Tag Archives: walt disney

If you can dream it you can do it

7 Oct

Somebody said it’s not important the destination, but the journey. And somehow I agree.

The journey to my forthcoming trip so far has been amazing, and I can tell that it lasted nearly a life. Actually, it is my life. And that is exactly how I want to start with the first article of this blog.

My passion for traveling and getting to know new cultures influenced me every single choice in my life, from the academic, professional and personal point of view.

I will be glad to share with you the journey since the early beginning. The journey who made the person I am now.

I believe that regardless everybody’s roots, blood, habits and education there is an important factor that defines people: it is other people. People who inspire us and drive us towards what we like. Sometimes people let us discover what we don’t like. But still is good and helpful.

I always loved to discover and to learn. When you discover something for the first time, it is when you learn it. And it is when you understand whether you like it or not.

So, it is thanks to some things and some ( special ) people if I understood that my greatest passion ever was traveling.

Further on, I will tell you about the first steps in my life, the first inspirations and key factors that took me here, today, with few days left to the 12th October 2012: when I will take the first flight of this adventure: Rome – New York.

Just to start from the very beginning, my mother always told me that the first song I sang when I was three or four years old was in a broken English – “I just called to say I love you” – from Stevie Wonder. It is clear that I always loved music and singing but to me is more interesting the fact that even though I didn’t even understand the difference, I preferred speaking in my non native language

I started to like English language soon. I remember that whenever I listened to a new song I liked to find its lyrics in the back of cd. Music was always a great passion for me, and apparently it was also very helpful.

When I was 12 years old I joined an afterschool class of “Singing English“. Basically, we learnt English practicing and singing The Beatles, Queen’s lyrics and other British bands’. Still now, when I have a doubt on how to pronounce a certain word, I remember those lyrics perfectly. I am sure this influenced my love/also called obsession for Karaoke.

Since my early age, during my 3 months summer holidays at school I used to go to Ischia. I had cousins, brother, sisters to spend time with, but I enjoyed becoming friend with kids from other countries. I was so curious of understanding all the difference and similarities with them. I have lost the path of some of them but I am now still in contact with a lovely German girl called Carol, who also used to come often to Ischia with her family from Bonn in summertime. God bless Facebook for making it easier.

In 1995 I started to feel the need to have foreign friends also during the rest of the year, not only during summer. So I participated to a nice programme at school and started to have my first pen-pals from all over the world: Spain, Holland, England, France, Germany, Australia, Ghana and many others.IMG_3261Letter from Australia, 1996

IMG_3258IMG_3208

 

At that time, the postman had to come upstairs to knock at the door and give me by hand the mail since there was not space enough in the mailbox. Sometimes I even received 10 letters per day.

Most of my allowances were actually used to buy stamps and cards for my little friends, together with money for buying international music magazines such as Rolling Stones.

IMG_3204

Something that remained in my mind is that once I told my pen friend from Ghana that I had received a Walkman as a gift from my dad, and from that moment he kept telling me he really wanted to see one because he had never seen any. I don’t think I have never been a spoiled girl, I thank my parents for giving me a good education, but probably that was the first time I really realized that some people, especially in less developed countries were less fortunate than me. And I realized as well that I was a lucky girl.

Some of the pen pals even came to visit me, like Sabine, a lovely girl from Holland. She always gave me precious suggestions on what to do when I was facing some problem. Patty, another  beautiful typical Dutch girl became part of the family. She was  tall, blond with blue eyes. All my male friends were the happiest to accompany me and take her around, guess why.

IMG_3206

Patty used to come once or twice a year to spend some weeks with me and my twin sister Rubina. She taught me so much of English; we used to write each other letters even long 10 pages.

Patty and the other pen friends were talking about their lives. About their habits, their tastes in Music, their friends, their way of living.

I was so fascinated to see and realize that I was living in a country that was so different from all the others, where people ate differently and spoke differently. But some things like adolescence problems were the same everywhere.

IMG_3205

When fourteen I was a great fan of Take That, as most of the teenagers those years. Robbie Williams was my favorite, I adored his voice and tattoos, his naughty face and his rocker attitude. Tastes seem to be still similar nowadays. After many years I fell in love with his look alike, with Argentinian blood. I will talk about him later on.

Returning to my pen friend life, there is something I liked very much: Patty and I had a very cool way to get new pen pals.

