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May 16 2012

My Dream of Being ‘Under the Umbrian Sun’

Since achieving a long-held goal of mine to travel around the world, I have continued to set goals.  One of these is to buy and live in a stone cottage in a tranquil setting near water (sea, a lake or river – I’m not fussy as long as it’s water) surrounded by land, with an array of plants, flowers, trees and shrubs.  I have a mental picture of it.  I thought my ideal place would be somewhere in France but, after a recent trip to Umbria, I might have changed my mind.

lake trasimeno, italy, umbria, dream

Having spent a night in a hostel by Lake Trasimeno, I went for a walk to San Feliciano the next day.  I enjoyed the fresh air, the view of the lake, and the beautiful green landscape.  On my return journey to Torricello, I saw a beautiful old two-story stone house tucked in off the road, surrounded by a sea of grass with a backdrop of trees.  It could see it was in need of some love, attention and… serious renovation.  As I neared the house, it reminded me of the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’.  I could imagine myself being like Frances (Diane Lane’s character in the film) and purchasing the property without even thinking of the consequences. ‘ If only it was for sale’, I thought.  As I approached the house, I did a double-take.  ‘Am I dreaming or is this house really for sale?’, I wondered.  On closer inspection of the sign on a tree by the roadside, it really was for sale.  My heart skipped a beat and I felt excited and nervous at the same time.  Was this fate?  Was I meant to find and buy this property just like Frances did?  I felt drawn to take a closer look.

house, country house, old house, italy, umbria, dream, countryside

The house

I crossed the main road and walked up the lane to the house.  It was empty and dilapidated but I loved it.  ‘It’s perfect’, I thought as I smiled to myself looking from the house to the magnificent view of the lake.  ‘ This is it’, I decided.  It certainly was the house I have dreamed and talked about.  The sensible part of me was thinking, ‘You can’t afford to buy it’ and ‘it will cost a small fortune to renovate and you don’t have the money’.  The romantic dreamer side of me was thinking ‘Just do it, you will find a way’ and ‘there’s no harm in just finding out the price’.  I spent a few minutes immersing myself in the dream and imagining living there with my partner and having family and friends to visit, drinking local wine and dining al fresco.  OK, back to reality.  I couldn’t indulge in the dream for too long.  I had a bus to catch to Magione because I wanted to get to Assisi before it got dark.  I took some photos to remind me of the place and to show my partner when I returned home.  I couldn’t just go ahead and buy the house, could I?

 

For the rest of my trip, I couldn’t get the property out of my head.  I kept thinking about it and even started talking about it as my house in Umbria.  OK, maybe that is a little crazy but the unconscious mind believes what you tell it (whether it is true or imagined) so maybe it’s not so crazy.

 

When I got home, I told my partner about the house and showed him the photos.  He loved it as much as I did.  I knew he would.  That gave me the courage to ring the vendor.  No one answered so I left a voicemail message in English because I don’t speak Italian.  Unfortunately, no one returned my call so this won’t have the same ending as the film.  Was it a missed opportunity?  Well, I believe it just wasn’t meant to be… not this time at least.

 

On a positive note, I now have a photograph of the type of property I want, the experience of being there, and a much clearer idea of the type of place and not just a mental picture.  It has also opened up my mind to other places I might like to settle and has given me a boost to getting this particular goal.  I know I will achieve it.  In the meantime, I will continue to visualise my dream property and look into opportunities where I can actually experience living in and working on a property similar to that through Helpx.  Maybe it will be Umbria, maybe not but I know that my dream property is out there somewhere just waiting for me to find it.

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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