The Tuscan way can teach Sudburians a lot

Author and lifestyle pioneer Debbie Travis shares ideas for her new book, Joy: Lessons from a Tuscan Villa, March 5

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The local chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women celebrates women in style, with a virtual presentation from author and lifestyle pioneer Debbie Travis.


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Travis, who lives in Italy these days, will talk about his latest book, Joy: Lessons from a Tuscan Villa.

This is a lively and inspiring book with engaging and practical lessons on everything from sleeping well and finding community, to rediscovering purpose and starting a new business.

Travis is an international television icon, best-selling author, newspaper columnist, sought-after speaker and the center of a small business empire.

The event takes place on March 5 at 10 a.m. EST. Travis will join from his home in Italy. Tickets are $20 each. To register, go to

Q: What are the three most important elements to cultivate in order to reach a state of joy?

A: Joy is a ready and waiting emotion within each of us. Joy can be found everywhere and is a choice.

For me, it is found in the simplest things. We must be open to joy, ready to seek it. A stranger smiles at us, you have a choice to turn away or smile back. Joy can be found sitting on a park bench under a beautiful tree; again, it’s your choice to take what you see. Joy is seeing an opportunity and having the courage to seize it.

I would say that the three most important elements one must cultivate in order to feel a sense of joy are to be open to what can be; be brave and reach out to others; and embrace the simple things, like bruschetta. It sounds crazy but it’s simply a piece of toast with freshly sliced ​​tomato, a drizzle of olive oil and a little coarse salt. Sit back with the sun on your face and enjoy.


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Q: What is the Tuscan lifestyle and how does it encourage joie de vivre?

A: The Tuscan way of life is steeped in tradition and hasn’t really changed much over the centuries. The population has one of the highest longevity rates in the world. The villages are full of 80s and 90s, and even people in their 100s. They are on the move, not hidden in assisted living facilities. They have a purpose and a role to play in society. They are necessary.

Joy’s first lesson is community. Tuscans rely on their communities, which are strong and supportive. We need to create our own communities by joining groups and bringing others together. Cook together; being part of walking and foraging groups, sewing, drama, debating.

Food is a religion in Tuscany and it brings people together. That’s why I’ve included so many local recipes in Joy. Tuscan cuisine is simple and made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. If someone had told me five years ago that I would make jam, I would have laughed in disbelief. I’ve added a great jam recipe to Joy’s pages; it’s not so much about the jam itself as a way to bring people together and have a good time. Invite three friends over and tell each of them to bring a friend with them and spend a Sunday afternoon making jam – lots of laughs, wine and new friendships are formed. This is the Tuscan way. A joyful day has passed by all, and you can take jam home.

Q: How can those of us who don’t live in Tuscan villas cultivate joy?


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A: The simple Tuscan way of life is very similar to that of our grandparents and great-grandparents. More community, more purpose and homemade food.

It costs little to make small changes through healthier eating, better sleep, and a strong social life. Push yourself to reach out to friends from the past or invite a neighbor over. Italians take a daily walk called the passagiata. It’s a daily walk with a sea of ​​words. Everyone goes out to catch up on the day – mums with buggies, old people, teenagers – and they all stroll around the town square or through the countryside. What are they talking about? Well, usually food and family. It’s a delicious habit we can all adopt, weather permitting of course.

Q: While it looks like the pandemic may finally fade in 2022, what advice can you give your followers to get through the past few months?

A: The pandemic has made us realize how much we really need each other. We are social creatures and we know that loneliness is bad for our health. We want to see each other’s faces under the masks, the hugs (the Italians are big huggers) and the smiles.

This may be difficult for some, but it is essential that we put the social back into our lives. Get rid of our devices even though they have been a lifeline during the pandemic; now is the time to reduce screen time and increase real face-to-face time. Now is a good time to start dreaming, planning and planning a trip.

Exploring new places is one of the best ways to bring joy into our lives. The excitement of meeting other like-minded people, new cultures and cuisines. Go out and embrace new horizons and experience new adventures.

Q: What are you currently working on? What can your subscribers expect?

A: I just launched a new home collection that is beautiful and affordable at Giant Tiger. We’ve been through the pandemic and it just hit the shelves.

Our retreats to my villa in Tuscany are once again in full swing and I look forward to welcoming guests to this magical part of the world, to help them bottle up the feeling and bring a bit of Tuscany home.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SudburyStar


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