Cherrye’s blog, My Bella Vita, was one of the first blogs to introduce me to the wonderful world of blogging. Cherrye is a Texas-born freelance writer currently living in Catanzaro, Calabria. Her blog is very entertaining and focuses on a wide variety of topics, including one topic in particular that is very near and dear to my heart, Calabria.
My Bella Vita was also one of the first blogs to inspire me to create my own blog. So, as you can probably imagine, I was really excited when Cherrye agreed to answer some of my questions.
Alright then, let’s get this party started. Here are “5 Questions With…Cherrye of My Bella Vita”
My Bella Vita explores so many different topics, what was your original inspiration for starting the blog and how has it evolved?
My Bella Vita started as an online journal, as a way to keep family members and friends back home up to date with what was going on in my new life here in Calabria. I remember the first time I had a comment from someone who wasn’t a family member or “real life” friend. I was shocked-and honored. Over the years it has become more focused and is updated every week day. I feel like we have a good community.
Pietre Grande beach near Catanzaro
Your blog has been around for some time now, how do you choose what topics to write about?
I know it sounds cheesy, but there really isn’t a shortage of inspiration here in southern Italy. Every day I get at least two or three new topic ideas. They come from random signs I saw in a store window, from my sometimes futile attempts at getting adjusted to Calabria or even from just talking to my neighbors.
I carry a small notebook and pen in my purse to jot ideas and I keep an editorial calendar just for My Bella Vita blog posts. When I need a new idea or when I’m not feeling motivated to write from my notes, I go to StumbleUpon, Twitter or read through my Google Alerts for inspiration.
Cherrye and Peppe the weekend she moved to Calabria
You recently celebrated the three year anniversary of your move to Italy. What was the biggest challenge for you when you first moved to Italy?
I had been here dozens of times and thought I understood Italy. I knew Italians liked to take afternoon strolls and eat big meals so I thought I “knew” the country. I wasn’t prepared for the culture shock.
I also think there is a big difference between an expat who relocates for another person (in this case, my husband) and someone who relocates because they are in love with the country. There are very different dynamics at play and in fact, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book about how to relocate to another country for someone you love.
What has been the greatest thing to come out of My Bella Vita?
Hands down-it is the people. I’m still amazed at the flood of support I had when my father died. I received hundreds of emails and even some cards in the mail from blog friends. We all connect in a unique way and when we finally meet in person, it is like we are extending a friendship-not starting one. In fact, I’m still waiting on your next trip to Calabria so we can meet face-to-face.
Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast
For those who may not already know, you are also a freelance writer and B&B owner. How do you find the time? What are some tips and tricks you can share with other bloggers and writers who may also find themselves in a juggling act?
I treat My Bella Vita like it is a job. Even though I enjoy it, it is on my to-do list every week, along with other articles and posts I write for clients. On a typical day, I help my husband with our bed and breakfast for a few hours in the morning, then he takes over and I start writing. I’m pretty selective with the assignments I accept from clients, and although I know I could make more money if I wasn’t, maintaining balance between work and my home life is a priority.
Thanks Cherrye for taking the time to answer these questions. I am looking forward to meeting faccia a faccia in Calabria very soon!
Continue following Cherrye’s adventures in the bel paese @ My Bella Vita.