How I Manifested My Dream Vacation to Italy!

This is the formula with which I manifested my dream vacation to Italy, the same one I’ve used for years to manifest an entirely new life for myself and my family. #HBRMethod 

How I Manifested My Dream Vacation to Italy!
Live your dream, Izzy in Rome Italy

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know that I’ve had a burning desire to go to Italy since I was a teenager (#DreamIT).  I’ve talked about going for twenty years (#SayIT), I’ve had it on my #FutureBoard (vision board) for the past ten years (#SeeIT), I’d tried unsuccessfully several times in my life to plan a trip (#WriteIT), even going so far as to map out my exact route and pick a date (#ThinkIT), but I’d always lacked the balls to buy my ticket. (lacking #DoIT and #BelieveIT)

Well, this June I had a thought…. Even if I could go to Italy alone (as I’d always imagined I would) it would not be as meaningful if I couldn’t share it with my kids. I envisioned coming home all excited to tell them every detail, but them not wanting to hear about all the fun I’d had without them. Then I imagined that one day I would take them, and we’d travel the same route I’d done alone, and I’d point out all the things I loved; but by then they would be teenagers rolling their eyes with sighs under their breath of, “Oh mom!”

That thought scared the shit out of me. What if time would get away from me before I could take this trip with them? What if we never could? I shuttered to think it. But then sat down and looked at the facts. I have only five more years left with my son Kanen at home, that is fact. Five years to get my shit together and travel with him as part of our (living at home) little family. And really if you think about it, I only had maybe a year or two before he’d be too involved with sports; school, friends and life here, to want to go with us. Realizing all this; panic began to engulf me.

I realized I had only one option…take my kids to Italy. (My decision point)

Re-winding a bit, to a few months before my decision; when my lifelong best friend Lisa returned from her own vacation of a life time. She’d dreamed of going to Portugal and one day she just DID IT! I watched in astonishment as she did what we’d talked about doing all our lives. She stopped talking about it, stopped wishing for it, just did it. That was the push I needed to stop living my life on the sidelines and start fully practicing what I preach. I couldn’t teach people how to live boldly and then not do it myself, I had to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

FIRST, I took action (#DoIT). I signed up for and set a flight notice for Italy. This way when it went on sale, I’d know. As fate would have it, about a week later I got a notice saying fares had been temporarily slashed in half, from about $1,400 to $700. (Pause: You should know that almost immediately after you make your decision the Universe will “test you.” It will present the opportunity you’re waiting for, probably before you think you’re ready, to see how serious you really are, so be on the lookout). I panicked knowing I did not have the means to buy four tickets even with that discount, plus I still had a week before payday. But I kept believing and watching everyday. I told myself that if by some miracle the tickets where still on sale the day I got paid that I’d just jump. I’d do the stupidest thing ever, and use my “bills money” to buy them.

I waited every day that week with knots in my stomach, praying and sweating over these tickets and every morning I’d get a notice saying it had been extended. Finally at 5:00 AM on the morning I got paid the final notice arrived in my in box, so I closed my eyes and hit “purchase.” (PS that was the last day of the sale, I’ve never seen it come back since).

Now let me stop here and say that I’m not a believer in being stupid. Yes, the decision to use my bills money to get tickets sounds stupid to even me, BUT here’s the thing you need to know about successfully manifesting using the #HBRMethod; you’ve got to have skin in the game to get the ball rolling. The Universe is not going to just magically grant your wish out of the blue, you must first show that you’re not playing’ games, and are ready to get serious about making your dream a reality.

YOU MUST TAKE ACTION. Once you’ve made your concrete DECISION, then it’s time to back it up with action. This is where #CourageOverFear comes into play in a huge way. You’ve got to trust that if you do your part by taking that first step, that the Universe will go to work making the rest of the pieces come together. This is the element that most people who want to manifest miss. They don’t take action. They don’t risk anything.

How do you know if it’s a stupid decision or the first step in manifesting? If the decision scares the shit out of you, but gives you butterflies and peace at the same time. That’s when you know everything’s gonna be okay even if you have no idea how. Look for that cocktail of emotion, if it’s there your good to go. If it’s just 100% terrified, then don’t do it! It’s not the right time. But if you feel excitement and joy and peace, you are in the Golden Zone!

