The path to opening an inn and tour company in Italy has been anything but linear for Lisa and me. In fact, kind of like my life, it’s been full of twists and turns.
I will get into the details of our path from comfortable professional careers in Canada to opening a tourism business Italy`s beautiful Abruzzo region in subsequent blogs. To provide context, this blog and the previous one focus on who we are.
My story starts on a beef farm 50 kilometres south of Ottawa in the late 1960s where my Canadian parents ended up after a stint in Los Angeles where my Dad worked as a union organizer. My mother was the farmer while my Dad made the commute to Carleton University in Ottawa where he was a journalism professor.
I went to school in a tiny concrete block schoolhouse that’s now closed and I spent almost all of my time outdoors. When I was about 12 my parents divorced and I moved to Ottawa with my Mom, my two sisters and my brother and embarked on interesting decade or so.
You see, having a unionist/journalist/left wing/farmer family taught me to question authority and to not be afraid to stand up for what I thought was right. Turns out, these traits combined with raging hormones and a slight angry-young-man complex made an interesting mix.
I limped through high school and had a couple of attempts at university followed by a few years of bouncing from one bar job to another. I really did have a lot of fun, and I used to jokingly tell people I was practicing for a career as a ``rogue layabout``. But by the time I was 26, it looked like “tavern guy” really was going to be my career.
Realizing something had to change, I decided to go to college to study journalism. My Dad was a journalist, so I figured I might be good at it and covering sports seemed like it might be easy and fun. Seriously, that was my brilliant rationale, and it sort of worked out.
At the end of my two-year program, I was working part time for the Ottawa Citizen, a serious paper in the capital of Canada, covering everything from junior hockey to homicides to garden tours. A year later, I was a full-time cop reporter documenting human misery on daily deadlines. After four years of that, I graduated to covering the courthouse where each day for six years I bore witness to how a society deals with mind-boggling stupidity, brutality, mental illness, and depravity – and that was just the judges! (Ba-da-bump.)
After having enough of that, I transferred to covering Ottawa City Hall, and it was at this time our newspaper started to feel the descent gripping the declining industry. More and more was constantly being demanded from fewer and fewer people, and burn out was beginning to set in. So when I was approached by a City of Ottawa guy one day asking if I would be interested in a job in the bureaucracy, it was like a life line. The next day I had an interview for a job I didn’t quite understand, was offered the job, resigned from the paper, and cleaned out my office.
A couple weeks later, I started in the only position I’ve ever had at the City – Legislative Strategist – where I helped engineers, urban planners, and others responsible for building cities and keeping them running speak English.
So in short, my life/career path has been little farm dude to confused young man to junior rogue layabout/tavern star to reporter of sadness and hopelessness to government guy and now it’s time for something else.
And that next thing is co-owner of Amazing Abruzzo Tours and an inn in a beautiful part of Italy where we will host people, feed them, and take people to see incredible villages, wineries, beaches and a whole bunch more cool things.
Next Blog: Italy 2006 – Eight people, two cars, three weeks, one beautiful country.