With the excuse to swap Take That pictures, information etc., we used to start a chain where you first had to put your name, address and the name of the favourite of the band.

I would then send it to one of my pen pals; she would do the same with her pen pal and so on. In the end, the rule was sending it back to the person who had started it.

And that’s how we all got in touch with many new friends. Now Facebook and social networks might make it easier, but it was so amazing when those sheets came back to me after many months and after have travelled around the world.

Another important episode of  my life was in 1998, when at my school arrived a bunch of Belgian students for an interchange.

Being already opened towards people from other countries, I showed off my interpersonal skills and  immediately became friends with most of them even if they were not my direct temporary classmates.

I fell in love for the first time for a guy who was not Italian, Wouter. He had long blond hair and light blue eyes.  He looked a little bit like Kurt Cobain, a little bit beautiful and damned, but in the end he was extremely sweet. I used to write to him and to receive so long letters, we were sharing our lives through mail, pretty romantic. And I cannot forget one of his best friends Vincent, who became my bosom-buddy instead. He was so sweet and we are also still in contact nowadays.

I have always been a wordy. I used to talk a lot and used to write a lot. I have written so much since I was a teenager. But those I most enjoyed were the travel diaries. When I read them now, I remember of little details in such a vivid way and I absolutely love it!

Just before my last year at school I met a guy who was much older than me and became my boyfriend for about 2 years. I still think he was the Prince Charming for me.

He was very open minded, he taught me a lot. He was an entrepreneur and used to do business trips when I did not even understand their reason, when my greatest worries were probably studying homeworks and pass exams.

He used to send me often lovely postcards from the places he was visiting around the world and when returned back home he used to tell me about all the different things he had seen in those countries and bring me typical presents.  He was a GREAT inspiration for me. Maria Rosaria, his mother, is still a kind of a guru for me. She is smart, independent, passionate and intelligent and I look up to her as the greatest counsellor I could ever desire. She is always present in my life, and sometimes we agreed on the fact that she sees herself younger in me and I always thought I wanted to be like her when older. Of course she travelled a lot and you can tell she is very open-minded which is reflected in her house decorations and in her lifestyle.

As I was getting older and more independent, I finally decided what to study after the high school; I wanted to study modern languages at the University in Naples.

I did few exams, but then I felt I was not ready to just start to study; I applied for the EF Au pair programme in Boston, USA.

I filled all the forms, did all the interviews and when it was time to start the correspondence with the host family, things were getting a little complicated in US after the 9/11.

And after that, the first city I really wanted to make an experience in Europe was Barcelona. I had gone there just once with a school trip in 1999. So I bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona where I was supposed to stay 5 weeks. I came back home after 8 months. At the International School of Spanish “Enforex” I had one of the best times of my life. My class was made up mostly of Swedish and German people. It was so fun, and it is then when I started to have a special interest towards North European cultures.

I liked the way they were, the way they dressed and their food. Kotbullar (Swedish meatballs) became my favourite food so far. When they told me for the first time that their government used to pay for studies and travels abroad in order to incentivize the youth discovering of the world, I thought it was amazing. In Italy that sounded like a dream: basically, in most of north European countries, young people would take a sabbatical year after school and would borrow money from the government and return it on the first job contract. I found it unbelievable! That was civilization to me!

When my teachers at the Spanish school told me that my level of Spanish at Enforex was too good and had reached the apotheosis (  modestly, hehe) , I dint have any more excuse to stay in Barcelona. But I really wanted to.

And I really wanted to show to my dad that I was not a kid, and that was not a joke for me. And also, I had a good example from my new north European friends that I could also work and pay for my trips, so I started to look for a temp job and worked as a waiter, baby-sitter as well as hostess at congresses and fairs.

Until I found a more stable job as Sales Assistant in Paseo de Gracia. It is there that I improved my “espanol de la calle”, Spanish from the road. It was just my first work contract abroad!

My boss was a lovely lady, she helped me to open a bank account and with all the logistics. I worked during all summer 2003, until October, when I went back to Italy to start a course at the university in Rome as Linguistic and Cultural Mediator, basically a degree for Interpreters and Translators.

