Series – Everyday Women Who Have Redefined After 50 – Lisa CondieNov 02, 2020
Lisa's Background Story
Lisa Condie was a stay at home mom of two. She had a small fitness business and taught exercise classes, but being a wife and mom was her main focus. She married and raised her kids in Salt Lake City where she herself had grown up.
After 23 years of marriage, Lisa and her husband divorced. She describes the years after that as “not being married anymore but living that life and doing the same things I’d always done.” “I was living my life in reruns.”
Lisa took the first month to decompress and acquaint herself with her new surroundings. The second month was to go to language school. Third month was December and she kept that month for enjoying the Christmas season.
Lisa knew after her first month there that she had made the right decision. This was where she was going to stay. However, nothing prepared her for the loneliness and isolation that she felt living in a new place where she didn’t speak the language. She said, “I thought that’s what I was after, but it was more than I expected. We aren’t wired for that. We’re wired for community and support. And, eventually I created that. But it was really hard while I was going through it”
Now that Lisa was there to stay, she had figure out how she was going to earn a living. Because of the nature of her visa, she had to find something that would be based out of the United States that she could do in Italy. She began doing some writing for the Huffington Post while she figured it out.
As she started writing for the Huffington Post about her move and experiences, women began responding to her and asking if she could be a guide for them if they were to visit Italy. So, she decided to start a travel business.
Again, those internal mindset voices reared their ugly heads. “You’ve never run a travel business? How’re you going to do that?” This time, Lisa answered them with: “I’m not the housewife from Utah anymore. I can google just like everyone else.”
She set up her website, “Find Yourself in Tuscany” and booked her first group.
My eyes welled up as Lisa described her flight to Rome. “I was terrified. I thought, what am I going to do when I land? How am I going to get my luggage? How will I get to my hotel?” She finally gave herself permission to stay at the bed and breakfast once she got there until her daughter arrived. However, by Day 2 she said to herself, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to walk around this city on my own.”
After the cruise, on their final day of the trip back in Rome, Lisa went to get coffee. She was early and as the coffee was brewing she took in her surroundings. The clatter of the cups. The sound of the language. And she said to herself: “I belong here. I am joyful here and I haven’t been joyful for about a decade.”
Moving to Italy
Lisa got home, sold her house, car, and “the tons of stuff that I didn’t want or need anymore.” 3 months later at the age of 56, she was back on a plane to Italy. This time to live.
This transition didn’t come without pushback. Every woman that I have interviewed for this series has had mindset issues around their redefinition, and Lisa is no different. The voices in her head had been saying to her on and off throughout the years, “You failed at marriage and another relationship, you’re too old to teach fitness classes, your kids are grown, and really what are you doing?”
And, unfortunately, like others, Lisa also had the naysayers around her:
“You’re moving to Italy?” (said in an incredulous tone) Lisa: “Yes.”
“Do you have friends there?” Lisa: “No.”
“Do you know Italian?” Lisa: “No.”
“What do your children think? And so the questioning continued.
But, as Lisa says, “my kids were the only ones with a vote and they were nothing but supportive.” She knew if they needed her for anything she could be back. She told herself that she was going to carve out a little bit of time as a gift to herself. Time where she could learn about things she didn’t know – a new culture, a new language.
Back in Italy – Now What?
Several years later, in 2012, Lisa was in a relationship that was ending. The couple had been scheduled to go on a cruise with three days in Italy on either side. It was too late to get her money back so Lisa convinced her daughter to take off work and go with her. She could only take off for the cruise, so Lisa was to be in Rome on her own before the cruise.
It Doesn't Stop There
The first group was a success. So, Lisa sat down and started to figure out how to advertise and get the word out so that she could keep this going.
At around the same time, Huffington Post nominated her for their 50 over 50 series. Which resulted in Lisa being interviewed by the Today show. That interview fueled the next two years worth of tours.
It Keeps Going...
Women kept telling Lisa to write her story down. Once again, the mindset voices reared their ugly heads. “Who do I think I am? I’m not a writer!” She pushed them away and wrote her memoir, “I Found Myself in Tuscany.” Look for a book review from the blog post on this book in the future.
Lisa came back to Utah in 2018 after well over 6 years living in Italy. She decided at this point that she was ready to share her life with someone else and was going to give herself the year to meet that person.
Again, those voices entered her head, saying things like, “Who do you think you are? You’re 63! Who is going to want to be with you?” She pushed them away, started doing some online dating, and is now in love and happily married. She laughingly describes the “toads” she had to sift through before she found her love. However, at the time it wasn’t always funny.
Keep an eye out down the road for her next book on the subject of love and life. She hasn’t started it yet but it’s on her mind, and my guess is, it’s just a matter of time.
Parting Thoughts and Lessons
Lisa ended our chat talking about how important it is for people to realize that deciding to pursue our dreams is not always easy and you have to go through the bad stuff sometimes to come out on the other side. Her story has the happiest of endings but each step of it came with challenges – challenges that were necessary to meet and overcome in order to move her forward to where she is today.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela
Lisa Condie exemplifies this in her story over and over. What a story. What an inspiration.