If you’re just stopping by, be sure to check out the other posts in this series where we’ve been off to Naxos, Greece with Mike Sowden, Hiroshima with Abigail King and  Australia’s Gold Coast with Cecil Lee. This week the Travel Inspirations series brings us back home to bella Italia with the musings of Robin Locker from the wonderful blog My Mélange. Robin reminds us all that bringing la dolce vita into your daily life is a conscious decision, and one that be be a part of your life no matter where you travel! And her thoughts also beg the question, “How has traveling to Italy changed your lifestyle?”

Welcome, Robin!

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It is no secret, that my all-time favorite place in the world is Italy. I remember the first time I visited – I noticed the stark difference between the American and the Italian lifestyle. How family, friends and food seemed to play a large role in their lives. How the Italians really don’t eat junk food, they cook their meals from local, fresh, in-season ingredients. They shop at the local food markets. They take their time – often spending hours in the kitchen preparing food or an equal amount of time enjoying the meal.

 

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Italians seemed happier, healthier and less stressed out.

I also felt more relaxed, less stressed out and seemed to adjust very well to naps in the afternoon, long lunches and eating and drinking for pleasure.

That trip to Italy really changed me and the way I looked at life. And though I realized that I was only on vacation, and the likelihood of living in Italy anytime soon was a long shot at best – that didn’t stop me from trying to bring a little bit of that Italian culture and lifestyle home with me.

When I arrived home, I decided to make some small, conscious changes in my life. Italy inspired me to live a happier, healthier lifestyle here at home.

I began shopping more at farmer’s markets, buying in-season local produce. I cooked more at home and ate out less. When I did eat out, I chose mom-and-pop type restaurants who also focused on using seasonal local produce and I stopped frequenting chain restaurants.

 

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I sought out Italian trattorias, wine bars and cafes in my area that resembled what I fell in love with in Italy so that at any given time I could be transported back, even if just for a few hours.

I made regular trips to my local Italian deli/gourmet shop and added lots of authentic Italian made products to my grocery list – like prosciutto di parma, cured meats, salumi, olives, focaccia bread and a variety of imported Italian cheeses.

I take walks after dinner, enjoy spending time in the kitchen preparing homemade pasta and spend time every week, generally Sundays, sharing a nice dinner with good friends, complete with laughter, wine and an Italian language lesson thrown in for fun.

Italy has inspired me in so many wonderful ways – I would have never imagined that traveling to another country could have had such a positive impact on my life.

 

* All photos used in this post are © Robin Locker and cannot be used without express permission.

Robin Locker is a France and Italy travel consultant, freelance travel writer and photographer who hopes to one day realize her dream of living La Dolce Vita in her beloved Italy. She writes about travel for MNUI travel insurance and on her own site, My Melange. She is addicted to social media – you can follow her on Twitter @MyMelange.

5 Comments
  • Wanderlust Woman

    Nobody believe me when I tell them and I'm ITALIAN-AMERICAN. Welcome to the club Robin!

    April 28, 2010
  • SPLENDEROSA

    The photo is exactly what it looks like dining alfresco on any given evening in Italy. The Amalfi Coast, especially Sorrento, should be where I live, I love it so so much. But, I've never NOT loved anywhere in Italy, the Italians, their art, their wisdom, their hearts, their songs, their life.
    My grandfather was born near Florence, I never knew him, but I know the spirit of Italy lives within me. xx's

    April 28, 2010
  • Laura

    Ciao Lisa! If I can be American Italian then you can be Italian American! 🙂

    Ciao Splenderosa! Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I just popped over to your blog and enjoyed my read. I see you have a great love for the Amalfi Coast, too! 🙂 Aren't Robin's photos just gorgeous? I think when you truly connect in spirit with Italy that it follows you wherever life takes you!

    April 28, 2010
  • Alison

    Fantastic guest post! I had a similar experience after living in Amsterdam for several months. When I returned to Canada, I found myself wanting fresh bread and produce and higher quality ingredients. I started cooking much more from scratch and trying to slow the pace of my life down a bit. Since moving to Belgium I almost totally avoid the grocery store and shop instead at the local organic markets. Now if only weather here was as nice as in Italy… 🙂

    April 28, 2010
  • Laura

    Ciao Alison! I'm with you! I just loved Robbin's guest post, too. It's a reminder we all need that the Italian la dolce vita can be a part of your life no matter where you live. 🙂

    May 13, 2010

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