When did I contracted this unusual disease, I am not quite sure…
Born in the north of Italy by a Sicilian father and a French mother, my first long trip was in my mother’s womb. In the summer of 1982 (like they had done the previous years when I was not even in their thoughts), they travelled in a small Fiat 500 from Veneto region up to Brittany, my mother’s home place, scared of nothing and no one. Since then they would drive at least 1600 km every summer to spend the holidays with my mum’s family in France, whilst they lived the whole year in Italy. Since my father’s family is from the very south of Italy instead, it was at Christmas time (every other year or so) that we would take a night train to cross the whole peninsula and then the boat to arrive on my father’s land to celebrate the new year.
When I was about 2 or 3 years old, they moved down to Tuscany were I grew up for the rest of my childhood. It is quite renown that most young Italians of my generation live with their parents until the age of 30 (and more). So if you consider that I instead moved to the UK (where I knew absolutely no one) the day after my 23rd birthday, holding my life in my hands and impatient to turn the pages of this amazing adventure book that I still consider my existence even up to nowadays, everything makes perfect sense: more traveling, a wider choice of languages for my kids, an extended internationalization for the new family I was building up in this country with my partner in traveling.
I should not really be surprised then, when I notice that going away even for a short break gives me a profound joy and a strong feeling of belonging: a world’s citizen, an European woman who discovers the beauty of our continent, with curiosity and wonder. New York is the only place I visited outside Europe so far, but mostly because there was not enough money before we had kids and now that the kids are here, just the jet lag and all their needs would make it a waste of money if we were not being able to enjoy in full our exotic destinations. Discovering places outside Europe is definitively in our wishing list from when they will be teenagers or at uni.
When I am in front of a beautiful scenario, I forget about all my pain and my worries, I instantly heal my soul little by little. It literally feels like informal meditation: I remember I am alive, I focus on my breathing sensations, I feel my feet in my shoes carrying my body’s weight from the ground, I see the colors and the shapes as if I was about to draw a painting of what’s in front of me. In fact, when I meditate at home by focusing on my breath and I observe the repeated wondering of my mind, the moments were I feel intense joy are the times where my mind brings me back as it was reality to a memory of one of my amazing holidays. In fact, the gentle waives off the shore on the Amalfi Coast are not much different from the sound of air coming in my nose and then coming out of it. Sitting in the sun with my eyes closed like I used to do in Spain makes me feel my body in its entirety….
I don’t understand those people who works crazy hours and cannot find the time to use all of their annual leave. It makes sense to work to make a living and enjoy the reality in front of us, I strongly believe we don’t get a life to work and mend the pain by distracting us in the office hours after hours. And one does not have to go that far to feel that shiver down the back in front of beauty: Bournemouth and Poole, the New Forest, Box Hill, even national parks within London like Morden hall park are amazing nearly free discoveries (as long as you have enough money to book one hotel night or through Airbnb, or even just put petrol in your car or buy a tube/train ticket for the day).
I cannot understand a world with walls up, countries divided, people hating each other for cultural differences, and that attitude that some ignorant people have believing only the place where they were born is worth knowing, hence they will never travel outside their ‘comfort zone’. And the same for those who don’t care about climate change, pollution or recycling and minimizing use of plastic and other rubbish, immersed as they are in this new century shopaholic capitalism….
Every little action we take, every decision we make has an impact on our lives and the ones of our neighbors, not only our dear ones. Traveling is only possible if we keep on being open to one another and together we are caring about our planet. If we stop doing so, there may be no more traveling one day… I am not too sure which direction humanity wants to go lately.