I got a chance to interview Chantelle, who shares her passion for travel and how she started The Italian on Tour.
what is the name of your blog? www.theitalianontour.com
What job did you quit to travel? CPA
How did you end up where you are now? (Why did you choose the destination you are in now) The Italian On Tour (my travel company that I run with my hubby) was truly born in 2014 on our wedding day. We brought together friends and family from all over the world to experience a slice of our La Dolce Vita in Le Marche, Italy. From one of Italy’s Most beautiful squares to the Villa we got married at, each and every guest at our wedding got to really go behind the scenes and experience the real Italy. After reflecting on this day, how happy our guests were, and how amazing it was to share our Italy with them, our passion for authentic Italian travel experiences was lit up and The Italian On Tour was born. In fact we still relive this day every time on tour when we bring guests to cook and eat at the very villa where we had our wedding reception and when we take them to the Palace of the Captains were we had our ceremony. Each and everyone of our itineraries focus on truly getting to know our territory with a local’s perspective. Giovanni (my hubby) grew up in the area, and we now live here as locals 365 days a year. We love being able to give our clients access to our personal relationships and our insider knowledge that isn’t attainable unless you call the area home. It is a very boutique, small group experience, where our guests come as strangers and leave as friends. We take care of our guests every step of the way, as if they were travelling with their local Italian best friends.
What do you currently do for income? My hubby and I run our travel company called The Italian On Tour. We give food and wine lovers a backstage pass to experiencing Italy like a local.
What did you do to get the income/work you have now? My hubby grew up in the area that we offer tours in and I have been traveling to Italy since I was 18 years old. I have a lot of experience traveling to Italy like a local, and we have been showing friends and family our territory for many years before deciding to leave my career as a CPA and pursue my passion for authentic Italian travel. When we took a leap of faith and moved to Italy permanently we spent the first year trying, testing and tasting everything to make sure it was up to our standards and really showcased the hidden gems that we want to bring our clients to.
Why did you quit your job? I love numbers, but for as long as I can remember my passion has always been travel. After a solo backpacking trip across Italy at 18, I had always longed to return and had really cherished those moments where I got to truly connect with the locals. Seeing the beautiful sites was one thing, but experiencing meaningful travel that connects you with the locals in only a way you can experience when you travel with someone who grew up in the area is a whole other ball game. Nowadays Italy’s well known destinations (Like Rome, Venice and Florence) are feeling the negative effects of over-tourism. I wanted to be able to give travelers a chance to experience the real Italy, and have amazing culinary experiences that are simply difficult to find in areas where tourists out number the locals. Being able to give people a chance to experience genuine Italian life, is one of the most rewarding experiences as we become part of their lives and memories that they will cherish.
How long did it take you to leave your job to travel? It took me about a year. It was an international move and a big life commitment that took careful planning.
What advice do you have for others who want to quit their jobs to travel? You need a plan, but don’ t be afraid to veer from that plan. You might be surprised where life and traveling to another country will take you. Before I fell in love with an Italian, I always thought I would move to Spain and look at me now I am living in Italy and enjoying every bit of what Italians like to call La Dolce Vita.
How has this experience (leaving your job to travel) changed you? Travel has always opened my eyes to new perspectives and giving me a greater understanding for how other cultures live. When you become more compassionate it truly opens doors to meeting people from so many different walks of life.
If a person wanted to do what you do now for income, what would they have to do? They would need to have deep personal connections with the locals and years of experience traveling and living in that region where they are planning to tour with their clients. For us it is our personal connections with all the people we work with that makes what we do different then mainstream tour operators. We didn’t just meet our partners over the internet or at a big travel trade show, we know them personally, ate with their family, and connected with them on a level that is personal. Each and everyone we can truly call our friends.
What destinations have you been to since quitting your job? I have been traveling Italy from North to South extensively as I am always building on my Italy expertise with every trip we take. Italy’s culture varies so much regionally so it is important to travel Italy thoroughly. I have also been back to Canada (where I am originally from) and visited throughout the US where we have friends and family.