A Readers Journey to a New Life - Carla Coulson
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A Readers Journey to a New Life

Venice Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

To My Darling Readers,

I have just had my fill of dear, darling, chaotic, beautiful, noisy Italy. I have arrived back to the calm of Paris and thought I would share with you a wonderful story that a reader left in my messages last year.

The message below is full of joy, inspiration and happiness and although I posted it last year I thought some of you may have missed this divine story.

I have received many messages, letters, emails throughout the years. Many of these letters arrived on days when I felt like life was too big for me and I felt like throwing in the ‘camera’. Your words always give me sustenance and the courage to carry on.

Though I have kept most letters private I thought many of you out there would enjoy the story of this courageous reader and she has generously given me permission to share her story!

Cesarina Copyright Carla Coulson Italian Joy

A readers journey in her words.

Dear Carla

I just want to thank you, grazie mille Bella Carla soooo very much for your inspiration! You saved my life, literally!!!!!

I had been married for 30 years, married at 20, doing the corporate thing, following someone else’s, including parents, societies expectations, conditioning and indoctrination. Having my daugher in 2001 at 42 was a miracle and she continues to be my joy and inspiration!

Your book literally, changed my life, I left my husband in 2008, opened a Vintage Shop, ran motivational workshops for women, telling one and all to watch “Under the Tuscan Sun??? and read “Italian Joy???, take a risk, take a chance, face the fear, follow your heart! Always asking the question, what makes your heart sing?!!!

Step by step, whatever it may be, it is unique and individual for every being. Whatever that course you have been wanting to do, job you have wanted to leave, relationship you have wanted to change or end, places you have wanted to travel, stop procrastinating, just do it NOW, we only have NOW!

Venice Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

Bella Italia resonated, I travelled to Europe, 5 countries on the train in 2009 with my daughter, faced a big fear, what an amazing experience, so freeing, so empowering. My daughter and I felt like Eagles soaring, little girls being free and having fun! No Agenda, no one to rain on our parade, tell us how to be, really being in the moment and experiencing the passion, beauty and joy only Italy can bring on every level.

Naples Copyright Carla Coulson Italian Joy

You reinvent yourself, your life, in Italy, You don’t just look you see through different eyes, it touches you on every level, body, mind and soul. All of it, the people, the architecture, the history, the passion, the art, the cobble stones, the naked statues, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera, the lighting, the sunrise, the sunsets, the music, the dancing, the food, the EVERYTHING! The Italians open their hearts and homes. They live in the moment, they are out in the piazzas, all generations, talking, laughing, sharing, whether it be coffee, a vino, pasta or gelato.

I celebrated my 50th in Positano in 2009!!!! A dream come true! My daughter and I returned to Italy in 2010 and travelled on the train again for 2 months, we experienced a 10 day Retreat in Tuscany, 15 mins from Siena, a place called “Ebbio??? Yoga, Meditation, Life Art Drawing and Passionate Italian Organic Cooking??? Purrrrfecto!!!

I met the man of my dreams in April this year, he walked into my shop! I had given your book away to a friend. My man, knew that I loved bella Italia of course so for my birthday he surprised me with your book, not knowing just how much it meant to me, he knew I loved Italy, that was it, soul mates, so connected for him to choose your book from all the books of Italy available! 

Francesco Greece Copyright Carla Coulson Chasing A Dream

My daughter also saved up her money and I received another copy of your book on my birthday as well, I couldn’t stop crying, your book came back to me twice this year on the 1st of May, from my beautiful man and my gorgeous daughter! So now I keep one in the shop for customers and friends to look at and be inspired, and one copy at home.

Always be true to yourself, follow your heart and everything else will follow. Believe! Trust! Let go! and hang on for the ride! Miracles happen!

Love to you and Francesco, and thank you for changing my life! J x

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson


  • Nat

    What a lovely story 🙂

    October 12, 2012 at 11:04 am
  • Debelleyme

    Truly inspirational – proof it is all possible!

    October 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm
  • Kym

    It goes to show we really are never too old to start living the lives of our dreams. Thank you to you and J. for sharing her inspirational, joyful and love-filled story.

    Both you and J. remind me of a favourite Anais Nin quote:
    “Throw your dreams into space like a kite and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

    May we all throw the kite and follow.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm
  • Oh my gosh! That letter just touched a hungry piece of my soul.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm
  • OMG, it seems to me that I am swimming against stream.
    I am Italian, I love my country ,and more over my own birth city Genova, passionately and wholeheartedly and yet I am trying all my best to run away from it.
    I read J’s story, yours and I wonder what’s wrong with me if I want to leave all this beauty, charme, passion, gorgeous food and landscapes while you started your new lives from here.
    The only answer I give to myself is that I am badly in need of a big change , no matter if I’ll have to give up some of the things I love most, one for all being in short sleeved shirt with open windows in the middle of October.
    I shall miss Italian weather ….but I miss more not feeling free.
    Like J’s daughter my son is a great help and very supportive and I cannot ask for more.
    So Carla,Bella mia, wish me good luck and I promise that you’ll be the first to know my new address wherever and whenever it will be.
    If you allow me, un abbraccio , Rosanna

    October 12, 2012 at 1:54 pm
  • PS I love this portrait of Francesco , pura gioia di vivere.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm
  • It’s really touching my heart.
    And it also gives me a courage.
    Thank you.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm
  • touched my soul. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    October 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm
  • How fantastic – you are both amazing women, loved reading this!!!

    Maria & Carla you are both an inspiration and I absolutely LOVE that final quote….I shall be repeating that to myself many times.

