One of the reasons I started this blog was to share my passions and one of those is people. Thanks to God for placing people in my life to get me through difficult times, teach me things I don't know while making life fun and interesting. I need people way more than they need me. Know that each of you reading this blog plays a role in this!
I will be interviewing some amazing people through out the year that have inspired me and I think will inspire you too.
Meet Karen LaRosa: I just met Karen last year through my daughter in NYC. Karen welcomed us into her New York City home, immediately treating us like family over a delicious meal and evening together. We fell in love with her family and feel as though we have known one another for years!
Karen has navigated beautifully through her various seasons of life, continuing to find passion and joy. I think you will agree and want to join me on one of her trips to Sicily.
GITNB: What is the biggest challenge and/or greatest joy you’ve experienced getting out of your box?
Karen: The lion’s share of my time for 21+ years was devoted to our three boys. I worked in non-profit, but they were my joy, my heart, and where my attention rested. I wrestled with how best to take advantage of the next life chapter once they were out of the house, and worried about it, I admit, but ultimately had faith that life would evolve and I’d figure it out. We spend so much time making something happen or preventing something from happening. Sometimes we need a break, and I think that’s when life happens! It wasn’t long after that I started my business of arranging tours to Sicily.
GITNB: Where do you find inspiration? What brings you joy?
Karen: I love to learn new things. I love to explore. I love to meet people who have devoted their lives to something, do it well, and don’t mind sharing their knowledge and experience. I love to share and I it makes me feel good to take care of people. Apart from my family, my greatest sources of joy are my passions: Sicily, photography, learning about wine, and singing. I’ve merged a few of those passions to create an outstanding wine and food tour planned for next May. I’m writing these words from a hotel room on Mount Etna and I am so excited for the great people and activities I’ve included on the tour. Have a look! http://larosaworks.com/2016-sicily-spring-wine-and-food-tour.php
GITNB: What do you do to stay active and not let aging be a negative?
Karen: I try not to think about age and just do what I want and need to do. Staying active in NYC is not too hard. I walk everywhere and often try to go through the parks, which I find restorative. I go to theater regularly, cook a lot, and take care of the people I love. I enjoyed singing with the New York Choral Society for 8 years, but with trips to Sicily in Fall and Spring, it isn’t possible to attend rehearsals. Still, the thought of singing all those concerts in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, behind world-class opera singers, always makes me happy.
GITNB: What’s one of your favorite books? Favorite people that inspired you?
Karen: I read a book called “The Wild Braid” a number of years ago. It was written by a Poet Laureate, Stanley Kunitz, in his 100th year. He was also a gardener and with the help of another writer, he penned his musings about life and gardening, which, ultimately is all about life. It was pretty wonderful and I have given it to many people. The other book I love is called “Beyond The Sky and the Earth” which is a travelogue story of a Canadian woman who gave up her life in Canada and moved to Bhutan to teach English. It was inspiring, eye opening, and transporting. I think of it still when I am traveling solo around Sicily, exploring, meeting strangers, and negotiating the language. The book really enriched me.
GITNB: What are you most proud of?
Karen: From a business point of view, I am proud of my reputation. All the time, effort, and study I have put into making my tours unique and memorable has paid off. People think of me as a specialist, a resource, and a great host! I am humbled, truly humbled by all the thank you notes. It is what makes me really happy.
People always compliment my website, too, www.larosaworks.com and my FB posts. I try to post things that are engaging, beautiful, and enticing! I want my internet presence to encourage people to take a trip to Sicily.
GITNB: What advice would you give to women of any age?
Karen: This is a tough one. Lives are complicated and full, and circumstances are diverse. Energy ebbs and flows. Everyone has to negotiate her own path and decide when the time is right to make a change, start something new or different. It’s hard to say just do this or that. Stay healthy. That’s the main thing. It’s the best way to avoid sickness. Seriously. Walk, eat well, try to sleep enough. When the body is taken care of, the mind can run free. Then, when you come across something that moves you, don’t be afraid. Have faith in yourself. It feels so good. The more you do, the more you can, and will, do and on the way you’ll no doubt discover wonderful things about yourself.
Also, Sicily made Travel & Leisure’s list of “Best Places to Travel in 2016” in which Karen is quoted. http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/best-places-to-travel-in-2016/16
The tour is on for May! How much fun would that be together! She is pulling together interested parties now so email her if you have an interest.