Category Archives: Travel

Single Mom Life Travel

Travel Journal: On My Way to Italy

*Here’s an entry from my actual travel journal on my way to Italy, dated Oct 3rd 2016

“Dear Journal,

I’m on a plane high above the ocean. Its dark and we’ve just had dinner; little petite trays with mini servings of salad, grilled chicken pasta, bread with cold butter, and a brownie. I’m sitting across the aisle from the kids, and keep craning my neck around to see their faces light up as they coo over how “darling” the servings are.

Every now and again Kanen gives me that excited look; the one where his whole body gets caught up, and he’ll mouth; “Mama we are going to wake up in VENICE!”

Travel JournalI return the look and my body covers in little goosebumps and tears beg to blur my vision. I push them back and smile at my three children. They are filled with a joy I’ve rarely seen in them. An excitement that is contagious and it feels like most of the passengers in our wing of the plane, have begun to keep their eyes on us as we get closer to our destination. Maybe it’s because mine are the only kids besides a baby on this flight, or maybe because everyone is seeing in them the joy they must feel deep down at the prospect of waking up in VENICE!

I can’t believe it. Like I don’t think it’s set in yet that in just a few hours I’ll be watching the sunrise as we descend over a city I’ve longed to meet, like no other on earth. KEEP READING



20 Things I learned About Traveling In Italy

20 Things I learned in Italy

I’m still processing my recent trip to Italy, but before I forget I wanted to share the top 20 things I learned about traveling in Italy, they might help if you’re planning a visit.

These would have been helpful to know before I went! 

  • DON’T turn in your American money at the airport “change” station. If possible don’t arrive with ANY US money that you plan on exchanging. I had $150 US that I’d planned to exchange our first day and did so in the airport, it cost me $50. So for $150 US I got 100 Euros and no it wasn’t the exchange rate (which was 1.16). Their fees are outrageous!




Ultimate International Travel Check List

ultimate travel check list

Here’s my ultimate international travel packing list based on what I learned from our recent family trip to Italy.

Everyone said I way over-packed for traveling with kids to a foreign country (Read about it here), but I’d have to say this list was clutch! The only thing I didn’t really need was the nine pairs of heels I packed which I’ve since taken off this list lol

Here’s what I did to prepare before our trip, what I packed that we really couldn’t live without. Hope it helps make yours amazing too

  • Call your cell phone company and set-up an international calling and data plan for when you are away. -I did this but didn’t realize that it still will not work much of the time. Be sure to have your “roaming” turned on when you’re there or it won’t work at all. WiFi tended to be our best option, but you still want one of these plans as your bill will terrify you when you get home if you don’t have it set up prior to leaving. KEEP READING 
Hustle.Believe.Receive. Single Mom Life Travel Vision Boards

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!”

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Single Mom Life Travel

Why My Kids Are Planning Our Italy Adventure

5 Reasons why my three young kids are planning our Italy adventure this fall. 

Why My kids are planning our Italian Adventure

Going to Italy is not just a vacation for me, it’s the realization of a life-long dream, and what some might call a near obsession. Since my teens the allure of discovering Venice; driving the winding roads of Tuscany, and eating pasta in Rome, has pulled at the very core of me. It’s almost a spiritual, attraction I feel, as if it’s the one place I’ll feel most at home in the world.

For this reason I didn’t want to just take my kids to Italy, I wanted them to understand it’s magical spell and help me discover it for the first time; together as a family. But how can I make two nine-year-old’s and a thirteen-year-old, really get it?

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My Stories Single Mom Life Travel

Single Mom Globe Trotter

Venice Italy #SingleMomGlobeTrotter

I’ve had a life long dream to travel the globe. But more specifically… to go to Italy.

If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, or a personal friend of mine, then you already know this. It’s been my obsession since I was eighteen years old. That’s when I fell in love with it for the very first time, in the film Only You with Robert Downey Jr. I’d just graduated high school and when the footage of Venice came on the big screen I was transfixed. The footage of Tuscany left me with lifelong fantasies of getting lost in a tiny janky car roaming around the Tuscan villages, drinking wine from a bottle. And the scenes of the Amalfi Coast… we’ll… I have no words to do them the justice they deserve.


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Single Mom Life Travel

Single Mom Road Trip Survival Guide

I grew up going on long road trips, when my family would drive from Oregon to California to visit relatives or friends several times a year. Back then we’d all pile into an old beat-up station wagon, pack some sandwiches and pray we wouldn’t end-up broken down on the side of the freeway (which we almost always did).

So when I became a parent it seemed logical that driving would be the way to go if I needed to take my family less than a thousand miles. I made a few such trips back when I was married with one child, but when I became a single mom with three kids… that’s when it became interesting!

