There have been so many hard parts about this last year. For my family, and my extended family and so many of my friends, who make a living from tourism, it was almost “too much” to bear at some points.
I’ve shed a good amount of tears about it all over the last 16 months. When we first experienced the “free fall” — the rush of refund requests and lockdown measures in Italy — I would wake up in tears in the middle of the night because of the stress. My husband, having seen what I went through to get a company off the ground and now see it freefall, would just hold me until I calmed down and would fall back asleep. I cringe writing this, but that’s really how it went.
The stress was HEAVY. I went through a few weeks of laying catatonic in bed after I had hustled for weeks trying to deal with all the craziness in the Italian Fix inbox. It felt like Armageddon and my team was BEAT DOWN. And scared. But even if tourism wasn’t your bread and butter, there’s just been a collective exhaustion — we’ve all dealt with so much disruption in our lives and habits.
I feel an energetic lift as we seem to have more freedom to start making plans for the future with more certainty. My mission since building Italian Fix from scratch from my kitchen table has always been about helping. About the transformative effects of “leaving your driveway” and learning new ways of thinking, of doing, of being. Because we’re a tiny company, totally self-funded without a million-dollar line of credit, we were particularly affected by lockdowns that made it illegal for us to do business. The company has not collected a cent in revenue for over a year, and because of that, it’s had a massive trickle-down effect. At one point, I thought I would LOSE my company. After a decade of building it — I didn’t have enough cash flow to process hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds and also see a way for me to stay operational with monthly expenses and zero opportunity to make revenue. I considered for a split second remortgaging my home to stay afloat. That’s how scary things have gotten for the thousands of small businesses in every corner of the globe. Some governments have given bailouts to companies, but that’s just a tiny percentage of businesses and of countries doing that. The rest of us just had to “think fast”, be resilient and hold our breath until we could get back to business.
I grew up with a single mom who worked multiple jobs to keep us fed. I know what it’s like to be scared that bills can’t be paid — so this was familiar territory. I knew I had it in me to keep going. I have been writing these emails to deliver a sense of optimism and fun through the darkness — I needed it just as much as I believe my clients have needed it. I hope they have brought a sense of fun, of good vibes. Of light in the darkness. Now that Europe’s borders are welcoming foreign travelers, I’m working hard behind the scenes to see what is to become of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. What I’m seeing is massive pent-up demand. I’m servicing my current clients first. Then I’ll be working my way through new client requests. This is for 2021 and 2022 dates, of which we are putting all the details together now.
If you’ve been reading along, hanging out at this fun internet campfire for a while now, I do encourage you to click on my calendar and book a call with me if you’re not a current or past client (they hear directly from us). Because if you want to go to Italy with my company — a company that would LOVE to do business with you, who will treat you like gold and who will service you to the moon and back (if you’re the right kind of client. Not everyone is suited to our company and we’ll tell you that up front) — we want to make that happen.
I’m likely booking everything by phone, and not doing a big splashy “tour preview” like we usually do. We don’t have the resources to do that — that costs a lot of money — we’re doing this as simply as possible. If you want to be considered to travel on a 2021 or 2022 reservation — put your request in by booking a call with me.
If I don’t see you on my calendar I’ll assume that you’re not interested in traveling with us, and I won’t make room for you inside our plans for any 2021/2022 dates.
I have opened my calendar this weekend to fit everyone in. I’ll be downing the triple espresso ‘cause I already see my calendar very full with bookings. Deadline for this round of calls is Sunday.
Ok, now scroll for today’s “yes I can” vibes …
POST ON YOUR DREAMBOARD
Enjoying a big concert, in person, in Italy. Italy won the Eurovision Song Contest this past week (Europe’s distant cousin of American Idol), so Eurovision 2022 will be in Italy. I love that some concerts in Italy are hosted in the most amazing locations. Check out the Greek Theatre in Taormina, Sicily (pictured). So many icons have played there. Here’s a link to booking concerts in Italy.
Speaking of super beautiful locations, I can’t get enough of this Florentine art studio that also lets mere mortals book stays. If you’re artsy, if you love beautiful things, if you like to be surrounded by culture and people who do artsy and beautiful creative things, get yo’ buns in the smooth sheets at Numeroventi. Featured in all the grooviest architecture mags, they’ve done an amaze job at sticking out in the sea of overnight options in Florence — one of my top locations on planet earth. (I go back every chance I can get, after my short stint as a student there in my 20’s. Who else loves Florence?)
WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW
A few years ago I hosted a series of workshops in the village of Riomaggiore, in the Cinque Terre. I would rent out the whole castle (it’s tiny) and the workshops attracted so many interesting people from all over the world. Here’s a pic from one of them. When I started offering consulting for people looking to build a micro-lifestyle business, some of the people who joined that in-person workshop many years ago are now my clients, again! We have been working together inside this program, and I’m accepting a new round of people. Click here if you would like to build a micro-lifestyle business that can also accommodate your travel habit. You’ll work directly with me, and meet a bunch of great people, from the comfort of your pajamas at home. More here.
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With love + tiramisu,
PS I’m now accepting calls for anyone interested in hearing about the 2021 schedule and 2022 season. Please find a time in my calendar here. First come, first served. I have my calendar open for the next few days.