My name is Annemarie, a Dutch illustrator and graphic designer from the Netherlands now living in Sardegna. After a year and a half in an apartment in the south of Sardegna, close to the sea, we recently moved to a big house more inland and up north. Plus now we have a garden! And an independent turtle, who was already living here in the garden.
A few frequently asked questions answered.
How did you decide to move abroad? Honestly, I don’t know. It just grew. M and I have no clue who brought it up first. I used to dream about traveling the world with a backpack, but I was also realistic enough to realize that that sounds much more romantic than it is. And honestly it doesn’t really fit my character, I’d be miserable not knowing what’s next áll the time, moving around non stop, new people, new places, being social. I wish I could, but it’s just not for me. I am more of a cosy home kind of girl with a taste for adventure. So living abroad in one place, with all the benefits of beautiful nature, hikes, beaches ánd a cosy home sounded better to me.
Why Italy? I understand the question, but I also don’t.. Why? Have you ever been here? Have you tasted the food, have you heard the language? Have you tasted their gelato and their perfectly cooked pasta? The wine? The coffee? Especially here in Sardegna: have you seen the beaches and the color of that water? But seriously, why not? I have lived the first half (I assume) of my life in a flat – also beautiful, don’t get me wrong – crowded, kind of wet country surrounded by concrete, where trains are always full and on a sunny day you can’t find a spot on the beach without being surrounded by screaming kids. Crowds are not my kind of thing anyway. So the second part of this life I thought I would try something else. Because really, why not?
Short answer: we fell in love with Sardegna while on holiday. Boring answer, right?
What about work? I have been working as a freelancer for over 10 years now. At first I spent nearly all of my time in a (company’s) office. But work changed, clients changed and I got to work from my home studio more and more. Especially the last 4 or 5 years I have intentionally tried to work from home as much as possible, so I would be location independent and could work from anywhere in the world. I mainly illustrate articles in magazines and design newspapers, magazines or brochures. Curious what I make? Check out my portfolio website.
I accepted there would be some things I had to let go once I moved abroad, but with this pandemic on the loose it turns out much more can be done from home than everybody thought. So even the things I thought I would let go because I could not physically be there, I could take with me to Sardegna. There’s an upside to this mess too.
You can just pack up and go? Within the EU you can practically move wherever you want without a problem. So theoretically, yes. But I suggest you come prepared. I have been reading and learning and preparing this move for years. From choosing a location, figuring out if you want to (or can) buy or rent, learning the language to all the little ‘details’ like health insurance, taxes and generally how stuff works around here. I am glad I came prepared with a fiscal code, health insurance and copies of all sorts of official documents, so we can throw at ‘them’ whatever they ask. And we learn a little more every day 🙂
What about the pandemic? Our original plan was fall 2020. We have had a bit of a delay because our exploration trip in March was canceled. We had the entire summer – sitting at home – to think about what we wanted to do. Can we go anyway? Do we even want to go anyway? We felt locked in our little apartment in the big city more and more every day. Not knowing how long this was going to take and knowing there is so much space and so little people here, we decided we would go if we could. By the end of the summer we were able to go on our exploration trip anyway and we did. We found an apartment we could move into the next month, so we returned home and started arranging and packing. There was a lot of uncertainty you usually wouldn’t have, such as ‘are we allowed to enter Italy’, ‘will our flight even go?’, ‘Do we need a negative corona test?’ and even ‘what if that test is not negative?’… But all went as smoothly as I hoped for and we arrived here mid November.
Anything else about you? I am the youngest of three, with one brother and one sister. M and I met at work in 2014 and have been happily exploring life together ever since. No pets, no kids, lots of freedom, pencils and
plants not enough plants (yet… we need to start over building our little green leafy family here). Spring is my favorite season. I am not very good with too much sun and heat (but I feel like I am adjusting…). I would like to be sporty, but let’s be honest… I am not (it’s too hot most of the time anyway). But I do like to swim, ride my bike and go on hikes. And I must admit that it feels good áfter I go for a run.
And this blog? It is about my life as an illustrator and this adventurous road to and in Italy. I’ll show you my work and how it’s made. You will read about the materials and programs I use. I will show you what inspires me. You can join me while I figure out how to earn a passive income and spend less time behind computer screen. But it’s not all work related, you can join me here while I learn Italian in our little conversations with the locals. And of course, you can tag along while we explore our beautiful island in the Mediterranean sea.
I hope to inspire you to live your life to the fullest and follow your dreams. Please feel free to leave a comment and inspire me with your own story.
You can find more about me and my work at:
annemariegorissen.com > portfolio website
instagram.com/annemarie_illustration > my illustration account
etsy.com/pencilsandpasta > my etsy shop (sorry it’s closed for now until I am all settled in here)
society6.com/annemariegorissen > my illustrations on products
facebook.com/pencilsandpasta > my facebook page