The Winds of Change

The winds of change are blowing in my life. At this point, I’ve seen many changes, both good and bad, but all of them have cumulatively led me to this wonderful place in my life. I have never been afraid of change and always approached it with optimism for the future. That being said, it doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of sleepless nights, anxiety, and concern. And so it goes with this change. I am excited, inspired, invigorated, intrigued, and ready to begin my new adventure. This time, I won’t be doing it alone, which is always a comfort.

My husband and I have decided to move to Morocco. We will be relocating to Tangier on September 30th. We are leaving on a ship from Genova for a forty-eight-hour voyage into Tangier’s Medport. We have secured an apartment on the seaside for our first five weeks while we look for permanent housing. We have packed up about 20 boxes of our precious belongings, secured passports for our two cats, sold all of our other worldly possessions and are ready to start anew!

I’m getting to be quite the expert at paring down my possessions, and the things that I packed to bring are odd and mostly of little value. They are the things that for me make a house a home. They are reminders of my past and my experiences and memories.

Why? Because dreams never really stop. Do they? I dreamed of living in Italy and have had an absolutely magical time here. Eight years of learning about the Renaissance, making new friends, learning a new language, embracing a new culture, falling in love, getting married, eating and drinking fabulous food and wine, and living “La dolce vita”. It’s been perfect. Well, almost.

There are a couple of things that caused us to consider another place to live. Bureaucracy in Italy takes its toll, and for us, documentation issues don’t give us the freedom to travel together outside of Italy, something that we both feel very strongly about. Secondly, between not being able to find full-time work, the taxes that must be paid, and the cost of living, it creates an unnecessary economic environment for us.

My husband is from Morocco. He grew up in Meknes, which is about 4 hours on the train from Tangier. He originally suggested Tangier as a possibility because it is a large, upcoming city with lots of growth and national attention. It is a “western civilization” due to the international flair coming from the influences of France and Spain combined with Moroccan history and exoticism. One hour on the ferry from Spain, you can hear many languages lilting across the warm sea breezes where the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Seas come together.

In order to make this big life altering decision, I decided to visit Tangier on my own. It was important for me to learn if I was comfortable walking alone in the streets, shopping in the stores, eating out, communicating with locals etc. Of course with my husband there, it would be easy, but I am independent and would like to stay that way. You can read more about my trip in upcoming blogs, but suffice it to say that not only was I comfortable, I was inspired, and fell in love with this amazing city. The decision turned out to be an easy one.

So, here we are, just a few weeks away from the big move. I will no longer be An American in Italy! Oh, what to do about that? Well, first of all, I want to thank you all for your loyal readership. It has been wonderful to share this part of my journey with you all. Secondly, I would like to invite you to follow me as I continue my journey and change the direction of my dreams. In fact, my new blog will be called, The Direction of Your Dreams and you can find it here.

You can also find me on Facebook.

The new blog will be similar to this one but will have more personal essays as I explore my new home, encounter a new culture, learn yet another new language, and travel to/from and around Africa. On Monday, September 18th you can start to learn all about the preparations for the voyage and my experiences along the way. See you there!

35 Comments on “The Winds of Change

  1. WOW! What a change! This sounds so exciting, and a logical move, Karen. I’m really glad I got to meet you while you were in Florence but who knows, we may meet in Morocco!! I have my own reasons for someday visiting parts of Africa. I wish you a soft landing and many wonderful experiences to come, and for sure looking forward to your new blog entries. Ciao!

  2. Well, this was a big surprise! I think I speak for all of your readers when I say we look forward to seeing Morroco through your eyes! It will be wonderful!

  3. Looking forward to following you as you continue on your journey. Can’t wait to learn about a place I have never been to and don’t know much about. Best wishes and safe travels.

  4. Dear KAren, As I mentioned earlier best of luck to you and Ben. You might like this quote,
    “I know it is hard to be reconciled not everything is exactly the way it ought to be, but please turn around and step into the future leave memories behind, enter the land of hope.” Zbigniew HErbert, from a Life.
    I am sure you will have no trouble making this new adventure everything you want it to be. Buona Fortuna! WHo knows perhaps someday we will visit Morocco again. Ciao.

  5. Wishing you the best. Have been reading your blog almost from the beginning after seeing an article in the NY Times, I think. Love Florence and keeping up with you was like a return visit to a favorite place. Godspeed, Karen.

  6. ciao ciao, cara karen – ive been thinking of you and ben and send my love from beautiful northern CA…..buon viaggio…….con amore, paula

  7. We’re moving to Italy on October 1 — maybe we’ll have to visit you in Morocco now! Hope you will continue the blog, and best of luck to you and Ben!

    • Congratulations Linda! Where in Italy will you be residing? It would be lovely to see you in Morocco. Baci,k

      • We are moving to Ascoli Piceno, a lovely town in the Marche with a lot of history. It’s well known to Italian tourists, but not so much to foreign tourists, which is part of its town. There is a (tiny) expat community. I will send my e-mail and other information to your e-mail address.

  8. Although I don’t know you personally, I have been following your adventures in Italy for quite some time now – I wish you well in your new adventure! By coincidence I was reading only yesterday about an Australian artist who used to live close by to me, has now settled in Morocco permanently (Essaouira), often leading art tours, and I was thinking what a brave and wonderful idea! I totally understand the reason for this move and even though I love travelling to Italy and experiencing all the incredible things there I realise that everyday life is easier here in Australia. Looking forward to reading about your new life!

  9. What a fantastic change! You write so well that it almost brought tears to my eyes! It will be a pleasure to follow you to Morocco! Best of luck!

  10. WOW. . . said to hear about the Italian government beating you down, but glad to see that you and Ben are unstoppable. I hope the move and home search goes well and I look forward to reading about your new adventures. Buon viaggio and take care! xx

    • Thanks Kelly. I know you visited Morocco and had some fabulous painting inspirations as a result. Maybe we will see you there again one day. Baci, K

  11. Wishing you every good thing and blessing. Thank you for all your help in the past. I am sure you will create another wonderful life.


  12. Ciao, cara karen I just arrived in Florence again last week and am glad you have not left yet. Perhaps we can have coffee before you leave. I will gladly continue to read your columns and if I gather enough courage may perhaps also visit Morocco someday.


    • Hi Susann,

      It would be lovely to see you before I go. We’re having coffee at Gilda on Wednesday if you can join. Baci, K

  13. I too have read your blog for many years and look forward to reading about your new adventures in Morocco! How very exciting! I can’t wait! The best to you and Ben.

  14. Karen,
    Truly a surprise, and happy for both of you.
    Thank you for allowing me to revisit
    many of my favorite places in Firenze
    as well as discovering new ones
    through your blog.
    Looking forward to seeing
    Morocco, etc. through your eyes.

  15. Thank you Karen for sharing your Italian adventures. Best wishes to you on this new chapter.

  16. Karen: haven’t checked in in awhile. Exciting news! I’d love to see Morocco and Jim and I have even
    Discussed spending the winter in Morocco when we do our 2 years in France. Can’t wait to read about your adventures in Morocco.

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