I’m Charlotte, a 35 year old vegetarian British expat, living my dream in Naples, Italy. It hasn’t always been that way though (although I have always been veggie, but that’s another story…)
Just a few years ago, I was living the responsible commute-work-eat-sleep lifestyle, and I was frustrated and stressed. I was successful in my career and I had a lovely home and group of friends, but I wasn’t satisfied. Something was missing and with every day that passed, it felt like I was losing a part of what made me, me.
I’ve always been fascinated with different cultures and languages and, for as long as I can remember, I had wanted to live overseas. I’d travelled a lot and I’d had some great adventures. But every time I came back to Britain, I felt an overwhelming sense of loss. I just didn’t feel like I truly belonged there. My heart belonged someplace else.
Several trips to Italy later, I fell in love with the place – the food, the culture, the sun (coming from Britain, that was important…) – what wasn’t there to love? And, after a chance encounter with an Italian stranger, the wheels were set in motion to finally follow my dreams and live overseas.
In autumn 2014, I did my CELTA training to become an English teacher and, during one very frustrating, heinous day at work in the November, I handed in my notice with no other plan in mind apart from “I’m moving to Italy”.
So that’s how, in spring 2015, I moved to Naples. Needless to say, the Italian stranger turned out to be a catalyst for change and nothing more. But Naples has given me so much more in return than I could have asked for, including my amazing husband who I met here (and who is, incidentally, not Italian), a second language, friends, freedom, travel, and a life I’m happy with.
Now, I live in Naples with my husband, Anthony. He’s American and moved to Naples around the same time I did. He’s a great guy – caring, loving and easy-going. We got married recently, and I’m really looking forward to all the adventures we’ll have in the future!
We spend our time travelling in Italy and around Europe for about one or two weekends each month, playing pool, playing guitar, getting hooked on TV series’, swing dancing and hanging out with our friends who come from all over the place. I taught English for a while and had some lovely students, some of whom I now consider to be friends. There’s a big expat community here in Naples too, and we’ve been so fortunate to meet lots of great people in our time here.
What about being vegetarian?
I’ve always been that way. As a child, I was really difficult to feed and my parents despaired at mealtimes because I wouldn’t eat. They tried to give me meat and fish, and most of the time I refused it or was ill after I’d eaten it. They think I was a born vegetarian.
I’m what is known as an ovo-lacto vegetarian. That means I eat animal products, such as milk and eggs, but not actual meat, fish or seafood. I’d say I’m more of a relaxed vegetarian, so I still eat cheese that hasn’t been prepared using vegetarian methods for example and, living in Italy and travelling, I’ve had to turn a blind eye to some things I might have been fussy about in the past, like food being prepared in the same area as meat. Different countries have different standards.
Vegetarianism doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I’m pretty easy-going about it and I don’t let it limit me. I didn’t choose vegetarianism, it chose me, and it doesn’t feel any different for me. Most of my friends aren’t vegetarian, my boyfriend isn’t vegetarian, and my parents aren’t vegetarian. People often ask how I can travel and be vegetarian, but honestly, I don’t have any problems travelling or eating out anywhere, there is always something I can eat. Yes, some places are a little more challenging than others, but I’ve found I’ve always been able to eat pretty well overseas.
And so, that’s me, more ‘me’ than I have ever felt!
vegetarian – expat – Brit – traveller – adventurer – blogger – wife – daughter – friend
– and loving life
Join me as I explore some more, tell my tales of vegetarianism and expat life, and share my experiences of visiting new places.