Lisa owns Find Yourself In Tuscany, a luxury tour company, and is the author of I Found Myself In Tuscany, a memoir. Featured on the Today Show, Lisa was named one of Huffington Post’s ’50 Over 50′, a risk taker who had changed her life for the better. Lisa welcomes groups of women to Tuscany, and serves as a travel expert and consultant.
Lisa, you lived in your hometown of Salt Lake City enjoying a career in the fitness industry that spanned 32 years. But after a vacation to Italy in 2012, you sold your home and most of what was in it, left your business, retired your aerobic shoes, said goodbye to friends and family, and headed for Tuscany. You know that begs the question: Why?
I picked myself up off the floor (literally) where a partner had left me, and knew it was time to create my own life on my own terms. I craved beauty, learning about art, architecture, history, food and wine.
So you moved to Florence, Italy. What was that like?
After a lifetime of nurturing others, I found myself completely alone. It was equally terrifying and thrilling. I didn’t speak Italian and knew no one, so I felt very isolated for the first three months in Italy.
But you stuck it out.
I was deeply committed to my own well-being and growth. At the risk of sounding cliché, I discovered who I am—my strengths, what grounds me and brings me peace. I came to deeply understand what makes me happy and the direction I wanted to take for the last third of my life.
We’ve had several heart-to-heart talks over pizza, brunch, or wine. And I’ve read your terrific book. I know that you spent a lot of time and focus on emotional healing. Was that intentional when you moved abroad, or simply an unexpected by-product of your situation?
I knew I needed to heal, as well as purposely decide the direction I wanted to go in life. I felt that living alone, as well as placing a great distance between my old and new home, would allow me to get very quiet and clear on those objectives. I thought I would just go to Italy for three months, however . . . I stayed for seven years.
If you knew who walked beside you, on the path you have chosen, you would never experience fear or doubt again. ~ from the Course in Miracles
That sounds like a lonely process.
I believe that I never walk alone. From the Course in Miracles, “If you knew who walked beside you, on the path you have chosen, you would never experience fear or doubt again.”
That’s a beautiful reminder. So, what is the first step you recommend for someone feeling the need for emotional healing? Many women don’t have solitary lives, but their hearts are stirring nonetheless.
This is such a great question and one I considered when I wrote my memoir, I Found Myself In Tuscany. It is imperative for every woman to carve out some time to simply embrace being. We all need to turn off the constant stream of sound and hold a meditative space. I think this can be done while walking outside, in meditation or prayer. It’s a time to listen to our own soul speak, hear our breath, ask the big questions.
Being still, so to speak.
Being still is absolutely the font on all wisdom for me. I came to love the quiet stillness in Italy as much as I loved the cacophony of noise.
In recent years your life has blended that stillness with productivity and relationship. How important are female friendships to your journey?
Women friends were and are a most important part of my life. Initially, all of my tours were just for women and I put a tremendous amount of time and love into maintaining those relationships. A circle of close women friends have nurtured me on both sides of the ocean, and were invaluable to my happiness.
You were married last year. Did you ever come to peace with living life solo, or did you feel deeply that you needed another half? Did you feel the need to heal before exploring a new relationship?
Initially I just knew I needed time to heal before I dove into a new relationship. However, it wasn’t until I’d been alone for a couple of years that I started to embrace the idea that I may never desire another partner in my life. I was very much at peace living and traveling alone. Once I knew that I would live an extraordinary life whether coupled or solo, I gave myself permission to be open to the idea of someone coming in. It was another couple of years before that happened, but a most wonderful man showed up and we were married last October!
I love that you’ve done the hard work of getting to this place. What would you say you’ve learned about yourself through these experiences?
I have navigated the Italian Bureaucracy, grandmas in the Italian markets and learning a foreign language at 57 years old . . . nothing seems too daunting to try now! I have had many humbling experiences and know that I can always pick myself back up and start again.
If you could offer one piece of advice to other women facing change, what would it be?
When your soul speaks, listen.
My friend–a seeker of joy and a believer in serendipity–you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story with us here.
All photos used by permission from Lisa Condie
Find out more about Find Yourself in Tuscany or follow Lisa online!
Website: Find Yourself in Tuscany