Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Creating a Simple Life in Italy

by Lisa Chiodo

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Simple Life

‘Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things’

Robert Brault

When I first met Sam his prime goal in life was to be a Millionaire by a certain age, he announced this fact to all his friends and family. I like that about him, that he follows what he wants with complete passion. A little further into our relationship and his goals changed direction, now he just wants to be happy. To have a simple life and time with his family, millions wouldn’t go astray mind you  but it’s just not the driving force anymore.

a simple life

garden dwarf dbl

Now his passion is for life to be filled with fun, adventure and community, my passions are very similar, to be vibrant, joyful and creative. Finding our core desired feelings and actually talking about them helped me find clarity and direction. We know what we want, and how we want to feel and each step we take is bringing us closer and closer. I am loving Danielle LaPorte and her simple message, I am listening to Ted Talks, Vishen from Mind Valley, and others that resonate with me, I know they each bring that shift in mindset.

We are living in Italy on far less yet so fulfilled and only see the possibilities of living a simple life style. I love seeing the results on our children, they are outside playing, want less and find playthings in the close environment. Simple friendships are growing, the kids are playing outside, Carina wanders back and forth to her friend over in the next borgata. They have more freedom here.

a simple life

The process we took to get here didn’t happen overnight, with many years in between the declaration of our dream to actually fulfilling it. We took self development programs and continued to educate ourselves starting with Robert Kiyosaki when I was eight months pregnant with our first child Aaron back in 2000. I remember sitting in the packed audience bemused by the young guy sitting next to me in his executive clothes watching my belly as Aaron did very visible somersaults.

When we first started this journey to a simple life I hadn’t been in the workforce for many years. I had no wish to go back to the slog of retail and had been in the same retail job for over 10 years before stopping work completely just before Carina was born. We both knew we didn’t want to work for a boss and we did what we knew best …..renovating. Over the following eleven years we renovated more than ten properties both structurally and cosmetically. Always with an eye on our dream of a simple life in Italy.

For me a simple life doesn’t mean I have to go through my wardrobe and cull it to a certain number of pieces, or ‘de-clutter’ my house, it is much deeper than that and I think you can live a simple life with a massive house or a tiny one, it’s about the way you live your life. Having that connection to yourself and those around you, being able to be with your family to guide your children, to spend time with them and help them develop into young adults.

What I always come back to is the way I want to feel, how I want my marriage to develop over the years to come, how I want to relate to my children, how I want them to relate to me as they grow and enter the world as young adults.

I want to feel peaceful, joyful, creative and healthy.

a simple life

This week in Our Italian Life we have been enjoying the early Spring sunshine and the entire valley is alive with flowers. The blue tractor went on its maiden voyage and so did the camper van. We collected wood in the mountains, planted the ‘orto’, bought cages for the rabbits, and seem to have adopted another cat, oh and Sam thought it a great idea to use the old bidet and toilet for growing herbs, and with lots of images to share both here and over on our Renovating Italy  facebook page. I hope you enjoy them as much as I love sharing with you all.

It’s possible to take a small step towards your dreams each day, just a little step forward……I’d love to hear some of your ideas and thoughts.

Signatureand the gang x

dare to dream

 

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anne April 13, 2014 at 9:30 pm

You have certainly found a happy place , I think you and Sam are thriving and so are your children. A new way of life , one that I think we should all try. My goals have changed , and as I get older I want to move house, move somewhere for new experiences , but even though I work , my hubby works full time, and as you know travels for work , so all he wants to do , is come home and get cosy and relax. I don’t blame him as his job is so stressful. BUT it can have an affect on relationships .. I just keep going. Hopefully one day we will travel together :-) xoxoox
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2 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

Hey Anne I think we’re working it out, especially for me it will mean less time at the computer and more time outside with Sam and the kids. My cousin moved house once whilst her husband was away for work, he came back and it was just done (she worked in real estate) which always cracked me up, as he was away so often and for long stretches she had to constantly readjust to her roles as Primary parent and then back to duel parent. It must be really tough on both of you. When he’s away could you travel a little with friends …..hugs xx
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3 Karene April 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I love your passion for simplicity, Lisa. It has become a focus for me too. Letting go of what doesn’t matter, and saying no when needed. My next step is to get back outside to our garden. I have let it go over the years because I seem to have a black thumb when it comes to growing things (our soil here is not good either). But I love flowers, plants, and herbs, and want to try again.

By the way, your children are beautiful! This new life definitely agrees with them. And I love how you and your husband are working together to realize your dream. That’s my hope for my husband and myself as we step into a new phase of life (almost empty nesters).

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4 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:14 am

It is a passion Karene and one that many people world wide are finding and developing. Getting our life back, taking time out from the hustle and bustle of the online world. Just stopping to actually appreciate what we have within. Sam does the garden, I like to help but it’s not really my passion (other than when eating fresh beans whilst picking them). I do love flowers and Carina and I have planted sunflowers and also bought wild flower seeds for around the orto.

