(Updated 30 December, 2021)
I’ll be brief, I won’t tell you about that time that I walked on the moon or about when I discovered America but I did something.
Most of my young twenties have been marked by shyness accompanied by a strong sense of inadequacy that has always limited myself a lot. I can problably make the idea comparing myself to a snail, with the only difference that I never came out from the shell, I just couldn’t do that.
I knew I had to act somehow to improve that side of my character and what did rescue me was tennis.
It was my main vent; the court was the only place where I was finally able to be myself and free myself from thoughts (well, at least until when I was losing and so I became mad with the whole world, but that’s another story). This sport it’s been a big help, thanks to it I grew up a lot and it helped me to get out of the shell, at least with a small part of the body.
What truly gave a great turning point to my life, however, have been the journeys and I’m infinitely grateful for it.
How was my passion for travel born?
I’ve always liked to wander but the true passion was born in 2017 when my parents, taken from an act of generosity, decided to give me some loose to do a trip and, as a great tennis fan, I decided to go to see a tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.
It was all pretty improvised in fact I haven’t even found someone willing to leave with me. So I took the chance to leave alone, with the full support of my mom (yes, of course).
I felt the need to get out there, put myself out there, to overthrow my biggest insecurities… And so I did.
Very common to say but very true: I did the right thing, at the right moment.
That experience was an enormous discovery: traveling alone is cool and I can’t help it anymore!
That same year I also went on a fantastic school trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of the most significant trips of my life. I met wonderful people and discovered a reality I had never seen before.
That trip opened my eyes and my mind. I realized for the first time how a travel can really change not only your life but even the way you look at it.
"The true voyage of discovery is not in seeking new lands, but in having new eyes."
This was followed by several adventures with friends around Europe until, the following summer, I decided to go solo again. That time, however, I decided to put myself to the test much more!
Marked by the trip in Bosnia-Herzegovina I decided to go deeper going to explore the Balkans.
I took a flight for Athens, Greece with the aim of crossing several Balkans countries heading north, along the coast, before returning to my homeland.
Not everything went as planned at all! In fact, being able to find a roof where to spend the nights wasn’t exactly easy.
Why? I'll tell you in future articles.
Anyway, I’ve been able to take the best from that journey and it was an absolutely marvelous adventure.
Thanks to that experience I started to appreciate the unpredictable and to embrace the adversity, turning them into possibilities.
The following year I finally managed to get my diploma and, with it, the fateful question arose: “and what do I do now?”
Moving to Australia
I had some ideas, but I wanted to travel. So, using the usual justification “travel will let me find answers”, I renounced the graduation trip and I refused three job proposals to leave for Melbourne, Australia. Finally.
I did what I wanted, what I always dreamed of and, nowadays is the choice of life that I am most proud of.
My experience in Australia started with a few months volunteering with Workaway, a program that allows you to get in touch with families from all over the world and offer your help in exchange for room and board. It was the perfect solution for me because, since I didn't know English, I would have had a lot of practice and it also meant a lot to me to have a "point of reference"; in the end I found myself catapulted to the other side of the world, alone, without a job and with a significant language barrier.
Feeling part of a family would have helped me not to feel lonely and to make new friends.
So it was. I spent three and a half unforgettable months experiencing true Australian “culture” and living one of the most carefree periods of my life, where I also worked in a wide variety of jobs. From gardener and painter to porter and cleaner. I even started baking cakes (which I can assure you was an achievement for me).
After the months of volunteering I moved into a shared house with other workers and students from all over the world. There were fifteen of us in that house and that was definitely the best time of my life.
It was during those months that, after having only a few dollars left in my account, I started delivering food by bicycle. That was my first exhausting and unfulfilling job in Australia. I continued for a short while until I finally got my first “serious” job as a chef and dishwasher in an Italian restaurant.
That job was my salvation and accompanied me for several months. In the meantime, as we all know, a global pandemic broke out and I was in serious trouble (like everyone). I lost my job and started again to deliver food by bike and sell cakes to survive. It was the hardest and most rewarding time because I learned to cope in a situation I could not even imagine having to face.
