The courage to change ~ part one

October 15, 2009

My friend, Diana Baur,is the proprietress of Baur B&B in the Piedmonte section of Italy. Diana and her husband, Micha, moved to Italy some six years ago to restore this old property and open it to guests.

It takes courage to make this kind of change at mid-life. I’ve asked Diana to share her story in a guest blog post.

Over the next two days, you’ll read a little about Diana’s story. And what it takes to make a life change this huge. Here’s Diana:

The Power of the Backpack
There was once a woman whose life had brought her a foreign place where she knew no one. She had everything she ever held dear in her backpack.

When she got to the desert, she started to cross the sand. After a few steps, she could see an oasis in the distance, and started walking in that direction.

Soon her back was aching to the point where she could not go on. She found shelter near a dune, and decided to stop there and rest overnight, scared to move ahead, scared to move backwards, because with her back hurting so much, both meant certain death.

The thought of living without the treasures in her backpack was unimaginable – they were the experiences that had gotten her thus far in life, and she could not discard them.

In the night, an angel appeared in her dreams, and said one sentence to her.

“Have you forgotten that you have pockets?”

She woke up and immediately began removing the things from her backpack and redistributing them into her pockets, tucking some of them in her socks and shoes, wrapping some of them around her waist. She threw her backpack in the sand, and with new Energy, reached the oasis by sunrise with a bounce in her step where she drank from the fountain of Life.

It is somewhere around mid-life that we start an unconscious review of the components of our lives. Things have started causing us pain that before were of no consequence. Relationships, jobs, children, commitments, running around doing/shopping/helping/cleaning have brought us to a point where we are, well, tired. Tired with a Capital T.

And we have the sinking feeling inside that if we continue on this path, the path we set for ourselves in our twenties or thirties or even in our energetic forties, we might not live long enough to apply for Social Security.

When these things happened to me, I was already in a foreign country living an expatriate life. My backpack had been full for a long time. Full of having adjusted to new cultural norms, a new language, a new career as a language and cultural trainer, a new currency, and an old case of corporate burn out which I had buried way down in my back pack and brought with me from the States.

By the time we made the decision to change our lives and become innkeepers in Italy, my back was killing me.

But I kept going. I worked like crazy, like women do everywhere, to make it all happen. But my backpack kept getting in the way of me fully enjoying the process-until one day, when the straps broke, and my life fell down around me on the floor, in all of its parts.

The parts turned out to be quite interesting.

This is Part One of a Diana’s story. For more information about Diana, see her blog at For more on Baur B&B, see www. Part Two tomorrow.

11 comments on “The courage to change ~ part one
  1. michelle | bleeding espresso says:

    Wonderful Diana! Can’t wait to read Part 2 😀

  2. west by south says:

    Diana has been inspiring me for months thru her written word. Tomorrow, at age 50, I leave corporate life as I know it, for adventures unknown! I can’t wait to read part 2 tomorrow!

  3. Congratulations, west by south! You won’t regret it. There are many of us on the road less traveled and it’s an interesting journey. Best of luck! And glad to have you as a reader!

  4. Dana Sue says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Stresa Sights says:

    Can’t wait to read part 2 Diana…

    Middle-Aged Diva… I love your blog btw… I lurk here often.


  6. Thanks Dana! i know yours too!,

  7. Anne in Oxfordshire says:

    A lot of courage and belief in yourself, which is something I do not I am stuck..also I believe your partner has to want it too!

    I have never had a clue what I wanted to do, still don’t, except one thing and that is to travel around Europe for a year..but I am married..! At least now I have a chance to go to Paris to visit my friends, which without the blog I would not of met them!

  8. For me, one of the most interesting parts of this post is that the whole thing had to fall apart before the new way was clear.

    The straps broke.

    I think that happens a lot. It all blows up and only then can we see our direction.

    But our gut tells us to do ANYTHING to keep the straps from breaking. That’s why we carry it all so long.

    I love this post, Diana.

  9. Diana Strinati Baur says:

    Thanks guys.

    Anne, I think having a partner willing to share the risk is fundamental if you are going to start a new venture from scratch. People like Michelle from Bleeding Espresso or Megan from Bella Vita Italia made their moves without an anchor, and then found love when they got here. I have huge respect for that, because I don’t know if I am really the type that could have gone to live in Europe on my own.

    West by south I will be very interested to hear your stories and thoughts as you start down this interesting path.

    Michelle, you are one of the reasons I am writing. Pure and Simple.

    Dana, I have a feeling you are at a very interesting point in life. I will wait on the sidelines to see what develops, but am always here with an open ear and heart.

    Carol, you are a sweetheart for opening your blog to my writing and for opening your heart to our friendship. Thank you.

    Life never ceases to amaze me.

  10. nyc/caribbean ragazza says:

    bellissima. Diana is an inspiration to me and I look forward to reading the second part of her story.

  11. Francesca says:

    Oh, the backpack! So many things we think we can’t do without! Heading over to read part II.

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