The kids are great, and growing up all of a sudden, I think this year will really see them settle into this new life with confidence and energy. Sam and I get along most of the time but we have our moments, the good thing is we both want the same for our life, fun adventure and health with a big dollop of joy xx

Your new stage of life will flow if you let it, not empty nesters rather birds about to fly with their own dreams xx
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5 budget jan April 12, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Our daughter and I are admiring your daisy and vase? photograph composition. We also love the toilet and bidet garden. Cyclone Ita (only a Category 1 at this stage) is over Townsville as I write this. We have our fingers crossed that our shade sails won’t come down and we don’t lose power. When we went to bed last night the cyclone was meant to be going out to sea, instead it came down from Cairns to visit us.
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6 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:08 am

Isn’t that funny Jan, Carina took that photo, she loves using the camera. Sammie did the herb loo garden and I put it all together lol x My Mum was telling me about the cyclone and luckily it wasn’t as bad as expected. I remember those tropical storms in Brisbane our first one was intense! Hope you are all safe and well. xxxx
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7 budget jan April 15, 2014 at 4:42 am

The cyclone was a Category 5 just before it hit the coast, then it turned to a Cat 1 and sailed on down the coast. Not much damage at all so that was good. Carina is a good photographer.
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8 bonnie melielo April 12, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Really enjoy your daily musings Lisa. My husband has said for years, we need to keep it simple. I totally agree you can do that wherever you live, in whatever type of residence you have. Time with family and friends is truly the most important thing!!

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9 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:04 am

Oh thanks so much Bonnie, I think musing is the perfect way to describe them and they slowly give clarity. Simplicity within ourselves is what I am musing about, I think it’s so much deeper than just focusing on our ‘stuff’…….looking at ourselves and our own joy so that we can give that to others. xx
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10 Catherine April 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I love the herbs in the old loos! Hilarious. I also love reading about your commitment to growth and good health – so important. It looks like such a challenging but beautiful journey so far Lisa xxcat

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11 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

Oh the herbs in the loo are Sam’s idea and he also has the cistern hanging from the rail. I’m taking time for me this year and health, peace, and joy coming into my creativity xxx
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12 Sharon & Craig April 11, 2014 at 6:14 am

Hi Lisa, Finally found the time to sit down and find your web site. Wow what an Amazing job you are doing with both the site and the family. Everyone looks happy and well. You made me cry with you video of your upcoming trip and photo shoot in Paris. You are so deserving enjoy every minute of it. The house looks amazing wish we had the courage to undertake something like it. Might do but probably be here in oz. We are both still travelling and loving it sorry we missed you in Italy but I said to Craig only the other day we must get back to see you guys. Love what you are doing enjoy Paris and talk soon. Love you Shaz

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13 Lisa Chiodo April 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

Hey Guys, so you’re still traveling yahoooo! Sam said he saw you here in the subscriptions. I’m so excited about the photo shoot and yep had a big emotional moment when I found out the news. Come to Italy it would be awesome, life is great isn’t it, finding the freedom to do what you love xxx
ciao ciao and big hugs and kisses xxx

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14 Krista April 11, 2014 at 3:48 am

I resonate with this very much, dear Lisa. “feel peaceful, joyful, creative and healthy” – yes, yes, and yes. :-) That is what I’m focusing on this year, meditating on, affirming to myself every day, and it feels so very, very good. :-) XO
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15 Lisa Chiodo April 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

how alike we are in many ways krista, with just these simple things our lives are so much happier. did you take a look at Danielle LaPorte I think you’ll love her xxx

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16 Caterina B April 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I love that your daily life has improved and you are more optimistic! This has happened to me, too, with the advent of Spring, although we are certainly not so far along in it as you are. Certainly it helps to have a hubby at home with you instead of him driving away to work every morning. I have that, too, now that my hubby has been “laid off” from his job as a veterinary technician. He actually is on the brink of deciding whether to take early social security.

I say, “do it.” I would rather reduce our spending and have more time together as we age too quickly. Our happiness lies in Nature, too, like yours. We are planting some things and watching the grass slowly turn green, the wild turkeys have flown to higher pastures, forced out by the Springtime return of the buzzards. Yes, buzzards! Hubby waits for their return because it means things are taking their predetermined course.

We will be taking delivery of two piglets in mid May and are ordering some new chicks to add to the flock. This is how we want to live and have wanted it ever since we first met many years ago. We have only had our small farm for thirteen years and are so grateful to be HOME at last! When are you getting chickens? I highly recommend it.