After a few months I got my previous job back and held on to it until the last day of my stay in the land of kangaroos when sadly, due to visa issues and the health emergency we were experiencing, I found myself forced to return back home.
Australia has been a true divine grace and without it I would not be the person I am today, let alone be here to tell you about it.
I lived with families who welcomed me as a son and I built relationships with adorable people that had left indelible memories in my heart.
I learned to appreciate life in its simplicity, smiling at it and being grateful for it, everyday more.
It’s been, without any doubt, the most beautiful and significant year of my life.
Alphonse de Lamartine
“There is no man more complete than he who has travelled, who has changed the shape of his thought and life twenty times”
The return to Italy
I can clearly divide my life into two chapters. Australia strongly marked not only my personality but also my lifestyle and the vision I have of it. And so, the real test came on my return to Italy, exactly one year later and in the middle of the pandemic.
I remember the first months after my return as the hardest of my life.
I was't happy, I wasn't where I wanted to be and I felt disoriented, watching my dream being swept away by the pandemic. I had no money and I knew it would be a long time before I could return (because that was the goal), but how many months/years would have to pass? These doubts ravaged me on a daily basis and distanced me tremendously from the present, and of course the lockdown didn't help.
It took me several months to accept the fact that I would have to patiently start building my daily life again.
What helped me a lot was definitely the creation of the blog. It became my personal space where I could be myself and write whatever came into my head. It was the key to me enjoying the present, as I knew where I could invest my energies on a daily basis and where I encapsulated (I still do) my dreams in words.
And then, when we were finally granted freedom again, came the travelling.
Adventures in Italy and the world
Immediately after the restrictions I decided to go on my first post-Covid and post-Australia trip.
I wanted absolute freedom and so I decided to do something I would never have done if the land of kangaroos had not given me this extreme spirit of adventure: to set off on a long walk from Bologna to Florence without a map or mobile phone and with a tent in my rucksack. "Via Degli Dei".
That trip was a real life-changer! I set out alone, put myself to the test and tested my limits. I met wonderful people, saw breathtaking landscapes and felt strong emotions; so much so that that journey made me fall in love with walking.
In the following months then I took the opportunity to walk the "Cinque Terre" in Liguria and the "Borghi Silenti", in Umbria (both spectacular). In the meantime I also included some adventures with friends by going to explore Poland and Tenerife.
At the end of the summer I then left for a wonderful month of voluntary work in a remote location in the mountains of Portugal where I learned many skills and where, moreover, I slept in a tent for 21 consecutive days.
In Portugal I got to know an English guy who was going through the same experience as me and we decided to go on a road trip together in Italy! We decided to do it the ultimate adventure and so we bought some canned food, decided that the hammock would be our bed for a fortnight but most importantly we didn't set any limits.
We set off with no idea where to go, let alone where to sleep. We crossed four regions from Positano in Campania to Florence in Tuscany, covering over two thousand kilometres and sleeping in the most unthinkable and incredible places of this land! It was the most adventurous trip I have ever taken and I had been dreaming of it for ages. (You can see the report of our trip in my featured stories on Instagram).
Thanks to it I discovered that this is my style of travel: uncomfortable, in the middle of nature and above all where nothing is planned.
My last trip in 2021 was to Jordan. It was incredibly rich in experiences and the most culturally formative trip I have ever taken. It fuelled my passion for Asian countries even more and, above all, opened my eyes to realities unknown to me.
The year 2021 was full of travels, experiences and emotions and above all it gave me the confirmation that journeys are the direction for my happiness and well-being.
And now I am working as a tennis instructor at a sports centre in my home town as well as working daily on the blog and writing a book that I hope to finish soon.
If you think I've stopped, however, you are sadly mistaken. My adventures have just begun and 2022 will be a year full of travel and important changes. Stay with me if you want to find out what I have planned for the coming months!