In this edition of our expat-profile series, we meet a former Torontonian who’s living a jet-set lifestyle from the comfort of her Virginia home.
Claudia Wisdom-Good is the kind of expat that other expats just starting out aspire to be. Before moving to a 16-acre farm “in the middle of cows and cornfields” near Charlottesville, Virginia in the Piedmonts, Wisdom-Good worked in advertising, commercial jingles, print production, and as a flight attendant, where the Italian speaker regularly flew to Rome and Milan “with a touch of Paris, Barcelona and Buenos Aires.” Now, as the founder of jetsetwisdom.com, Wisdom-Good coordinates travel for “like-minded spirits” to Argentina, Turkeym and Italy. In her off-hours, she paints in her art studio, studies more Italian, and watches the sunset while she does yoga. Wisdom-Good says, “I still feel very Canadian—still am.”
Why did you move?
I moved from Toronto and Canada to pursue a more “tranquillo” lifestyle. I am able to live on a farm, 80 miles south of [Washington, D.C.] and still fly to unlimited international destinations several times a month. I was running a print production company in Toronto, and it seemed like I never had time to travel, or have downtime to just dig in the garden, or cook a great meal—just work, work, work.
Are you happy you moved?
[That is an] understatement. Although I still have regular pangs for my friends and beautiful, vibrant Toronto, my lifestyle is really like living in a dream.
What do you tell your friends about your new home?
I tell my friends that I’ve carved out a niche life: part country-farm girl, living in a charming 1870 farmhouse, painting with Firnew Farm Artists Circle, and doing yoga practice in my studio, but able to attend the LOOK3 photo festival in Charlottesville, a meet-up with an Italian group at nearby Barboursville Vineyards, and a new art show at DuCard Vineyard. And yet, I’m “jetsetting” in London today, New York City tomorrow, and Rome on Thursday. I’ve just returned from 10 days in Umbria, Italy, with my company and 13 artists. It really can’t get much better than this for a single girl.
What surprised you about moving?
Just how different this country is from Canada. Financially, I am living a much grander style of life than I possibly could afford in Toronto.
What do you miss about Toronto?
I miss a lot about Toronto: I miss the culture and pulse of being in advertising and music; I miss the choices of incredible food of all nations, and I miss the Elmwood Spa and boating on Lake Ontario. Music was always a big part of my life, and I don’t get that here in my lifestyle, in the same way. I miss windsurfing at Cherry Beach. I miss driving up north for crazy weekends of skiing or boating, and driving to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
What don’t you miss about Toronto?
I do not miss the weather and the high cost of living in Toronto, one bit, which are truly the two reasons why I moved away.
Does anything about where you live now remind you of Toronto?
Toronto is a very unique city, and nothing reminds me more than when I’m streaming CBC on my iTunes and feel as if I’m sitting on my balcony in Toronto on a Saturday morning. U.S. cities are not very similar to the charm of Toronto.