When somebody is asked to report their adventure, they usually give a quite detailed description of every place they visit and every person they meet. I must beg your pardon if I will not be able to do that, but accounting breathtaking sunsets and stunning landscapes is not the aim of my present writing. To describe how my two-week journey ‘on the road’ (let me use this expression, it makes me feel one step closer to Kerouac’s grandeur) affected me is not that easy. First of all, because I visited three different countries and cannot summarize all the emotions I felt. And secondly, because my mind is still excited and, as such, I do not have a clear vision of the whole. All I can say for sure is that I have changed, or I should better say that I have grown up.
My journey began on July 10, 2014, when I crammed half my wardrobe in a rucksack. Maybe two weeks is not a long time to say that I made up my mind about life’s big questions. On the contrary, I spent my time musing, wondering, and taking some time off my duties. I did not want to become too busy working to forget I live in a big system, to forget how to appreciate it, how to feel that I was part of something bigger and special. Briefly, I would dare say I did not want to become the cause of my own limits. This is one of the reasons which led me to choose this kind of journey instead of booking a king room in a resort. I wanted to feel close to nature – to break free – and I eventually did it.
All I did as I got up on the train was look outside the window, trying to catch every particular that flashed before my eyes. Joyce would have called it an epiphany. For the first time I figured out the deepness of the entanglement which links all our lives together. My curiosity grew thirsty; I wanted to find out more. But most of all, I wanted to feel free to draw my own line, to write my own destiny, to choose my own entanglements. This is not the beginning of some superhero fictional book that I am talking about, but a true feeling which crossed my mind the instant my journey started. I chose to focus my journey on feeling close to nature and on discovering myself as well.
The first task was not too hard to accomplish: I spent my days on the pavement in Copenhagen, taking a canal cruise in Amsterdam, and breathing fresh new air in Munich – but discovering oneself is not that easy. People spend their whole lifetime trying to figure something out about themselves, and don’t always succeed. This journey was my chance. I have always wondered who I am (I’ve been struggling with my feelings since forever) and I just wanted to find a satisfying answer. Not that I know nothing about myself, but we are all made of flesh, bones, and countless nervous connections which we don’t fully understand yet. In a nutshell, we are all very similar from the outside, but each of us has got something that makes them unique on the inside. I wanted to find that something which could depict my real self, my expectations for the future, and my undisclosed desires. So I took out my pad while traveling from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, lying down on my rucksack, and I started to write.
In the middle of nowhere between two big cities, far away from home, after many emotions and adventures, I found out what I wanted my life to look like. I understood that I was looking for something trivial but deep at the same time – something which was always present but too often taken for granted. No matter what, that is how I wanted my life to be: rare, unique, but based on the rediscovery of little things as well. Call me crazy, but this journey has been fundamental to my growth and each moment has helped me in achieving a better comprehension of who I am and who I want to be. Call me crazier, but nothing else but myself and the world all around me have been the best recipe for doing it. I cannot wholly describe how Europe has changed me. However, I would like to conclude this moment of insight by quoting a passage from one of my favorite books, to better let you draw your own conclusion:
‘So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.’ – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
Photo credit: Nicola Simonetti