In the summer 2012, while we were on our annual visit to her ancestral village in Abruzzo, Italy, my wife Lisa Grassi-Blais and I took a secret side trip to look at properties that could host a tour company. We wanted to see if our idea of quitting our day jobs and moving to Italy was really feasible. We found two properties that could work and the confidence that we could do it.
After deciding that a tour company and villa in Abruzzo, Italy was the key to our future, in the winter of 2012 my wife Lisa Grassi-Blais and I started researching to see if it was really feasible. Right away, we realized this was going to be a long, difficult process, we were bucking conventional financial wisdom, and that we needed help. But also we realized we were undeterred.
Sometimes complex problems are solved with simple ideas. It happened to my wife Lisa Grassi-Blais and I in late 2011 when we were trying to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives. We were doing the dishes one night when she suggested we look into the possibility of moving to Abruzzo, Italy and opening a tourism business. I knew right away that it was going to happen.
When my wife and I both hit our mid-life crisis points at the same time 2011, we decided to go through them together. We didn't know it at the time, but the process we followed led to where we are today as we put the finishing touches on a villa in Abruzzo, Italy and get ready to receive our tour company's first guests in May 2016.
By 2011, Lisa and I were coming to the conclusion that we needed to change our lives. We didn't know it at the time, but a few months later we would pack in our careers in order to work on opening a boutique tour company in Italy.
A big part of the reason we quit our careers in order open an inn and tour company in Abruzzo, Italy was the warmth and support we received from friends and relatives in Lisa's ancestral village of San Sebastiano. In this blog post, you get to meet some of them.
In 2007, we returned to my wife Lisa's ancestral village high in the Apennine Mountains of Abruzzo, Italy to meet her long lost extended family. The sheer number of relatives and their genuinely warm welcome during that trip kept us coming back, and it played a big role in the events that led us to opening an inn and tour company in Italy.
If Cesidio Grassi didn't make a 250 kilometre drive in April 2006 with the goal of urging some relatives he'd never met to return to Abruzzo during the annual August festa in San Sebastiano, my wife Lisa's ancestral village, we might have never returned. But he did, and because he did, in May 2016 we will open our inn and tour company in Abruzzo.
Our journey from comfortable careers in Ottawa, Canada to opening an inn and tour company in Abruzzo, Italy began with a trip to Italy in 2006. There were eight of us from two families for three weeks, and rediscovered my wife Lisa's Italian roots. It was an incredible experience to see decades of lost contact melt away in minutes.
My road to becoming an inn and tour company operator in Italy hasn't been direct, but it's been a fun trip, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
My partner on this Amazing Abruzzo adventure is Lisa Grassi-Blais, my wife and the driving force behind almost all of the good things that have happened to me in the last 15 years.
It all started with a love of travel and now we are putting the finishing touches on our villa and tour company in Abruzzo, Italy.