The minute I purchased those tickets I knew I was in that coveted Golden Zone of manifesting and peace flooded me. I knew it would somehow start coming together and that my bills would still get paid too.  A week later my coaching business exploded and I received unexpected funds from it that exactly covered the cost of my tickets. Coincidence? Not even a little. (#ManifestThat! #MoneyAintAThing!)

Have faith. (#BelieveIT) If you don’t act then there is no need for belief. People ask me all the time, but HOW can I really believe that any of this is possible for ME? The answer is, you can’t before you start! But once you put action behind your dream, no matter how small, belief begins building immediately on its own. You don’t focus on believing it and then act. You act and let your actions build faith. When you practice the first few steps of the #HBRMethod that lead up to taking action, those are building faith for you. It’s automatic. By the time I took action I KNEW that come hell or high water, this trip would happen, period. Once I risked a financial investment I knew that no matter what it was going down, even when MASSIVE challenges tried to threaten it.

SECOND, I became OBSESSED. The key to making your dreams manifest quickly is to become obsessed with them. If you look at anyone who’s successful you can clearly see that they are obsessed with their passion. If you follow an athlete on Instagram you’ll see 80% of their posts are related to their dream/passion. If you follow a fashion designer you’ll see the same. People who make their dreams a reality are immersed in them. There is no line between their dream and who they are, it’s one in the same. If you followed my journey on how I manifested getting my book written and traditionally published then you know first hand how obsessed I was with that goal. It was all you saw if you followed me, and all you heard me talk about if you were one of the poor souls who are a personal friend. It’s WHO I WAS. It’s who I HAD to be in order to make that dream real.

So once again I used #SeeIT #WriteIT, #ThinkIT, #SayIT and #DOIT to the max! I began planning like a mad women every detail of our trip. I researched, I mapped, I read, I stocked Pinterest. But I went far beyond that, I went to the crazy side! LOL I listened to only traditional Italian music all day on Pandora. I watched only movies set in Italy. I OBSESSIVELY stocked Pinterest daily.

I even changed my personal style! (see photo below) Like who does that??!! I actually changed my style (we’ll to be fair I hadn’t updated my style for twenty years so it was time!). I posted about it, I began learning Italian and so did my kids. I listened to books on tape about Italy or in Italian. I even used the Italy virtual run feature on the treadmill at the gym and made Kanen do it with me! I was totally immersed in all things Italy.

How I Manifested My Dream Vacation to ItalyOk so about now is when you are saying… damn girl your kinda nuts! Well, my friends, if you plan on living your dreams you’ve got to be willing to be called nuts. When you’re doing something that people start rolling their eyes at, or call you crazy for doing, that’s when you know you’re on to something.

A note about #EarthquakeMoments. As the trip neared so many obstacles presented themselves. Huge ones, like the fact that my ex-husband was challenging the kids passports and I didn’t get them until two weeks before the trip, after spending thousands of dollars to do so. But the other thing you should know about manifesting, is that it’s never going to be a walk in the park. Expect obstacles. Expect a challenge to your dreams, because it’s the Universe testing your resolve, seeing if you’re part of the 98% of people who quit or the 2% of those with #RelentlessPursuit. So know that it’s coming, that way when it does you see it for what it is; a pain in the ass! But not the end of the journey. This is where your faith that you’ve been building along the way turns into burning resolve.

Once you make it though those obstacles your home free!

Let the magic begin! (#LiveIT)

So here is where my “crazy obsession” paid off big time. All that focus on the experiences I wanted to live out in Italy prior to the trip…. It ALL manifested! No joke! It was almost spooky. Each time something crazy-obvious would manifest, my kids and I would look at each other like…ummm ok that is kinda insane!

I’m a big believer in PROOF so here’s a list of moments that manifested on our adventure of a lifetime in Italy.

On the left a screen shot of my treadmill workout from Snapchat of the street. On the right the street our apartment was on, same street.
On the left a screen shot of my treadmill workout from Snapchat of the street. On the right the street our apartment was on, same street.

