Crazy, I know.
But I booked that flight as soon as I could because I wasn’t about to let Italy slip through my hands any longer. Then I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t make my trip so jam-packed full of stuff that I couldn’t remember anything by the time I got back home. I wanted to live my best life – the sweet life, La Dolce Vita – and to get it I had to go to Italy.
So that is exactly what I did.
While there, I tried to do as they do. (You know, “When in Rome.”) I hoped that I would learn exactly how to live La Dolce Vita by immersing myself in the Italian lifestyle.
I learned how to ride the trains and buses.
I learned that restaurants are not open all day (only part of it), and if you don’t eat your meals at the right times you might just have a growling belly by the time they open up at night for dinner. I call it “embracing the siesta.”
I learned that most people are good. I had so many people genuinely offer their help when I was lost or needed a ride. I also learned to be weary of everyone at first, especially folks trying to sell you a ride in a taxi.
I learned that this really is a small world. I met multiple people from Canada, some of whom I’ve actually spent time with since I have come back to the motherland.
I learned that wine is always cheaper than water… so if you’re on a budget, wine is the way to go.
I learned that whenever you see octopus or squid on the menu, you will never be able to guess exactly what kind of dish will be placed in front of you.
I learned to take time off – to sleep in and not worry about all the things I could be missing out on or doing (which is a BIG problem for me, even when I’m at home).
I learned that spa days are a necessity when carrying a 50lb bag on my back and a 20lb bag on my front. I also learned that, when carrying such weight, proper shoes are important. I also learned that I really need to learn to pack lighter. (I thought I already had, but apparently that was not the case!) It’s called self-care. I learned that this, above all else, is most important.
I visited mountains, beaches, and lakes.
I ate everything I could, especially local specialties. I tried horse. And liver and onions. And rabbit (which the server placed in front of me, but not before saying, “Roger Rabbit! Hahhahaha!”).
I tried Limoncello, Grappa, and Prosecco. I toured vineyards and learned how wine is made and how they tend to the vines. I learned how to make pasta by hand, as well as bruschetta.
I learned that Italy has a lot of stairs, and that one will walk, on average, about 15km per day… easily. I also learned that, from all those stairs and walking, the weight you gain isn’t fat from eating everything in sight; it’s muscle on those thighs and buns. I had the best looking booty I’ve ever had when I left Italy, just saying.
It’s about those majestic views, birds chirping in the rain outside your window. The taste of good tomatoes and olives, a glass of cold water after a long, hot day. The warm sun on your skin. The fresh, crisp mountain air in your lungs just before a snowfall. It’s the help you receive from a stranger and encouragement from friends you meet by chance.
Through all of this, I learned that I don’t have to be in Italy to live La Dolce Vita. The sweet life is right here in front of me, and I just need to open my eyes and my heart to see all the beautiful life around me.
To read more of Lisa Lukye’s work, visit https://www.poutineandpinotnoir.com/poutine-and-pinot-noir. You can also find her active on Instagram at Poutineandpinotnoir and Facebook at Poutine and Pinot Noir.