One year and two days ago, I took a plane and flew into a new chapter of my life. It was a somewhat hasty decision. I was at my 6th semester of my bachelor in international hospitality management, and on the 7th semester, I was required to take a 3-months internship.
I have a few passions in my life. One is food. Another is Italy. And a 3rd is the life I have created with my boyfriend. I left two of them behind, when I decided to work with tourism destination development in Campi Flegrei just outside of Naples, Italy.
I had already secured myself and internship in my home city, Aalborg, where I live and studied. It was in one of my favourite restaurants (Italian obviously) where I was to work with developing a few projects the restaurant were planning. This means that I could actually keep all three of my big passions. But I decided to do something else.
The day I came to Campi Flegrei on a study trip changed my direction. I was amazed at the place. The food, the people, the ambience, the landscape.. Everything. After the trip I wrote a project about strategy in the destination. And due to many pokes from my lecturers who had been part of the study trip and had seen me in the destination, I became more and more attracted to the idea of doing my internship there.
Finally I made my decision, after weighing pros and cons and heavy discussions with my boyfriend. I wrote to one of my lecturers (find his blog here) who grew up in Campi Flegrei, moved to Denmark, started teaching at my university and who had arranged the study trip, and asked him to help me get in contact with a certain organisation to arrange an internship there. That was one month before I hoped to be able to travel.
I knew it would be difficult and that I would disappoint a few people, particularly my boyfriend, but the destination was pulling in me so hard that I had to ignore everything else, and just hope it would be okay afterwards.
One and a half month later I arrived in Naples airport and felt completely lost.
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Everything about it was hard. Taking the decision. Going. Being there. Living there. Making a life there. Making friends there. And not to mention going back home which gave me a bit of a culture shock. But it’s also one of the best decisions in my life. I cried so many tears during my stay there, but they were worth it. And thankfully my three passions survived. I’m even more in love with both food, Italy and my boyfriend, and ever thankful that he supported my adventure.
The destination will have a special place in my heart always, and I even went there in April and have another vacation planned there in September. This time I’m bringing my man.
But today, approximately a year after I went, I can myself thinking about it all and how it affected me. There are not enough words to describe it. But that place does something to you. I’ve felt it. My friends have felt it, when they went. And hopefully many more will feel the power of such a true place.
I hope the destination will stay as pure as now forever.