Travel matters to me, a lot. I think as parents, one of the most important things we can do for our kids is show them the world, even if it’s just a few hundred miles from home. And so I committed to sharing this experience with my children from the very start of this single parent journey. Over the past eight years we’ve made an annual road trip as part of our summer vacation, and I’ve learned a few tips that might help you make traveling with your kids a little less scary and hopefully fun!


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Travel Vision Boards

Manifest Your Dream Vacation!

Last night I got home from the vacation of a lifetime with my kids. I’ve been to New York many times over the past five years for work, but on every trip I’d wished that my children could fall in love with The City the way I have.   Only one problem… I’m a single mom on a budget, one that does not allow (yet!) for such extravagant trips across the country for a family of four.  Never mind that NYC is the most expensive city in America!

Never-the-less my kids and I had been dreaming of the day they could make the trip with me, especially after they saw the movie Annie.

sarah centrella and daughter Mira
Flight to NYC with Mira

The last few years have taught me to expect the impossible and believe in a little magic, because God knows I’ve been putting in my hustle! And so this past week I proved yet again that the #HBRMethod is no joke! It really can manifest your dream.

Here’s how:

In February of this year I’d finally acquired enough miles (through all of my work travel) to purchase four round trip tickets to New York (I only had to pay the booking fee of $25 each ticket #MoneyAintAThing!). I booked them immediately using #CourageOverFear to trust that somehow the rest of the trip would fall into place. I knew finding all four tickets was a sign that this trip was a #ManifestThat! moment in the making.

That moment when you see Manhattan for the first time... and your 7.
That moment when you see Manhattan for the first time… and your 7.

Back in 2011 I stayed in a hotel in Midtown, which was then called The Alex Hotel.  My job had made the arrangements, and I was so floored by it that I made a video and posted it to my YouTube, realizing that I’d manifested that moment. I wound up staying at the same hotel several times, and one day I got a room that blew me away!  It was a beautiful 2 bedroom/2 bathroom full condo/suit with an uninterrupted view of the Chrysler Building. I remember sitting on the couch looking at that view, and around the giant condo, and being so excited and sad at the same time.  I couldn’t help but feel ecstatic at how beautiful it was, but I wished more than anything that my kids couldn’t see it and experience the magic I felt that night.

I made a promise to myself that somehow, some way I would bring them there.

Fast forward to this year and I’m searching online for a “reasonable” (nothings reasonable in New York!) room for the four of us and of course I look up that hotel.  I was disappointed to learn that they’d turned it into a time-share by Wyndham, and that it no longer functioned as a stand alone hotel, but it still offered a limited number of standard (plain) rooms.  I had been so set on showing the kids this hotel that I decided to book a regular room with two double beds, even though the experience wouldn’t compare.  At least then they could stay in the same hotel I’d stayed in four years before.

When we arrived at the hotel at midnight the front desk clurk looked worried.  She went to get her manager and after a few minutes of looking at our reservation and whispering behind the desk, he said; “I’m so sorry, but it looks like we’ve given away your room for tonight. I could however, upgrade you to our two bedroom suite at no additional charge.” I screamed quietly inside and graciously took the keys. (#MoneyAintAThing!)

Mira looking up at the Chrystler Building

When we walked into the room, my kids and I all started screaming! It was the same room I’d stayed in four years before!! Kanen had his own bedroom with a panoramic view of the Chrysler Building, and his own bathroom. The girls and I shared the master bedroom and bath. It was beyond a dream come true, even if we only got to keep it for a day. #ManifestThat!

The kids looking at Grand Central Station from our living room

That is the power of the #HBRMethod to deliver your dream in a way you’d never expect and bigger than you could even dream it! I never let go of the dream that one day my kids would see the view from that room, and I manifested it exactly without it costing a penny more!


Aside from the cost of the room I did that entire trip to NYC on under $600 for a family of four!!! You don’t have to be rich to live like you are! You just have to want it bad enough, be willing to work for it, believe in it with your entire being and then take the opportunities when they are presented.

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This is just one tiny example of how I’ve manifest experiences far beyond what was ever on my “vision board” I have so many more, using the #HBRMethod.  If your ready to change your life, just know this… YOU CAN.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR FULL PHOTO ALBUM (also following on Instagram and Facebook is the most “real time” way to follow for photos and updates) CLICK HERE to watch videos from our trip.


*The hashtags refer to steps of the #HBRMethod as outlined in my book #HustleBelieveReceive

Sarah Centrella is the author of the book Hustle Believe Receive which teaches you how to apply the #HBRMethod to change your life and live your dream.

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