Five Life Lessons I Learned In The Heart Of Italy
Italy will always hold a special place in my heart after spending a week off the grid in the little town of Acquapendente. The dirt roads leading to our charming bed and breakfast, Il Tesoro, brought me back to my roots and grew a new sense of groundedness in my soul.
I’ve never experienced a culture so lively, so rich, and so adaptable. There was a feeling of ‘home’ since day one. I learned many lessons from simply observing how Italians live day to day, and hope to carry on the joy they emitted by embracing the best parts of their lifestyle in my life.
1. Create community time to connect over meals.
The Italians love to gather and share good food + wine. I loved this piece of their culture and am trying to be more mindful of connecting with others during meal time.
If you have to eat alone, read a book or write your thoughts in a journal. Stop checking emails or trying to work while you eat. Use these regularly scheduled breaks (yes 2-3 a day) to calm down and invest in personal growth.
2. Spend less time in front of the mirror and more time looking at the beauty in the world around you.
I’m not sure that this was really something Italy taught me - maybe it was more of a self-realization. I discovered how much negative self talk comes from repeatedly seeing yourself in a mirror. In Europe they seem to have less mirrors around the house, which leaves less room for constantly nitpicking at your appearance!
Back at home, I’ve found it helpful to avoid harsh lighting where you are prone to self-critiquing and keep the lights off in the bathroom at night.
3. Don’t plan too much that you have no surprises, spontaneity and lose touch with the present moment.
I adopted the social construct of planning every second of my day for efficiency and productivity’s sake. It wasn’t until this trip that I realized the detriment this rigid thinking was having on my mental health and relationships. Even in my work, I believed that the only way to get everything done was to have a minute-by-minute schedule to follow.
I was inspired by the way Italians allow more ‘flow’ into their lives. Paired with high quality standards and focus, you truly can get your to-do list done without the mental strain of ‘what time is it?!’ and the negativity of ‘this is taking too long!’
4. Sometimes you just need to drink a glass of wine, dance without judgement, and laugh until your abs burn.
Life is too short to take every day and yourself so seriously. I loved how much Italian culture revolved around enjoying life’s simple pleasures and being in the present moment.
5. Take no phone breaks to go for a walk or catch up with a friend.
On a nature walk to a nearby waterfall during the trip, I decided to leave my phone and camera in my room. There is something we’ve lost about seeing and appreciating the beauty around us, and not needing to take a boomerang.
Pause your habit of capturing everything through an iPhone lens and allow yourself to watch these moments with your eyes and cherish them in your heart.
How have your travels impacted the way you live? Share your stories in the comments below! I can’t wait to read what you share and live vicariously from your world experiences!