"WHY ARE YOU SELLING?" and "WHERE WILL YOU GO?"
Those are the two questions we get asked all the time. Most people we know who follow our blog are fellow lovers of Italy, and some dream of living in Italy someday. Others know they'll never live here but like to follow our lives as a small way of connecting to Italy. For many of these people the idea of us selling and/or leaving Italy is unimaginable. After following the long road to get here and the various trials and tribulations we faced along the way (as well as all the good times and great food), many people can't imagine why we'd want to give it up.
What most of these people don't realize is that Italy was never OUR dream! Italy simply HAPPENED to us, unexpectedly. (You can read about how it happened HERE). Our dream for retirement was to travel, both in the U.S. and in Europe. There were so many places we wanted, and still want, to see! When Italy caught us in her spell we thought that we'd have the perfect set-up: a base in Europe, meaning no jet lag, no expensive transatlantic airfares, and the ability to take lots of mini-vacations: a long weekend in Sicily, a quick visit to France, taking advantage of an airfare special to London. For us, Italy was just the means to an end, and that end was travel. That was the plan.
Once we moved to Italy the dollar began a long, slow and steady decline, eating away at the money we'd planned to use for travel. Initially we didn't mind (much), and enjoyed spending time in our area. Eventually it became evident that the dollar wasn't going to rebound, and although living in Italy was certainly fun, it wasn't serving it's purpose. Feeling more and more frustrated about not being able to travel, we eventually realized that we could do something about it. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the most illusive!
We decided that we'd sell our house in Italy and move back to the states. Our thinking was that in the states at least we wouldn't be losing a percentage of our money with every bank withdrawal, and that we'd be able to travel. We reasoned that even if the majority of our travel was in the U.S., there was certainly plenty to see, and that when we did travel to Europe, we'd made so many friends that we'd have a few places to stay along the way.
That decision wasn't made quickly, nor was it made lightly. Yes, the thought of leaving our home and our friends is sad, even painful. Luckily we knew from having made the move TO Italy that all we really needed was each other, and that we really did want to fulfill our dream of traveling. We remembered when we moved to Italy, and how some friends and family had been upset, even angry about the idea of us leaving the states and going to Italy. We also remembered telling them "But if it doesn't work out, we can always come back!" Sometimes we all get so stuck in the way things ARE that we forget that we have the power to change things!
And so now we have our house for sale, and even though the U.S. economy has worsened since the time we made our decision, we still think it's the right thing for us to do. Maybe it's just wanderlust, but we both feel that it's time to move on, time to figure out what our next adventure will be.
Initially, way back when we were first talking about selling, we just wrote about it on the blog. Obviously this didn't draw a lot of interest, but we weren't that concerned. We reasoned that when the time was right the house would sell and in the meantime we'd just enjoy our life in Italy. Eventually we realized that if we really did want to sell we'd need to list the house with some agenices, and so we took the next step and officially listed the house for sale.
Maybe we'd been holding back just a little, still not 100% convinced that we wanted to leave Italy, but after living with the idea for a while we realized that yes, this was the right decision for us. Living in Italy is wonderful - the food! - the wine! -the scenery! - the slower way of life! - yes, it will be hard to give all that up. It will be hard to trade our small town life for life in the big city. It will be even harder to leave all the friends we've made. But, just as we've kept up with friends and family in the states since we moved here, we know that we'll keep up with our friends in Italy - maybe even more so.
Now the housing market has gone flat (we know of many real estate agents who didn't sell one house last year!), but everyone assures us that our price is fair and that our house is something special. So yes, our house is for sale. And yes, we'll return to the states. Not because we don't love Italy, but simply because for us, it's time for the next adventure. We encourage you to follow your dreams too. If we can do it, anyone can!