How To Find Your Vacation Home
Life, the Universe, God, intuition – whatever name you have for it, speaks to all of us, and learning how to listen is key. The one thing I have realised is that if we do not listen to what we are being told, then we get a big ol’ slap in the face which forces us to go in the direction that we should have taken.
Over time I have learned to hear what I am being told, but of course I sometimes still get it wrong. But that’s ok, life is about learning after all.
I have always been drawn to overseas travel, and by that I don’t mean a week or two’s vacation, I’m talking long periods of time spent in different places so that I absorb life and culture in whichever country I find myself in. Where this thirst for new lands and experiences comes from, I am not sure. Only that it comes from within, and that’s good enough for me. I don’t need to analyse it, I just run with it.
When I get off of a plane, all my senses kick in – the climate, fragrance, language I hear and what I see in front of me excite me and I instantly connect to wherever I am. What is beyond the airport and what life is going on beneath those city lights in the distance? In warm countries the humidity or warm air softens the noises of other planes and traffic on the road outside, the smells of fresh air or flowers can also be overwhelming, people speaking a multitude of languages…. these are the things that make me realise that I am in a new land, where life is a million miles from the one I know. Now THAT is what I LOVE! New people, new experiences, a new way of living… a new life? These sensations ignite my soul.
With so many countries and places to visit, how on earth can anyone put down roots in one place? Here’s the answer – a vacation home is not necessarily a place for you to grow roots. It can be a place to call home, but the beauty is that it doesn’t mean you have to spend 12 months of the year in it.
Home can be wherever we are, and it doesn’t have to be only one place.
Many of us have travelled, and like many of us I would have to give five or more countries as my favourites. Italy ranks high up my list, and always has done ever since my first visit. If you want to buy a vacation home but aren’t quite sure where to buy, list your favourite countries and think about the feelings you get when you visit them. Which ones feed your soul, which ones make you feel alive and a thousand miles from your life at home? Which ones offer you an experience?
Then list the practicalities – how accessible are these countries? For example, one of my favourites is Mexico, and I would love to have a home there. But practically speaking, at this stage in my life it would not be feasible to own a property in the land of the Mayans. First of all, it’s too far away, and I want my vacation home to be somewhere I can spend a long-weekend in. As you can only fly directly to Mexico City (11 hours) from the UK and then have the possibility of waiting around for a connecting flight… well, this rules out the long-weekend option. Another thing I wanted in my vacation home was the chance to drive to it, where I am not restricted to carrying 20 or 30 kilos in luggage only, as I would be if I could only fly there. If I see a piece of furniture here in the UK that would look great in my house, I would want to load it into my van and drive it over. So I wanted somewhere reasonably close to home.
Italy ticks so many boxes for me. I love the culture, the history, the art. The different styles of buildings and architecture that vary region to region, the food, the wine, the scenery, the sea, the friendly people…. the list is endless. Italy makes me smile when I think about it. It gives me a great, warm feeling. Yes, it nourishes my soul.
AND I can either drive there in two days or fly there in two hours.
Another great thing about Italy is that it seemed to offer properties within my budget, which, all else aside, has to be a major factor in where you buy. I did not want a mortgage that I would have to pay while working in the UK, I wanted the complete freedom of owning a home outright that I did not have to slave away for during cold, dark British winters to pay for. If you have a large budget or are willing to use a mortgage to finance your vacation home, then tick this one off the list and explore your options. Think about the practicalities for you, think about the feelings a place gives you, and picture yourself living or vacationing there and connect with how this makes you feel.
When all else is said and done, it is the feeling you get that you can use to guide you. And don’t worry too much if there are no huge ‘a ha!’ moments, there will be a feeling within you that will tell you if you are on the right track. Our lives are speaking to us all the time, so just listen and you will know where you need to go. I had a chain of events that I used to guide me to the right place, which I will share later in future blog posts.
For now, if you are prepared to go with your feeling and are able to listen when your life speaks to you, you can’t go wrong.
Out Now – ‘A Prima Vista: Our Journey to Buying & Restoring an Italian Home’
Our guide on how to buy and restore a house in Italy is out now