. How exciting! Enjoy every moment of it – I love being in Italy! 🙂

  13. […] ideas in my head that have really piqued my interest. I ran into some unexpected tax issues with the move to Italy and, after weighing all my options, I decided to cancel the move. I’m 100% unsure of […]

  14. […] There are a few places that I’ve traveled to where I felt an immediate bond. The first time I went to Paris as a teenager, I remember standing on the Seine, in a very romantic and cliché manner, thinking, “I’ll be back.” And each time I’ve left Italy, I’ve kicked and whined all the way to the airport saying that I belonged there, I liked life better there, I wanted to stay. I almost did, after all. […]

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