Leaving a long and happy career in a good company to start something new is never easy, and there have been several days that I have found myself thinking of the good times and the good people at my last job with Robert Bosch. The work there always interested me, but what was the biggest highlight of it all was the opportunity to travel, specifically to Europe - a place that I find connects to my soul. I had spent many days dreaming of a trip back to Europe, and had dreamt of all the different ways I would like to add to my food experiences through travel.
Years of living abroad combined with my natural desire to stay away from crowds has defined my ideal vacation as one that is cut away filled with experiences that ought to count as extraordinary. It was, therefore, impossible to plan a trip that would cover the big cities and tourist attractions, leaving me out of pocket, out of time and an ache in my heart about all the little experiences in the countryside that I would be missing. I realised that what called out to me the most was the simple life, connecting with the soil, and understanding how food came together around great ingredients.
My plan formed suddenly, thanks to a very helpful friend who works with farmers around the world, and I was suddenly scheduled to spend 6 weeks in Tuscany, living among farmers, making the most fantastic products out of fresh, local ingredients and participating in their way of life. The biggie, though, was to pick up the local language, for I knew that I wouldn't survive long in a foreign country without the ability to communicate! I spent months learning Italian using online portals, talking to myself and my ever-loyal collie, Sultan, who anyway seems to understand everything I say, and finally getting to a point where I was at least able to phrase together some sentences and understand slow conversation. Just in time, though, for it was already time to pack my bags and fly across the globe, where 6 weeks of adventure was about to unfold!
As a single woman traveller all on her own in a part of the world that is completely unfamiliar, the next six weeks was most certainly an adventure - with all kinds of people playing a part of each day's experience. Would I do it again? Was there anything that I should have been careful about? All this and more coming up over the next few posts - after all it did take me six weeks to experience it, and almost a year to finally be prepared to share!