ONE: Remember when I said that I ran that “Italy course” on the treadmill?

So Oct 3rd finally arrived and we land in Venice. The sun is piercing the horizon as it rises as the kids and I get into our private water taxi (a moment I’d envisioned for years, from the movie Only You), where we can see the splendor of Venice appear before our eyes from the water. The driver pulls into our stop and we get all our bags out. When we finally get a minute to look around while we wait for our check-in to our AirBnB apartment, Kanen taps my shoulder.

“Mama this is the street from your treadmill!”

I look down the street and realize that’s the reason it felt so familiar, as if I’d been here a million times already! Our apartment was located on the exact same street from the virtual run! Mind you, there was no way for me to know from the virtual run what that street is, and I didn’t even know the address or street of our apartment, just our water bus stop! So yeah that is how our trip began!

Top left my screen saver, bottom and right photos I took that day
Top left my screen saver, bottom and right photos I took that day

TWO: I’ve had my screen saver on my phone set to the iconic photo (inset) of Venice with what I’d always just assumed was San Marco’s Basilica. In it a gondolier is rowing toward the massive amazing structure. So on our second day in Venice we set out to find San Marco’s Basilica which I’ve believed is the very visible dome structure on the opposite side of the canal.

We walk and explore the city getting lost a little, and finally finding ourselves down a dead-end street where there’s no way to cross to the side. We can still see the Basilica but can’t figure out how to get across the canal. We’re the only people there and the gondoliers who are sitting in their boats on the dock, see our puzzled faces and offer to ferry us to the other side for 2 Euro each (a bargain as a 30 minute ride runs 80 #MoneyAintAThing!). We hop in, and I have that moment. The one where I look up and see the Basilica while in a gondola. This moment is a total unplanned “accident” (aka #ManefestThat moment), and I feel it! I have joy the seeps out my toes and I smile at the kids who are overwhelmed by the moment and how gorgeous everything is around us.

When we get into the church we realize that in fact this is NOT San Marco (uhhh duhhh stupido Americans!) but the Madonna Basilica and we are practically the only ones there. It’s free (#MoneyAintAThing!) and we have it to ourselves admiring its beautiful frescos and architecture.

It’s only after I get home that I put two-and-two together. I’d manifested the moment on my screen-saver exactly as envisioned, even though the name of the place was incorrect. So had we gone to the actual San Marco it would not have been the moment I’d imagined or dreamed about.

Moral of the story… your dreams can manifest EXACTLY as pictured but in an unexpected way that takes a minute to recognize and connect the dots, so be aware, grateful and be accurate!

THREE: Remember how I was obsessed with traditional Italian music, listening to it every day? My favorite is of course Andrea Bocelli, I’ve loved him for 15 years, I even played his song in my wedding. So our family song leading up to Italy was “Fools Rush In” his version. We’d all had it on our headphones as we landed in Venice. On the 4th day of our trip we took a day adventure into Verona. I’d had this aggressive plan that the kids and I would take the train in the early morning, then take a bus to Spaizzi; where we’d then hike up a mountain to see the magnificent Madonna della Corona, (photo below) a church carved out of the side of a cliff. Everything I’d read online suggested that if we could pull this off we’d be kinda badass, so the kids and I were excited considering it was our first real test of our travel worthiness.

As the train nears Verona theres a sudden familiar sound, faint in the background; the main bridge to Fools Rush In by Bocelli. The kids and I all look at each other, “Mama! That’s our song! Did you turn that on?” I hadn’t. We all smile and share that look of; yeah this is awesome and crazy at the same time (a look we nailed by the end of the trip!)

Madonna della Corona

When we get to Verona I realize that I’ve left my travel journal with all the info regarding our destination and can’t even remember the name of the church! (stupido Americans!) So I sheepishly show the ticket guy the picture on my phone that I’d screenshot off Pinterest weeks before, he rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Miss you can’t make it there before it closes.” He tells me in broken English. I’m trying not to show the kids my disappointment and frustration at utterly failing our first excursion, when Kanen taps my shoulder again. “Mamma Andrea Bocelli is in Verona today!” I didn’t process what he said still focused on trying to solve the issue at hand.

