Guardia Sanframondi

Earlier today I was looking online at real estate listings in Greece. It’s amazing what you can get for your money, and in such an amazing climate, such a beautiful part of the world and with such history everywhere you turn.

I started doing some savings calculations and quickly realized that if I want to purchase at least one place here in the US — as well as in Greece — I probably should’ve started saving when I was 6.

All the Greek abode browsing put me in the mood for HGTV this evening, and there happened to be an episode of House Hunters International on. Score.

There was nothing Greek about it, but instead a painter from Scotland was in the process of identifying a home to buy in Guardia Sanframondi, Italy, a picturesque medieval town full of ruins, some newer places, homes decorated with window boxes and winding pathways — all in the shadow of an ancient castle. Breathtaking beauty.

A starving artist of sorts, she longed for inspiration in her surroundings. She felt that her work was feeling confined, and that if she moved and found a new environment, she would paint and create with more freedom.

She had pulled together all her savings and had $15,000 to spend on a place with a living area separate from a more public space for showing and displaying her art. Her agents showed her three places, and at the end of the day, she found one that would make her heart sing…yes, for her tiny budget.

Unlike the US-centric episodes which seem riddled with would-be homeowners who fixate on the most ridiculous “shortcomings” (e.g., “I don’t like the light fixtures,” “I don’t like the paint color,” or “The showerhead is too low”), the artist was captivated by her chosen residence’s flaws. She embraced its character that others may have found archaic, she was overjoyed by its battle scars and couldn’t wait to make it her own.

During the episode, her Italian agents took her to a local winery for a sampling of its offerings. While they were tasting, she commented on how she made so little in Italy from her art that she never really had enough extra money to purchase even a good bottle of wine.

It made me realize not only how much we take for granted, but how little this woman had and how willing she was to risk it all by exhausting her savings and uprooting her life to move 1600 miles away and to try her craft in a new environment. All because she believed in it.

I think we’re all lacking belief to some degree or another in our own lives. That she found it in a distant locale, was ready to take a leap and discover inspiration outside of her comfort zone was exactly what I needed tonight.

This evening I am thankful for Guardia Sanframondi, its magic which captivated a stranger and for the desire to find my own version of that little town. I hope that starving artist has found a niche in Italy that’s providing frequent bottles of good wine, and I hope we can all find similar delights to enjoy.

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