Blog Posts, Interviews, Top, Travel

A conversation with Monica Cesarato: Food & Travel Blogger, Venice influencer, Food guide & cooking instructor

Half shotMonica, a native of Venice, Italy, picked herself up after the end of her marriage. Now she is a Venice specialist, following her passion for food & travel, inspiring other people.

Monica, your marriage ended, and that’s never easy. People start recovering in different ways. What did that look like for you? 

When my marriage abruptly broke up after 26 years, all of a sudden I had to take care of my family, with no economic security. I had to find the strength to carry on – so I concentrated on taking hold of my career, developing my social networking side and following my passion: food.

That’s admirable. Inspiring, really.

Well, I used my clients during my tours as therapy – I told everybody about my marriage breaking up and in that way I got it out of my system pretty fast. I feel sorry now for my poor guests who had to listen to me!

You’ve expressed before that the most difficult and the best parts of your new life are like mirror images of each other–having to make all the decisions alone and the freedom to make all the decisions yourself. Can you speak more about this? 

The most difficult decisions are financial. That’s still difficult, but before, every decision Headshotabout what to buy, whether to go out, where to work, and so on, always had to be taken with another person in mind. Now, if I want to go on holiday, I go where I want, when I want. Now the decision to do something is based on whether I want to do it. If I want to take a risk in business, I get to decide whether it’s worth it.

I totally understand! It’s hard to start life fresh, but there are silver linings. What has helped?

My friends. Every morning, every day I count myself lucky because I have many good friends.

Have you had any experiences with friends or loved ones falling away or not understanding this new era of your life? How do you handle that?

How can you handle it? If someone does not want to discuss the issues between you, you have to walk away. I was wronged when my marriage ended and had no choice but to start over, so generally people understand that. I have met or discovered new friends, and I have cut off people who are very negative because they take too much energy. I read this quote somewhere, and I love it: “The moment you stop living the dream of other people and living your own is when you finally start living.”

If life gives you lemon, make . . . limoncello, lemon cake, lemon curd, all lemony things. Because instead in wallowing in self pity, it is better to raise the head and fight and make do with what you’ve got.

That’s perfect, and so true! Any other wisdom you live by?

If life gives you lemon, make . . . limoncello, lemon cake, lemon curd, all lemony things. Because instead in wallowing in self pity, it is better to raise the head and fight and make do with what you’ve got.

I love this advice offered with your own twist of lemon! But I know you enough to know that your emotions rise and fall like everyone else’s. For me, by nature an optimistic person, so much time feeling low for months–years even– was particularly draining. How do you “raise the head” again?

I try to compare myself to who stays worse than me rather than to who stays better. For years I looked with envy to who had more than me. It puts you in a bad mood and is negative thinking. It doesn’t bring you anything. I stopped doing that when I realized there were people who are much worse than I was. “Wait,” I said to myself when a friend going through hard times confided in me. “Yeah, I have good things in my life.”

When I feel down, I always think about the fact that there is someone who has it worse than me. I try to think about what I have that others wish they had–like my sons or my work, for instance. It’s better to concentrate on the good things in your life and develop those. It’s all right to cry, to realize you have good days and bad days, but focus on the good days.

That’s a great strategy. I think it takes a little practice and discipline to shift our perspectives in this way, but it works for me, too. It’s ultimately about gratitude, I think. So what are you grateful for now?

Well, before the quarantine, I traveled more than I ever did in my entire life. Now with quarantine I am stuck at home, but I have the opportunity to talk to so many wonderful people with my new Instagram show, Venice Meets (links below). And I’m grateful that my hard work is paying off. I’m recognized as an established expert on Italy and Venice, and I have the respect of many professionals in all fields. 

A final word of encouragement?

Don’t give up, allow yourself to be sad and cry if you have to, but then raise your head and do not let anyone tell you, you cannot do it! Only you know your real limits – so go for it!

Monica, my friend, thank you for letting me cry with you over the years and for telling me I can do it. Those are great words that you truly live by. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

All photos used by permission from Monica Cesarato

Experience Venice with Monica or follow her online!

Instagram: @monicacesarato & @cookinvenice    

Twitter: @monicacesarato & @cookinvenice  

Facebook: @Monica Cesarato & @CookInVenice

YouTube Channel: Venice Meets

First meeting 2014
Monica Cesarato & Caron Guillo a few years back. Caron Guillo Photo.

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