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Ever been to Italy? It's gorgeous. Sure I only saw a few places, but I was completely blown away. It's the perfect combination of good food, friendly people, and amazing places to see. I don't speak Italian, but boy do I wish I did. Talk about the ultimate romantic language. Every syllable rolls softly off the tongue like a cotton ball rolls down a porcelain sink. 

In truth, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. My trip to Italy started many months before I touched down on the land of the "Azzurri" (the nickname the Men's National Soccer team is affectionally referred as).

In the early stages of planning to start my own business I decided that I would work on importing my products from Italy, which to this day is the core of our business model. This meant one important detail: I would have to physically travel to Italy to meet my potential manufacturer. 

I researched, planned, emailed, called, read, researched some more, and planned some more. Over the course of 8 months I carefully orchestrated every move I wanted to make while on my trip. Every detail from the moment I woke up to the time I went to bed was scheduled. I left some time open for "surprises" which I was sure was going to happen. 

I left and came back in one piece. It was a great trip. 

Sure, I'll give some more details. The first huge issue we faced occurred the moment we landed. Turns out that the city of Milan is a long car ride from the airport. Checked my uber app and was notified of a possible 200 Euro charge if I took that route. That was literally my food budget. Long story short, after speaking with what seemed like 14,842 people we managed to find a way to correctly get a ticket on the train and head into the city for 16 euros. 

Bumps on the road kept surfacing, but we kept our cool and rolled with the punches.

In the end, our greatest highlight was meeting our manufacturer. We met them in Milan and felt a connection immediately. They had a translator who spoke rough English leaving a simple conversation lasting longer than it should have. I reviewed their products, which consisted of over 75 different dress and casual shoes. I tried on the shoes, wore them around, beat them up a bit, and inspected them vigorously. I was blown away. I know I write that often, but I was seriously completely blown away. 

Of course we met with other manufacturers and tried on other dress and casual shoes. I spoke to hundreds of companies. I know I speak about Italy's beauty and it was beautiful, but it was definitely one of the most difficult, out-of-my-comfort-zone experiences I have ever had.

But we found the perfect combination of quality leather dress shoes and good business relationship that I wanted. Shortly after takeoff on our flight back to the USA, I looked out the window and at the magnificent country that Italy is. It seems short and easy reading it from my blog, but it wasn't at all. After a short pause, a leaned back into my chair and adjusted my seat. I closed my eyes and pictured the long road I had left. 

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