Veronica Sieli’s Inspiring Expat Journey from Sicily to Cardiff

In today’s feature, we’re diving into the vibrant and inspiring expat journey of Veronica Sieli, the creative mind behind the enchanting Italian blog, Lost Wanderer. Veronica’s journey from the picturesque shores of Sicily to the bustling life in Cardiff, UK, is a tale of adventure, resilience, and discovery.

Through her blog, Veronica shares her passion for travel, expat life, and literature, while also touching on topics like makeup and humor with the help of a close friend.

Her story is not just about moving countries; it’s about pursuing dreams, embracing new cultures, and finding a sense of belonging in a foreign land.

Join us as Veronica opens up about her motivations, challenges, and the beautiful moments that have shaped her expat experience.

Hi Veronica, nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about yourself: where were you born, how old are you, and where do you currently live?

Hi everyone, nice to meet you all! My name is Veronica, and I’m the founder of Lost Wanderer, an Italian blog where I write about travel, expat life, and books. Joining me on this adventure is a good friend of mine who contributes posts on makeup and humor.

Born in Sicily in 1990, I’ve always been drawn to the world beyond my small seaside town, Trapani. Little did I know that at 24, I would move permanently to the United Kingdom, specifically to Cardiff.

As a Sagittarius, I’ve always had a passion for travel coursing through my veins. My explorations began in Italy with my parents, starting our journeys in the back of a car while the adults navigated with paper maps, often missing the correct motorway exit a few times before finding the right one.

Over the years, I’ve also developed a love for photography and writing, which led me to start my blog.

What motivated you to make this significant life change? And why Cardiff?

Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of London and what life might be like in the multicultural capital of England. Living there, speaking with locals, and integrating into a life completely different from the one I knew was a dream. So, after graduating with degrees in Languages from high school and Communication from university, I decided it was time to make my dream a reality.

I packed the essentials into two large suitcases and one backpack, bought a one-way ticket, and hoped for the best, literally. I had no real plan, just a room booked in a pub and all my hopes and dreams of making a life in a new city, a new country.

I knew I didn’t want to live in Italy, not even attempting to find a job there. I started from scratch and worked my way up to a better life. London eventually became too much for me—too expensive, too stressful, too suffocating. That’s when I began looking for another city. Something smaller, quieter, a place where opportunities were similar to London but with a better work-life balance. Cardiff, here I come.

I didn’t fall in love with Cardiff immediately, not until I saw the Bay. Being born and bred on an island, I missed the sea immensely. When I saw Cardiff Bay and the water, I felt at peace. It has been my neighborhood since I moved here in August 2016.

expat journey to cardiff

Have there been any significant changes in your life following this decision?

Looking back on these ten years abroad, I can see all the achievements I wouldn’t have had if I’d stayed in Italy. I started working as a waitress and now work in Finance, an accomplishment I could never have achieved in my home country.

In the United Kingdom, no matter what you’ve studied, your gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., you can have the same opportunities as everyone else. Here, meritocracy, wit, quick learning, and a can-do approach prevail.

Compared to my peers in Italy, I enjoy a better work-life balance, more money, less stress, and more opportunities. That’s why I always thank myself for deciding to leave the country.

What differences do you find between living in your home country and in the UK?

I could mention the weather and the food, but the reality is, it’s not that bad in the UK. The food is actually amazing if you know where to go and what to order. It may be richer than what we’re used to, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And as for the weather, yes, it’s very grey, but once spring arrives and the sunsets happen after 10 p.m., with those sporadic sunny days, it feels worth it, and you appreciate the sunshine even more.

Another major difference is the work-life balance, as well as the pay. In Italy, salaries don’t increase over the years. In the UK, they rise annually, considering inflation. This gives people peace of mind and a more manageable life.

How often do you go back home, and how do you feel each time?

I try to travel to Italy at least twice a year, once to explore a new region and the other to return to Sicily and see my family.

Each time, though, I sense a feeling of not belonging anymore. I feel torn between two countries. I love being back in Italy for the first few days, where everything is so different from Wales. However, after that, I start to yearn for every little thing I don’t like about my own country and its people.

I used to cry every time I boarded the plane leaving Italy during the first few years. Now, I am relieved that at the end of my holiday, I’m returning to my other home country.

What do you miss the most about Italy?

The quality of food and my family. Some might disagree about the former, but in Italy, each ingredient used in our kitchens has a distinct taste. Ripe tomatoes should have a delicate and sweet taste, almost like honey; lettuce should be fresh and crunchy.

However, the magnificent fruits and vegetables we love in Italy taste like nothing in the UK. Not everything, of course, but most of it tastes like water. That’s why British people tend to enrich their foods with creams, butter, and spices, while Italians prefer simpler additions like oil, lemon, and salt to enhance the natural flavors of foods.

As for my family, time flies. People age, and kilometers separate us. I miss not being with them during important milestones celebrated by my whole family. I’ve also started to realize I’m missing the last few years I could be spending with my mom and dad. While I like to think of them as immortal, I know they’re not, and I feel guilty about the distance between us.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to make a courageous choice like yours?

Just go for it, don’t think about it twice. That’s when doubts and anxiety linger, and you don’t want them stopping you from living the best experience of your life.

Don’t take too much with you. Stuff is replaceable. Just bring a few cherished memories, like pictures of your family, and the essentials you’ll need for the first few weeks.

Engage with the locals! Even if you’re scared of making mistakes when speaking, get out of your comfort zone and just go for it. You might find new friends who will help you adjust.

expat journey

What are your future plans?

The main goal for this year is to buy a house in Cardiff. My husband and I are looking for one, so hopefully, by the end of the year, we will be homeowners.

As for the distant future…? Just to be happy and travel a lot. You never know what life has planned, but I’m here for it!

Thank You, Veronica!

We are immensely grateful to Veronica for sharing her captivating journey with us. Her story is a testament to the courage it takes to step out of one’s comfort zone and the rich experiences that await those who dare to chase their dreams.

Veronica’s insights into expat life, from the challenges of adapting to a new culture to the joys of discovering one’s true potential abroad, are not only inspiring but also incredibly valuable for anyone contemplating a similar path.

For those enchanted by Veronica’s expat journey and wishing to delve deeper into her adventures, we encourage you to follow her on social media and explore her blog, Lost Wanderer. Whether you’re seeking travel tips, expat advice, or just a dose of inspiration, Veronica’s platforms are a treasure trove of engaging content.

Thank you, Veronica, for your time and for sharing your world with us. To our readers, we hope you find as much inspiration in Veronica’s story as we did. Don’t forget to follow her journey and maybe even start one of your own.