Recently, Airbnb has been advertising a job that I desperately want: a three-month volunteering stint hosting Airbnb experiences in Grottole, Matera, Italy. Today, on the last day that applications are accepted, I applied. And holy mother of gods, I want this so bad!
What’s your story and why are you ready to move to Grottole and take a sabbatical?
I was raised on a small farm in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, to 2 first-generation Canadians. My mom’s parents immigrated from Slovakia. My father’s family came from Italy when he was 5. This unique heritage informed my upbringing. I spent days with my grandmothers, learning folk songs in Slovak and Italian, watching RAI Italia, pinching perogies, and rolling out ravioli dough. I helped my family tend to our chickens, goats, and rabbits. I was schooled in French Immersion, because it’s an option in Canada and my family values multilingualism.
And multiculturalism is more than just my heritage—it represents all my favorite things. At 16, I spent a year in Blois, France as a Rotary Exchange student and learned first hand the joys of life in Europe. I’ve dreamed of returning full time ever since. Fast forward and today I’m living the good life in St Petersburg, Florida: with a challenging career in software, a community of friends, a little house with a big backyard, the friendliest dog in the world, and a loving boyfriend who lives 3 minutes away. I spend every day of my 5 weeks of PTO on travel abroad. My dream of life in Europe remains strong. I am honing my Italian language skills, I have an Italian tutor, and I’m pursuing Italian citizenship through my father, via jus sanguinis. My employer has an office in Italy with possibility of internal transfer. Three months volunteering in Grottole would be my paradise!
How would you contribute to local community and make a difference in Grottole? Tell us what your passions are — Are you an artist? Are you a musician? Do you have arts or craft skills? Do you have any other related experience, e.g. cooking skills, a passion for photography, etc.?
I genuinely believe I could fall in love with Grottole. In December, my friend Jessica and I spent 3 weeks driving from Rome to Palermo, side-tripping through Puglia and Matera. We loved the area so much—the people, the food, the homes, the views! Our favorite stay from the trip was the trullo (through Airbnb!) and Christmas day lunching with our gracious hosts in Monopoli. Papi, the family patriarch, shared his limoncello recipe!
And yes, I am tirelessly creative! I’m a “weekend” potter of 15 years, specializing in functional wheel-thrown pieces. I’m a musician of sorts: I studied piano for 12 years and music education in university. I play piano, a little guitar, ukulele, the accordion (inherited from my uncle), jaw harp, harmonica, and flute. My friends and I have backyard parties with all the instruments and jam for hours. And I cook and bake with all the love I can muster! I host dinner parties where I make paella (learned through Airbnb in Barcelona last year!), homemade lasagnas, raviolis, roast chickens, grilled fishes, and vegetarian feasts. Never mind that I make a mean strawberry shortcake from scratch! I make soap and sell it at local markets occasionally. I garden a little. I also crochet and sew (as taught by both grandmothers). Creativity is my passion and part of my daily life, both at work and at home. Oh, I have so much to learn from and share with the Grottole community and its visitors!!