Our journey to be where we wanted to be was very long while we searched for property we could afford and then we finally had the courage to move way out in the Rockies. This now presents a newer and bigger problem. We have decided that we MUST NOT DRIVE SO MUCH for the sake of the CO2 levels. One simply has to do it. This will be a drastic lifestyle change for many people. Some will never do it. When I told a coworker about our decision she laughed. How sad for her. Now I only drive into town two days a week to work and we stay home the other days. We love staying at home and working outside, especially my hubby.

The big difference between your life and mine is that your beautiful children are still at home.
My God, they are adorable. I love seeing your photos of them. My three are grown and gone and I still miss them so much. I know you cherish every moment with Carina and Luca.

Your blog is the most honest one I read. I get the sense from you that you are completely authentic and frank and I value that. Thanks!

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17 Lisa Chiodo April 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

Wow Caterina you gave me so much food for thought, Spring has made a difference to my mood especially feeling the sunshine. We are all at different stages and right where we are meant to be so they tell me lol .

Early retirement sounds great, would this be a possibility, well of course it is as anything is possible right. I think living that simple life will enable you to reduce the costs and maybe even refocus on other ways of creating extra income. We are planting extra veggies and growing rabbits and chickens knowing we could swap them for other things we need. Sam is so enthused and loving this way of life and so am I now I am feeling a bit better.

Piglets…..awww they are cute, Sam wants to get some pigs and is making an enclosure for them soon. Always lots to do. How amazing that you are giving up driving, what other options will you use, around here they used donkeys hmmmm.You sound fully committed to your own dreams and I’m sure you inspire those around you as well as me. Even though our kids are still with us it does give us the problem of leaving elderly parents in Australia which is so hard. I miss my Mum and wish she could live nearby to see the kids each day. Thanks for sharing so beautifully with me and it makes such a difference knowing that you hear me and I hear you xxxx
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18 La Contessa April 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Gorgeous children!
Sounds like YOUR SET………….and I think the MARITO has the right idea now!
XX
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19 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Thanks so much, they are gorgeous when sleeping my husband always tells everyone. He certainly is much happier now, and I can’t wait to get to Paris, no idea what I’ll wear but I guess we’ll figure something out…..I can always go newspaper lol xxx
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20 Heather in Arles April 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm

How I agree with this approach, this mindset. I just wrote the other day to a friend, “I have lived a Big life and a small one and they are the same thing. Life is life.” So much depends on what we appreciate and it is so clear that you are so very appreciative of all you have…
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21 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 7:06 pm

It really does come down to the mindset I think Heather and we are seeing how much stress can play a part in your health. Sam has been taking blood pressure tablets with wicked side effects, I keep telling him he needs to be calm like me lol xx
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22 Janine April 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I love that your new life, your better life in Italy is such a team project. This experience both in the planning and the doing feels like the most incredible super glue holding you and keeping you so together. Lisa, I think of you often. I admire your courage and light. I reflect on my own journey and try not to be too hard on myself. ‘A little step each day’. ‘Do what you can.’ ‘Keep the faith.’ Thank you Lisa. with love, Janine
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23 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 7:04 pm

We’re working on the team, one willful daughter meets one hormonal mother….then throw in the boys lol . We come close to some kind of ideal then fall back into old habits, still it’s that gradual closeness that keeps me going forward. Don’t be hard on yourself Janine, a little step each day is all we can do, our steps are still small and fraught with turbulent emotions xx
sending love and yep Keep the Faith xxxx
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24 Laury Bourgeois April 10, 2014 at 10:30 am

So much of what you said resonated strongly with me, but I think you hit the key 4 on the head: Peaceful, Joyful, Creative and Healthy. Thanks for sharing-Laury Bourgeois

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25 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Most welcome Laury and I am loving Danielle LaPorte right now.
xx
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26 Ryrie Wild April 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

Love the sage in the toilet and what a great strike of basil you have! Glad to hear how happy you are Lisa. Your children will thank you so much for the wonderful life you are giving them. Enjoy spring and your travels in the campervan.
Ryrie

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27 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

He’s resourceful that’s for sure, I never know what he’s going to do next. My rustic romantic courtyard ideas are fading fast lol xx
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28 Wynne April 10, 2014 at 1:54 am

Somehow, Sam putting flowers in the bidet and toilet seem fitting. ;) And I can’t wait to hear about the camper van adventures!

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29 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Oh doesn’t it, totally Sam lol xx
We just need to find a way to afford the diesel now arghhh x
sending love x
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30 Margaret | Destination Here&Now April 10, 2014 at 12:51 am

You sound like you’ve found your happy place this week. While you’re getting some sunshine and flowers the soft mists of autumn are starting to envelope us here. Lovely piece Lisa.
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31 Lisa Chiodo April 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

ohhh Happy place comes and goes lol
I seem like I just have it in my grasp and it slips away….more frustration than anything with all things technical and my site.
Otherwise all is wonderful, the valley is glorious and we are loving Spring xx
chat tonight x
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