First time I went to an other continent I thought it would have been by boat or with anything that I could enjoy and that could make me feel the time and climate changing in a smooth and natural way. I couldn’t: there was a terrible delay on my phd discussion in Torino. The big “Palazzo Nuovo” was closed due to a very bad asbestos contamination chance. My beloved tutor died of cancer two days after my phd discussion. He couldn’t even be there due to his sickness.
My plan of crossing the Atlantic Ocean blew up, and my saddness never actually touched that low level I was aspected from such a rough time. Probably this happened because I just went off: From my duties, my dreams, my businesses, my relationships and my everything: I just quitted!
I know it could sounds like many other stories but for many friends who could see me growing up in rules and obligations while having an anarchist spirit it was just a very aspected coming out for the good of everybody around. Most of the people that love me closer would agree that I’m much better away. Let’s say I was just holding my breath pretending to fit for something like 25 years.
Tis little collection of stories that nowadays we call blog will tell that it is not a fashionable way to get out of the way while being still around the western society in mind and purposes, but it is a little contribute for those who can still dream.
When money is not involved people rather thing there is no much going on, but I can swear especially coming where I come from, having that specific background, thinking what I’m thinking and fitting nowhere, that people like me can still live a great life just choosing their freedom.
So I was in an airplane, trying to recognize some caribbean islands from above. I travelled around Europe since I turned 18 and I could be able to afford a train ticket. I was a genius of self-orientation when it came about big cities and metros, but I remember I got lost in those clouds looking the America from above. It was a great thing, it was like watching my favourite book, the atlas, there, in my home bed in the closet where I started to dream about the world Back in the days. I was flying into South America, me, that girl that grew up in a room with no windows, and a scarse vision… At that time I was thinking “all of that is far from beeing enough”.
Still now, after four years travelling. I still think “that’s far from being enough”.
I chosed Colombia simply: it was cheap (I couldn’t get any farther with my budget), it was in the middle (good to look for some sailing options) it was in South America (even if I thought my first stop in s.a. it would have been Brazil) it was packed of indigenous beautiful culture, it wasn’t a tourist hotspots. All that sounded great!
The VhF was an important tool for my new life abroad. So it was that I started my “official” and “public” talking in English. At that time I remember it was an issue because even if I could communicate quite well with this foreign language I was still in doubt about my “listening” skills. Imagine when the skills needed are related to safety during sailing, approaching harbours, decks and having infos about weather, coordinates and communications with other boats. I really thought I could mess a lot with this tool in my hands, but everything went right in the end. First time using it was in the Caribbean Sea, Virgin Islands. Everybody on board thought it was my duty to do that, cause nobody was able to say anything in English. After this time that I remember with a bit of fear, this job was quite different…
When I started to travel with a more diversified provenience travellers everything become more “democratic” and the use of the vhf wasn’t a big deal anymore.
During my sailing trip I discover that the SSB Radio (single side band) was a great tool to communicate. In every area you can ask for the frequencies were independent volunteers advise you about everything related to the sea at least twice per day, at a certain time. I found it interesting, especially because you can communicate your position when you leave and people are taking notes of it. That means that they will look for you when you are aspected to come somewhere, somehow. This might sound a bit “too much” but is actually a very useful way to stay safe and “together” even when far apart from each other. Sometimes you meet new sailors because you hear their story on the radio and maybe you even talked, and the day after they are anchoring just besides you.
On those radio “rendez-vous”, there is normally a boat crew who is volunteering. They normally start to call people that were “in” during the last transmission. If you are signing for the first time you go on the queue waiting for the call for anybody else to join. After giving your name and position you can just keep silent and listen to the others or asking your questions and express your doubts on the end. I loved this system, I loved to hear from other people. I loved that we weren’t alone in a little boat in the vastity of the ocean. There were other sailors, many of them.
In Ritme, I was using the SSB radio also for sending very concise mails. We had the SailMail account provider connected with a Modem to the SSB Radio (it’s something like 280 $ per year, a pretty fair price for being connected with the world and being able to get the forecast wherever you are). It was quite a funny game for me to look for the best station with the most of the chance to get an email through, unless the Ocean was rough and throwing me up, down and left and right onto the desk. This system is actually very basic: you send a little email to a computer that is always connected on one of those radio stations offered (that is why you need to check the favourite one), that computer will eventually send it for you. Quite often “Niue” or “Honolulu” were the best options. One -few words (10) – email from the Ocean could take from two minutes to half of hour to go through. But, yes, I could tell my sister that I was still alive after many days of silence. It’s a great tool.
It’s weird to write down this part of my trip because it makes me think that actually there is a bit of chillin’ even in “my way” to travel: it’s not fight everyday. Sometimes you just need to accept that life is simple and beautiful like it is and you need to enjoy what is in front of your eyes.
