Ciao! Bonjour 🙂
I’m Robin Locker Lacey.
Italophile, Francophile, lover of food and wine, indy traveler. I never met a French cheese I didn’t like and I can eat my weight in pasta carbonara.
As a minimalist, I naturally travel light. Known in certain circles as the ‘Carryon Queen’, I teach people how to travel with only a carry-on bag.
I’m also the owner of Mélange Travel and I’ve been dishing out Italy and France travel advice and planning trips for nearly a decade.
I am extemely passionate about what I do and feel so grateful to do work I love. EVERYDAY. I get to help people with their dreams of traveling to France and Italy. What could be better than that?
But I didn’t always have this fabulous job. I created it. Organically. And it was born from a passion of two countries I love and a desire to help people.
Let me explain.
As cliché as it sounds, my life changed forever the day I saw Under the Tuscan Sun. I charged outta the theater, determined to travel to Italy. I subsequently planned my first (of many) trip, with my husband (then boyfriend) as he stood by in shock and disbelief.
The trip was amazing. I fell deeply in love with Italy -the gregarious people, the simple, delicious food, café culture, the wine, the architecture, the history, the language, and the lifestyle in general.
And gelato. Did I mention the gelato?
Craving more European culture (read food + wine), I decided to put my high-school French to good use and travel to Paris, solo. It was there I discovered the nooks and crannies of the magical city, without the distraction of a companion.
I savored my first real French croissant, began my obsession with macarons, dispelled the ‘French are rude’ myth and overcame the fear of traveling alone in foreign city.
And I planned both of those trips myself. On a budget. Without a travel agent or signing up for one of those overcrowded, overpriced, marathon ten-cities-in-five-days group tours. Those are so not my style.
When I got back from Paris, I started a little blog as a way to share my experiences, recipes, travel tips and infuse European culture into other’s lifestyles. I enjoyed writing, so I decided I’d try some freelance travel writing.
Friends and family started asking for advice with their travel plans. I was excited to help and found my advice actually made a difference.
So, I combined my passion for travel and food, Italy and France, my detail-oriented nature and years of management and customer service experience and created a multi-faceted travel business.
And that’s how Mélange Travel was born.
My wish is for you to experience Italy and France like a local, discover your own passions and be willing to let it change your life as it did mine. My goal is to help you get there! By traveling smarter, lighter, stress-free and on any budget.
And me? Well, maybe I’ll publish a travel memoir someday. Each subsequent trip adds more stories!
But mostly, I dream of living out the rest of my days somewhere in the beautiful Tuscan countryside – drunk on Chianti and the Italian language.
1. Why Mélange?
I’ve always loved the word. In French, it means a mix of things. And not only are my services a mix of things – travel planning, food and wine tours, helping people travel lighter – but it also describes my travel philosophy, perfectly.
I believe the recipe for a good trip contains:
- a mix of history, culture, food
- a mix of touristed hot spots and hidden gems
- a mix of pre-planned activities and plenty of down time
- a mix of guided tours and self-discovery
- a mix of dining experiences – wine bars, street food, picnics, casual and award-winning restaurants
So Mélange worked on many levels. And it just fit.
2. If you had to pick between the two – which country do you love more?
I get asked this pretty often. And it’s a tough question because although they have many similarities, there are differences too. Without offending anyone, this is how I generally sum up my feelings:
I love France, but I’m in love with Italy