It is taken for granted that Culture is the best way to open your mind and enjoy travelling. One day I was walking in Barcelona and I saw a book on a bench. I took it, opened it and found a flyer with a number and all the explanation for Book Crossing. Another cultural crossing. People who takes part of this programme leaves the book in a public place after have read it, maybe leaving it in a random place for the sage of lucky book lovers who would find it and enjoy it. The mission was that this book would travel around the world trough the hands of reading lovers. I was fascinated to imagine the faces and stories of people finding and leaving it in different corners of the planet.

Travel literature soon became my favourite. My first travel book was from a guy called Dario Rucco, “Da Capo a Capo” – from Cape to Cape, from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska by bus – . Exciting.  But many others followed, such as Bill Bryson’s “Down Under” and “Neither here nor there – Travels in Europe”, or Rolf Potts’ “Vagabonding”. These books have certainly been a great inspiration and made me dream of possible future adventures all over the world.

IMG_3256

When I moved to Rome for studying I found a way to stay in touch with a different culture: I started to practice Capoeira and at the same time I started to study Portuguese from Brazil at the University. I loved “that kind of fight/dance” accompanied by popular music from Brazil. I used to attend some “rodas” on Saturdays and some nights with Brazilian people, with the first caipirinhas hang overs on weekends.

In 2004 I had another great chance to be part of a world unique moment. I worked as hostess for the European Constitution Sign in Rome. During those days the city was blinded, but I was lucky enough to be at Campidoglio together with all the head of states witnessing an historic moment: the signage of Constitution, that will probably be one of the things I will be very proud to tell my kids.

And I will also tell them about my work experience in a resort in Maldives for few months in that year, as shore excursions manager, until the Tsunami on the 26th December interrupted what was for me among the best life experiences. I had to deal professionally for the first time with people from a very different background culture and religion.

Once back in Rome, I focused on studies since I had been missing for few months, and finally I had again a chance to move.

Next stop: Barcelona for the Erasmus. Again my lovely Catalan city. It was another endless memory. And when it was about to finish the 6 months of Erasmus exchange, I decided to request to stay another semester. It was quite tough as Barcelona was the preferred destinations for Erasmus students, but at the end I got it. The day I got the prolongation approved, I went out to celebrate it with one of my best friends who was just there those days visiting me: Piera. At that time, she was also studying in Paris for the Erasmus programme.  At that time we were the perfect symbol of the carefreeness, joie de vivre and the BLOOM. We took a bike and run through Barcelona off to a club who had been recommended to us, a gloomy and underground place behind Ramblas. Just on that night I met a nice Argentinean guy who became my boyfriend for many years. I mean the Argentian version of Robbie Williams, his look alike. As Walt Disney stated, if you can dream it you can do it. And so it was, I met an Argentinian rocker looking like Robbie Williams. With him I grow up, we gave each other so much, many laughes and many pain as well but I will love him forever. Through him I discovered so well the Argentinean culture, and I went to his country few times. Loving somebody with another culture is a great way to get involved in another culture 100%, and honestly, he has been the key for my modestly very good Spanish today. But good and bad things come to an end. Two years ago,  I left Barcelona for good, and try a new challenge: London.

I worked there for a cruise line until the end of my contract. Then I applied for a position for the Olympics and Paralympics games. This part is probably one of the most important of all.

I don’t remember to have enjoyed a job so much; I met the best people ever, from different ages, background and cultures. But all of them had in common the passion for travelling, languages and adventure.

Inspirations : London 2012 Olympic Games

A special thank goes to the London 2012 Iluka for EDF Energy Team. On the first days of training I was so inspired by all of them. I will never forget the day when we had to do team building and we were asked of saying some ordinary and extraordinary thing about ourselves. All their ordinary things were the most extraordinary ever. I thank them all because (not to minimize the other inspirations) is on those days that I effectively decided to leave, and in particular do  it just after the games. I had finally decided to jump instead of waiting for the perfect moment.

Working in such an epic event I had the chance to see the world meeting for sport, culture and leisure. I saw many games, including Phelps swimming, Bolt and Farah win their gold’s, to see Paralympic games, living unforgettable moments and even see amazing artists such as Coldplay at the extraordinary closing ceremony.

And now I am here, in Naples, packing for this adventure, and feeling so anxious. I think I have never been so nervous before a trip in my life.

I have done this “little” introduction before the start of this great trip just to remember myself and you that we can all achieve what we really want. Mick Jagger says: you can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes..

That’s how I got what I always needed and wanted in my life. And I wish you all to do the same ..

Enjoy the reading!

%d bloggers like this: