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Real estate’s most important rule: safety

Being cautious isn't always enough

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

At 23, I decided to move to Italy and become a nanny. No, it wasn't because I love children. I simply saw an adventure to take advantage of before I became old and boring (i.e., over 30). I still can't fathom how a smart, assertive, overly self-protective girl could end up in so many high-risk scenarios while overseas. The most harrowing happened in Venice. I spoke passable Italian (it has since slipped my mind after becoming old and boring) and was enjoying a lovely lunch while poring over a walking map of Venice, attempting to route the shortest distance from the cafe to a local cathedral. In Venice, that can be quite a feat -- much like navigating a human-sized mouse maze. My waiter stopped and asked where I was trying to get to. I reveled in the fact that I could competently tell him exactly what I was looking for in his native tongue, and he replied that he would be more than happy to take me there as soon as I was done eating. His shift was over, and he lived very clo...