Santangelo’s Sicily

Debra Santangelo has kindly written a guest blog post for me, about her fascinating life. I hope you enjoy reading!

Santangelo's Sicily (1)

Every time I get off the plane at Catania airport on the spectacular island of Sicily I feel overwhelmed by a mixture of emotions. You see, the first time I ever set foot on the island I was only 18 and I was completely spellbound by the intoxicating combination of sunshine, tradition and legend that accompanies the Italian island. I fell completely under the spell of the old-fashioned villages with their winding streets and the constant presence of Mount Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano, which was an ever-present companion throughout our days.


Little did I know that this exciting trip would change my life forever.

I had so many adventures during that first Summer. I rode on the back of a Vespa through the cobbled labyrinth of alleys and slept on the beach under the stars. I went to Italian parties out in the countryside and sat in the park most afternoons reading Italian novels to practise the language……..and that’s where I met the fiery Sicilian who was to become my husband.

I fell head over heels in love and over the next few years, we travelled all over Italy. Throughout this time I worked in a campsite on Lake Garda and taught English in Milan. It was a crazy time and when we decided to start settling down we moved back to England where I completed my degree in Travel Management.

Of course, Sicily was always in the back of my mind and I knew that my Italian adventure wasn’t yet over. After university, we decided to move back to the island and that’s when I found out that I was pregnant with my eldest daughter. I was over the moon but all of a sudden the whirlwind adventure ended and I found myself completely isolated in a small Sicilian village, away from my friends and family, sitting at home all day waiting for my husband to return home from work.

After months of living like this, the vibrant, ambitious young girl disappeared to be replaced with an insecure housewife, completely dependent on her husband even to go out for a coffee or a walk around the park. At that time it was unheard of for women to go out alone there unless they were headed straight to the school or to the bread shop!

Then one day I decided that enough was enough and I summoned enough energy to turn my life around. We moved back to the UK and I made the conscious decision to become that independent, passionate girl once again.

I started my coaching business because I wanted to help other women who are in the position that I was. I wanted to show women that no matter how ‘stuck’ or frustrated they may feel, there is always another way. I now continue to share this message with my community because, to me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing an independent woman with a purpose and a strong voice to share with the world.

Now, my life couldn’t be different. I regularly visit Sicily with my husband and my two daughters and we spend a wonderful couple of weeks sightseeing and spending time with our Italian family. Earlier this month we travelled there for my niece’s First Communion and I still become enchanted by the wonderful traditions and the breathtaking scenery. As we wander through our olive groves in the rugged countryside I still feel like I’ve stepped into a scene from The Godfather and that Michael Corleone will appear over the hill any time now in his search for Apollonia!

Nothing is more important to me than my freedom and the freedom of my family and it’s now my passion in life to help as many women as possible create a business that aligns them with their true identity and gives them financial independence.

The world has so much to offer and I’m going to enjoy it to the full………..but it will be on my terms!


Debra Santangelo is an International Business and Success Coach and teaches women entrepreneurs how to create a freedom-based business that allows them to design a life they truly love. 

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For more information about Debra’s coaching go to

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  1. aladyinromeandarountheworld
    June 8, 2017 / 9:51 am

    A really nice story!

  2. June 9, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I enjoyed reading this personal story. It’s great that you were able to rediscover yourself, and even more wonderful that your husband supported you, just as you’ve supported him. Lovely.

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