By Nicole Brewer
Greetings globetrotters! We hope you all are doing well. I’m very excited to bring back our globetrotter (GT) of the month interview series. Following is an interview with the amazing Ashley Bartner, who Co-Founded La Tavola Marche, a farm, inn and cooking school, with her husband in Italy. I’m very inspired by their story and we hope that you are too GTs!
Can you tell the I Luv 2 Globe Trot community a little about yourself (where are you from, what do you do, where are you currently based, hobbies
I was born and raised in Seattle, then after two years of college, with my
Within a year and a half of our first trip to Italy, we were living here legally with a self-employed VISA and had a new adventure ahead of us at 26 years old – starting a farm, inn and cooking school! We got our hands dirty and built a wonderfully successful
How many countries have you traveled to?
20 countries visited and we have lived in the US and Italy, along with Belize, France and Amsterdam (for three months at a time during our winters off).
What is your dream destination and why? (think bucket list destinations).
It’s become a bit cliched with so many
What are some challenges you have faced while starting a business abroad?
Luckily we had both worked in hospitality for years and Jason was a professional Chef so we were not worried about executing the business plan. But it was still an uphill battle. The first challenge was learning the language. The second was money – we had spent it all on our wedding and we were started from scratch again. But I was convinced we would either find the money (an investor) or somehow make it work and we did. But the big hurdle was we needed a self-employeed VISA to live and work here.
It’s a bit of a catch 22 – you need to have a property and address before they will issue you the ‘nulla osta’ or no contest for the VISA, that means you have to put the cart before the horse and sign documents and contracts and the downpayment, committing yourself to Italy without the knowledge if you will be granted the VISA. Once we arrived it was a few months of elbow grease, preparing the house for guests and gaining local knowledge so we could become experts on the area! Then it all started to fall into place. I had the mantra, “if you build it, they will come.” And sure enough they did!!
Where was your most recent travel destination you trotted to?
In January, just before the
Which, if any, foreign languages do you speak?
I speak Italian and know a bit of Dutch after living there and years of Dutch guests visit us! I started learning French which I really enjoyed but really just enough to apologize for my bad French and to eat & drink well!
What do you have planned for yourself next? (any projects you’d like to promote, etc).
With the lockdown and travel restrictions we decided to stay closed this summer at our farmhouse and cooking school. However, we have started offering our Move to Italy workshops virtually!! It has been a great way to help others in their journey to Italy, sharing our experience and knowledge – the good, the bad, the nitty gritty and the nuts & bolts! https://www.latavolamarche.com/virtualworkshop.html
Plus for travel post- COVID we have our full farmhouse rental which has become even more popular where guests can take over the farmhouse with just their family and friends for a totally customised holiday where we take care of all the details! Think of it as your home away from home in Italy! https://www.latavolamarche.com/private-groups.html
What are some words of wisdom you would like to give to future inspiring globe-trotters and
Do it! Even if it all fails, it will be an experience you’ll never forget and will learn from! That being said, if you are planning to start a business (especially in a foreign country) do your homework; learn the language, write a business plan
We are super social too!follow our