I was passing by Townsville in Australia with my travelmate going south from Cairns, and that was the only plan we had got. Actually none of our stops was planned. It was just me asking: “well, since we are here. Why don’t we go to Magnetic Island?” So we did. We found the port, we dropped the car in a parking area and we went took a ferry. First thing I realized was that I’ve been missing islands’ air. It was quite a while I was on a “mainland”, almost one year, and “yes” watching an island while you get closer and closer gave me very good vibes. You smell it, you reach it, and finally you arrive in a paradise. I think islands give me such a good feeling because I’ve always appreciated the simplicity and the idea of a little and cozy space all for you but actually opened to the beauty of a 360 degrees of freedom, wild, purity; basically …. The Ocean
Most of the people thinks island is a prison and a place where every good is hard to find and expensive. I honestly think the opposite: in the island my needs are so low that even if I spend a lot of money for little goods, I have very basic claims and since I don’t feel the stress of “civilization” anymore, I can easy reject some of the very “must to have” objects of the commodified society. It’s not that in a island you are immediately isolated, cause it actually doesn’t change very much especially in those inhabited places, but ideally the separation makes you projected in a necessary wildness, in a detached mood. And that’s enough sometimes.
We went through the forests with a bus first, to Horseshoe bay, and walking after, till Radical bay. Horseshoe bay is a beautiful and gently inhabited bay on the north shore.
From there, you can take a nice walk in the middle of the dry forest of this special island going a bit east. After our little sandwich on the garden on the seafront of Horseshoe bay, we went to explore this beauty: we even spot a Koala in the wild. We weren’t that into the tourism to be able and excited to pay for a visit at the Koala Sanctuary, but in the end we got our little wild present (with a little help). Since koalas are very silent, slow and often asleep it’s very hard to spot them in the wild, cause you wouldn’t actually realize they are around unless a very kind man crossing your way would tell you where to look
We had some pics trying to keep silent. I was wondering how they would do in the Sanctuary: if those animal are awake basically 4 hours per day, holding them it must necessary be while they sleep. I’m not an ethologist but I suppose it would be quite a stress for them, using the only few hours they have got to chew a couples of leaves to be held by a stranger.
The walking was not easy neither too hard. Radical bay was lush… I was almost tempted to dive, but I saw some particular ex-life on the sand that made me unconfident…
After walking by the beach I preferred to climb trees around and lay and chill. I got one of the best nap of my life. Alex was working on opening a coconut while I was dreaming about living a life on top of a tree. After he finished this hard work he reached me on the hall of my new “home” and we had some coconutwater together. It’s crazy how simple is happiness when you forget how unneeded is the effort to rush and accumulate in an ordinary life.
The last decade has begun with two mourners that have struck me deeply. I’ve being followed by that cloud of bad feelings during my whole twenties. I can’t say they were horrible; better than the teens, for sure. Many things had happened, including moves, delusions, achievements, and doors slammed in my face. At the beginning of my young life I was a teacher of righteousness. I was good at being in advance in everything, especially in time, in reasoning, in reaching a goal. The ambition that always moved me did not even allow me to be competitive, to look around and compare myself to others: there was no time for these stupid things. I was good at doing many things and I expected the world and its inhabitants to reward me with their graces. This has never happened, especially from its inhabitants, who, despite having studied them long and wide, continue to cause me an immense discomfort and make me feel the need to go to lick my wounds in solitude more often than expected. I remember the times when I used to say that hard work would be rewarded. I have a word for those who still believe in it: “bullshit”. Just bullshit. What is rewarded is when you decide to fuck it all and decide to break through the door that has always been slammed in your face or write on it “Fuck you”, turn and walk away. Those are the finest satisfactions I have ever taken: me, my personal growth and the times when even if the world shows me how unjust it is, I look at him with my glittering eyes and tell him: sooner or later everyone slams the useless baby toe into the useless corner somewhere, somehow. I grew up in a wonderful place where despite the people I love are always there to wait and show me their affection they often have been the ones to make me suffer the most, with their prejudices and their biases. My mother is the exception. Despite her atavistic negativity, that is the result of ages of watching corruption, bad politics, mafia, and all kind of usurper exploiting us since many centuries, I believe she comes from a parallel universe: her mercy has always misguided me. She can do something I’m trying to do since a longtime now: “Do not bring rancor.” When I was little, except for my closest relatives (which are very special in this) every time I was curious about something, I was answered: “What’s for?” That, translating intonation and Sicilian sarcasm, means “let it go, it’s hard, you’ll probably won’t make it, this is not for you. ” Honestly, I think it is a miracle that I came out as I am from such an ineffective environment, devoted to the impossibility and poor ambition. I am astonished less and less, because in the rest of the world