    Thanks for sharing this Carla XX

    October 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm
  • What a beautiful story thanks for sharing! I love the spirit in your photographs Carla…..

    October 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm
  • What an inspirational story! That age has no barrier when you want to change your life!

    October 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm
  • I am literally teary eyed Carla. Such a beautiful story and tribute to your wonderful inspiring life. Well done lady!
    xo Mary Jo

    October 12, 2012 at 10:49 pm
  • Inspiring other women ..it’s a magical gift…
    Both your stories breathe excitement and adventure into our lives…Thank You for sharing

    October 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm
  • Meredith Mancini

    Great story. It brought a tear to my eye. Thankyou for letting Carla share this Maria.

    October 13, 2012 at 1:00 am
  • Sabrina

    I love it! It brought a ‘spring’ to my step which was drooping lately…thankyou for the reminder!!!. Carla, I too love your beautiful book ‘Italian Joy’! Blessings to you and Francesco. Ciao Bella

    October 13, 2012 at 4:00 am
  • Hi Carla,

    This is a really beautiful letter and there are so many words that I can relate to, Italian’s do open their hearts and homes and Italy certainly takes up a large piece of my heart.

    This letter and your constant posts on progression and striving for what you are really passionate about in life are so motivating, so thank you for that. As I have said before your work and warm correspondence through your website is just so enjoyable to read and always so motivating. I love receiving your posts.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely letter.
    x Melissa

    October 13, 2012 at 8:42 am
  • I just loved this letter and thank you so much for sharing it with me. You are both right and just never know when the difference you make to others is life changing. I know you have changed my life in many ways, and what made me almost cry is the double gift of something so precious, from those she loves most. True soul mates on many levels.

    When ever we have visitors my daughter always comes out with my copy of your book and says “this is Mummy’s special book and she won it, you have to be careful with it, it’s about dreaming” she then proceeds to show them all her favorite pages.

    She is ten and in her hot pink jacket and new camera showed me just what it is to have a childs eye with her images.

    A huge thank you to both of you for this letter I found it so moving, and a reaffirmation of all I am striving for xx
    ciao love lisa x

    October 13, 2012 at 10:31 am
  • Carla this is so inspiring and reminds me of the quote by George Eliot “It is never too late to be what you might have been.??? Thank you as always, for just being You! Ciao Fxx

    October 15, 2012 at 4:03 am
  • Congratulations on your new life Maria and thank you Carla for sharing this beautiful story.

    October 16, 2012 at 11:20 am
  • Dear Carla –

    What a beautiful story..I am so glad you share this letter..I think I need that now more than ever.. to believe that you could change your life

    Thank you, thank you!!!!!

    With love~

    October 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm
  • jeanetteCoulson

    Hi Carla Dad and I have just returned from Mudgee we have been out with “Wombat” at Jan Rohr’s farm (the dog in Chasing a Dream) I opened my emails and read this story It is wonderful that you have given so many courage to fulfill their life.Love Mumxxx

    October 18, 2012 at 5:45 am
  • sally

    Oh I just love this story, of endings but with new delightful beginnings. So inspiring to just take life by the horns and go for it.
    Thank you! xx

    October 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm
  • Teared up again on reading this. Carla, everyone needs a copy of Italian Joy in their life and a little piece of Italy in their hearts. J your story is beautiful xx

    April 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm
  • I remember this letter! It was so touching, having just recently “found” you, to see the incredible influence you had on this woman’s life and it spoke about the person you must be. That opinion has been confirmed many times over by your inspirational work. Thank you.
    And Millie’s absolutely right…everyone needs a copy. I know I have mine. 😉 x Katie

    April 26, 2013 at 8:20 pm
  • Thank you Carla for sharing more beauty, not just in your photos but from other people’s experiences. I too regularly go through your books and escape for a while and dream. I also believe while looking and reading that it IS all possible, and I feel motivated to make the changes. J’s story has such feeling, and I know what she means in her descriptions of Italian life. It is my goal to visit Italy every second year, to soak in all those emotions and inspirations that I have experienced on previous visits. Best wishes to you and your lovely Francesco! X

    April 27, 2013 at 3:22 am
  • This is beautiful. It gave me goose bumps 🙂 xx

    April 27, 2013 at 9:22 am
  • Carla, this is the kind of story I’d love to hear everyday! I feel so happy for this woman and yes you are definitely a beautiful inspiration…Thank you for sharing this story, bella Carla !
    xo Lala

    April 27, 2013 at 9:47 am
  • Cathg1g2

    This is the second time I have read this and again it delights me. I even saved the original blog entry on my reading list to remind me that no matter your age, to pursue your dreams

    April 28, 2013 at 7:51 pm
  • I have no words that can describe how moved I am reading this post and gazing upon your photos. Love is not a strong enough word. The passion of others, here yours and J’s, fills me with emotion I almost can’t handle. Always thank you for sharing. xoKaren

    April 30, 2013 at 8:50 am
  • Jacky

    What a wonderful letter Carla, you do inspire us all who read your books

    May 8, 2013 at 7:07 am
  • Josephine Nyga

    Wow, wow, wow!!! Thanks Bella Carla for sharing my story AGAIN!!! Only yesterday, another beautiful lady needed to borrow one of my copies of “Italian Joy!!! … I intuitively know when a woman needs to read your book and be inspired. ….

    Thank you, grazie mille to all you gorgeous gorgeous women for all your comments. I think my smile could not get any wider!!!! Smiles, tears, goosebumps! I have my gorgeous man, Von sitting right beside me as I share the additional comments with him. What perfect timing!

    All my love, Josephine xxx Face the fear, follow your dreams!

    May 28, 2013 at 4:08 am