Milan With Locals

What a whirl wind of a trip! As I sit here with my cup of coffee reflecting on the amazing experience Milan was I do not know where to start.  You see, I work in a high stress marketing firm and I needed a break, especially after my last meeting with my boss. My boss came to me telling me I needed to update my look. Apparently, our clients were wary of meeting with me as my sense of fashion was less than stellar. Working in marketing this is a must need asset as first impressions can sometimes be all you get.

I had quite a bit of vacation time saved up and it hit me, why not take a trip to one of the fashion meccas of the world and one of the most beautiful architectural historic cities- Milan. Traveling to Milan had always been a dream of mine, I love fashion; the fabrics, the designs, the styles.  That was it, I had to go!  I needed this, I needed to feed my soul and remember my passion.

So, I cashed in on my vacation, and started searching for vacation packages.  I didn’t want to just book a tour, because I am not that kind of girl.  I wanted a real sense of Milan, I wanted to feel like a local, I wanted to see the fashion, eat the food, see the sights, I wanted to do it the way the Milanese did.  I found the most amazing travel site,

Withlocals pairs travels like you and me with locals across the world, this way you can really customize your trip and make it less tourist or tour-guide driven and feel more like a local.  You will have a local showing you the ropes of the city.  Locals specializing in the areas you want to focus on like fashion in my case, or food, history, architecture, tastings, whatever you want to include on your trip will be paired with you so you can fully customize your trip. and booked my trip. I carefully crafted my perfect Milanese vacation with help from my new friends and booked my trip. I was packed, booked and ready to go!  I sang John Denver the whole Uber ride to the airport. Why?  Because I was “Leaving on a  jet plane!”

I landed in Milan and made my way to Piazza Gae Aulenti where I meet Laura.  She took me on one of the Milan tours offered by Withlocals where I got to get my bearings of the city.  We toured shops, churches, courtyards; I learned some of the history of the city- but more importantly I learned from a local- not a historian or a tour guide. Her knowledge was insightful, funny and engaging.  I felt like I was walking through the city with a long time friend.  We stopped for gelato at a food truck, and coffee in a quaint cafe.  We didn’t just tour the major tourist hot-spots, but the historic back alley’s and small streets as well.

That evening was such a treat, Francesca a home chef opened her home to a group of us for a three-course meal that was true Italian cuisine! It was so much more that food though.  The food was amazing, but the conversation, was even better.  The stories of Milan, the people, the history, the architecture it was all so amazing.  Watching how she prepared the meal and learning some tricks and tips to take home was an extra treat that I will forever cherish.

The fashion tour was beyond words. Caterina was so knowledgeable, and so patient with me.  I was so full of questions.  I wanted to know about textures, contrasts, how style trends were created, what formed the next seasons.  She answered all my questions and when she didn’t know the answer, she would ask for me to get the answer.  Our day was so full; Starting in the Navigil quarter, showrooms, fabric stores, jewelry design, vintage- I can write on and on about the vintage shop! We even got to go to the San Vittore Prison where I got to hear the local gossip about the Lady Gucci.  By the end of the day my mind was spinning! How had I forgotten, how had I lost this passion?

Will I start a new career in fashion? No, because I love my job in marketing.  However, I will continue to nurture my love for fashion in other ways.  I will embrace fashion and enjoy it as I did once before.  I will also take many more trips using Withlocals, this experience was beyond words.

So, What’s Next for me? Bonjour Paris!

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