it does not work that way and, since I’ve lived in the rest of the world, I tend to forget the bitterness of an uncle or a relative who “stifles” your abilities. I promise myself that I will smile every time that this will happen in the future rather than get angry. As far as I am concerned, it is ten years that I’m getting all that I want, for terribly contorted and disgraced ways, and I do not think many can say the same. I can, aloud. I have always had very few money and earned with a lot of effort, but this did not stop me from appreciating the slowness of real travels, the struggle for survival and the “barefoot” conquest of what freedom, happiness, knowledge were for me. The difficulties did not stop me from pointing my finger on a globe and saying “I’ll go there” and do it in reality. In my homeland it is always said “no”. It’s an interlayer! Even when we agree with someone we say “no” to intervene. It is amazing how much this attitude for years transmitted makes you become an exile if you do not want to accept it or one of the many “sad” being if you accept it. This mystical impossibility (which in Sicily makes people answer to you questions “no, it can’t be done” and even if you ask why it is not possible to solve that problem, especially bureaucracy related, they answere “because it is so”) made me so angry that I started to denounce my hometown problems with complains that nobody has ever listened to. I started to cure myself with travels, music and moving in a very special city like Turin, which has given me friendships I can swear will last forever. Thos special human beings took me by the hand when my anarchy began to overwhelm the bigots around me, they taught me the beauty of the “blurred edge” while my “sunny” attitude was only admiring the “bright” side of things, they showed me that it is not necessary to hide myself only because I’m a bit different. Then, It comes about the international friends who have helped me understand that the world is mine, and that love has infinite shapes, apple-shaped, home-shaped, sometimes grave-shaped, sometimes shapeless. Since then, since I only know how to make shabby shapes and chaotic things, I decided that I would have given so much love, free love, row love, fine love, in fact, inform love. Whenever I am tempted to judge a behavior or a choice of life I will ask myself a thousand times if it is not the case to learn again and to accept a new existence shape among my limits. I wish everyone to be free, to love without being “choked”, to be gentle and to send what makes you sufferto the hell, like I did yesterday that I quit my job! I’m going to build new dreams for the next decade, I know already they will be a million …
When I started to study Anthropology some years ago, the word Border was passing by everyones notes like a ghost, carrying its historical and sociological meaning of wall, fence, division and exclusion.
In a certain way we were avoiding to use it, because we would have rather to talk about ethnic groups in a cultural relationship instead of using strange words like “identity” that was like a summit rising successfully from the pride of being forever diverse in a corrupted world, while becoming immediately corrupted itself. I must say, I could talk about this concept hours, especially when I see people misusing it and defining things just to divide instead of clarify. For me the word identity has been always dividing and find a substitute to it gives me the same pleasure of chatting about love and relationship in the society: null. That is why I never do that.
But borders are real and political and since I started to travel way out of Europe I had many experiences. I got familiar with some special deals in between countries, that is why even if you go many times in the same place, you can have very different experiences depending on where you are coming from, at that specific time. I got familiar with vaccinations, quarantine and the value that some countries give to the food, to the drugs, to organic products or luxury goods.
Crossing by car is very interesting, even if procedures are more intrusive (checking a whole car can take a lot of time). The behaviour of the frontier forces can tell a lot about the country you are visiting but also yuur own behaviour can compromise your staying in the country.
The most beautiful and sometimes long and boring “check in” is by boat, especially when you have to wait some hours or days before you can actually put your foot on land. The reason why I don’t enjoy this process is obviously related to the sailing itself: sometimes you are just busy to find a proper spot, put the anchor or approaching the deck that the last thing you want is talk with somebody. Sometimes the whole trip has been so rough that the boat is a mess (who wants to receive guests when the house looks like hit by a hurricane?) and the first thing you want to do is put everything in order, clean, have a shower, drink some water and wash the salt out of your clothes, cushions, sails, cabins (sometimes it happens) or just sleep for 12 hours. The reason why I like this procedure is because customs people, even if they seem to not understand how hard it is to arrive from sea, they are normally very relaxed and friendly. They don’t deal with millions of people per day and they come ready with all the papers you need. All they ask for is documents, passports and some signatures. In the end, is not a big deal and after that you can enjoy your sleeping time for many many days. It’s actually quite awesome the freedom you can access once you get all this paper sorted. Just try to smile, even if you and your crew know how many times you have been puking or messing around, even if you know how much effort it takes to stay on route and get the boat safe in a harbour. Just try to take it easy, smile and be always polite. People don’t know what you have been going through and neither do you about them.