Finally we decide to just head to Verona’s town square and see Juliet’s balcony (which had been on my list anyway). When we arrive the bus drops us off in front of the only working original amphitheater in Italy. It’s a beautiful massive structure which looks similar to the Colosseum and it instantly takes our breath away. As we pose for selfies Kanen again tries to get my attention, showing me the massive sign which says that tonight Bocelli will be performing under the stars for a televised special. We all look at each other and they beg; “Mama! We have to go! It’s meant to be!” For the next few hours I try everything to make it work. But there are no trains back to Venice after the concert and no hotel rooms. Finally I tell the kids, “Sorry guys it’s just not meant to be.” So we spend our afternoon discovering the beauty of Verona, having lunch and playing cards in the Piazza. It’s a perfect day.

On our way back to the bus to head home, we walk past the amphitheater. This time the paparazzi is everywhere, big film trucks are parked in the streets and the red carpet is lining the entrance. Then we hear music start to play, and as we walk past with a view of the stage we hear his voice, Andrea Bocelli is doing sound check!! I can’t really put into words the way my whole body got chills and how our faces all lit up, and what it felt like to imagine that this moment was crafted by the Universe just for us. (You can see a video of all this on my Snapchat under my saved stories @SarahCentrella)

That night I got home and realized that the next morning was check-out (a small detail I’d forgotten in the rush to try to make staying for the concert work), and realized that the Universe had made sure it “didn’t work out,” because if it had of our entire trip would have been thrown into chaos. We’d have missed our check-out, our pre-paid train to Tuscany, our check-in to our villa and it would have cost me a fortune, potentially ruining the rest of the trip. The Universe knew this even though I’d forgotten and it had our back the whole time. It gave us a suprise moment beyond our wildest dreams at no cost! (#MoneyAintAThing!)

SO… the lesson is, if you are aware and pay attention to the signs you can tell when you are pushing things too hard. If you’ve done everything in your power and it’s still not working, trust that the Universe/God knows best and has your back.

How I manifested the vacation of a lifetime to Italy!Four: I love those tiny old fashioned Fiats and have had one on my #FutureBoard for years. I’ve always carried the fantasy with me of driving around Tuscany in one just like they do in Only You. But clearly one of those would never fit my family of four and our 8 pieces of luggage! So I rented a station wagon. When I got to the rental counter to pick up our car, the women informed me that the “small deposit” Expedia had said I might need to pay was in fact 700 Euro and that they would not accept a debit card. Two things that made renting a car impossible. My level of stress in that moment sky rocketed as our villa was a 30 minute drive into the deep countryside where public transit did not exist.

The women senses my panic and suggests I talk to Giovanni who’s standing by the door and says he might be able to help me. After much begging and a mear 500 Euro deposit (still most of my budget for the next few days) he hands me the keys and we make our way to the parking lot. It’s a Fiat! I start hysterically laughing, the kind where my kids had to ask if I was actually crying (you can watch the video of this on Snapchat under my saved stories).

Izzy's reaction to our new car!
Izzy’s reaction to the situation lol

But a few days later when we had spent all day driving the terrifying switchbacks and beautiful one lane roads all over Tuscany, and were walking back to get in our little Fiat; I remembered my dream. And the Universe had given me exactly what I’d wished for.


Here are just a FEW of the other examples of what manifested on this trip, many of these at no cost or way less than I was expecting to pay #MoneyAintAThing!

We had a moment like this almost daily and I have so many more, but if I keep writing this post will turn into a book and people will stop reading it so maybe I’ll add more later 🙂

So here’s the thing…if you have a dream, YOU CAN LIVE IT. There’s a formula, if you apply it, it WILL WORK. But you’ve got to want it bad enough to risk and work for it. If you do, nothing will come between you and the joy of manifesting your dream!

You can see more pictures on my new travel Instagram @singlemomglobetrotter or my regular one @sarahcentrella

PS I’m teaching my 8 steps for just $15 a weekly session one time only so that anyone who wants to learn how to make their dreams reality can afford to do it. You can register here, it starts next week! The hashtag steps mentioned in this post are based on the 8 steps outlined in my book Hustle Believe Receive 



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