The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

Welcome to May: A month of living La Dolce Vita

After a month of partying, we’re ready for a quieter life. Fewer late nights and hangovers, and more self-TLC: more sleep, more relaxation, more stopping to smell the roses, more broccoli on our dinner plates…

OK. Maybe not the broccoli. You can have too much of a good thing.

But the sleep, relaxation, and sniffing the roses — they’re all part of living a good life.

A sweet life.

In other words: La dolce vita.

A gateway to the sweet life

A “displaced” life, by definition, is a gateway into experiences we probably wouldn’t have had if we’d stayed home: new places, new people, new perspectives.

While for some this means pushing excitement and new experiences out of your personal comfort zone somewhere into the moon’s orbit — yes, Tony James Slater, I’m thinking of you! — for others, this gateway is one that leads to la dolce vita.

A life of self-indulgence, or indulging yourself in Life?

How do we define la dolce vita?

It’s a phrase that entered the English language after the 1960 Federico Fellini film of the same name, and literally translates to “The sweet life.” It sounds harmless enough, if a little vague.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary takes a more Puritanical view of the translation, and condemns it as “a life of indolence and self-indulgence.”

For our purposes this month, however, we’re going with the definition Barbara Conelli gives at the beginning of her book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita:

To live a dolce vita means living with an open heart and soul, indulging in life with all your senses. It means having the eyes to see real beauty, having the nose to smell intoxicating scents, having the ears to hear dreamy sounds, having the mouth to taste delicate flavors, having the body to perceive soft sensations. It means being aware of yourself, of your emotions and desires. It means finding happiness in ordinary yet unique things.

What sort of things are we talking about? Well, I guess it depends on the person.

Respite. Sleep. A massage. Meals you don’t have to cook or cater. Looking up at a different sky. Heart-stopping views. Silence. Walking barefoot on the beach at sunrise. Or sunset. Or midnight.

Another way of putting it?  “A life that caters to the pleasures of the senses” — that’s the definition of “Hedonism.”

How TDN will be living la dolce vita in May

Later this month, we will be reviewing Barbara Conelli’s new book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore, and interviewing best-selling author Douglas Kennedy, whose book Temptation reveals downsides of the materialistic dolce vita. We will also be talking to several global nomads about how they define, and live, their own dolce vita.

One of these Random Nomads will be Jeff Jung. Many people who’ve reached mid-life realize that they haven’t smelled the roses in a while, and some are now taking time out of the rat race in order to do just that.  Jeff, who specializes in mid-life gap years, is now settled in Bogota, Columbia, where he markets instructional videos for people preparing for career breaks.  You can read more about Jeff and his philosophy on mid-life gap years here.

Until tomorrow’s interview with another Random Nomad, though, I’ll leave you with more words from Barbara Conelli:

Live your own dolce vita no matter where you are in the world. Because la vita e bella, life is beautiful, and the most amazing wonders of this world often hide in the simplest things.

STAY TUNED for Wednesday’s Random Nomad interview with artist Isabelle Bryer, French expat in the City of Angels.

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