Other than surfing travels and new experiences abroad have always genuinely fascinated me.
Europe, Turkey, North Africa, a few hit and runs in Asia and Central/South America and a 4 months experience as a young architect in the Big Apple my early experiences during my twenties. Every destination at that time was somehow based on the chance of having also some surf, even if most of the time it was never enough for me! Sometimes I traveled with friends who were not interested neither to ride nor even to try a surfboard and some other times the length of my stay was simply too short to enjoy the right waves at my skills’ level and, as all surfers know, swells and waves are a kind of magic but.. unpredictable! Over the years the “always better than nothing” approach, that I used to repeat to myself every time I couldn’t really enjoy surfing, quickly faded away and I became over-stressed about the thought that I wasn’t improving anymore; it was too difficult to keep on practicing surfing all the year long living in a city and, besides, I couldn’t find good travel mates to plan a surf trip with. So, in the end, my passion left space to other things.
Probably it was just the right time to start to appreciate the travel itself, rather than the opportunity of having a few hours of surfing.
Then, traveling became my chance to discover and appreciate local people and local cultures better and deeper. I found myself feeling much more attracted by random talks with unknown people rather than by the next “must to see” place described in my travel guide book. The thought of “staying” in a place and “living” it truly was something I was feeling more comfortable with, instead of running from one place to another. The “slow side” of myself was slowly emerging.
I was realizing that my thoughts and my ideas were more inspired by the unknown and uncertain, rather than by a pleasant and scheduled staying. Listening to stories of men and women who were living right in the places I was visiting – it could have been a big and chaotic city, a small and quiet island or a tiny village lost in the desert – was making me aware of values that I would never have thought to find there. I was also discovering that it was the straightest way to know more about and go deeper into the uniqueness of each place. Thanks to this new approach, I found out that every time I was traveling, it was getting easier and easier for me to find new friends and good “situations”, as well as sharing great moments with people met randomly along my way; after all, the only “effort” I was asked for was to be open with people, to listen, smile and not to feel afraid about the diversity and the unknown.
The means of transport I used during those years were many and, most of the times, fortuitous: car, train, motorbike, bus, coach, boats, plane… each one of them has its own appeal, especially if you regard them not only as a pure means of transport to go from one place to another, but as a part of the travel itself. It was beginning of the new millenium and during those years many low cost companies were showing up and, for the first time in history, flying all over the world was becoming in some way affordable also for low budget trips.
But over the years, probably due to the huge “massification” of the tourism all over the world, I slowly started to feel uncomfortable with that kind of traveling and I became more and more attracted by the trip I could start directly from my home’s door, by grabbing a few things, putting them into a bag and driving as far away as I could, or wanted. Somehow, I regarded it as a new beginning of “traveling” and my scrambler became a faithful ally at that time. I was able to discover remote places lost in the nature and disconnect from my city-life oriented lifestyle; a Saturday afternoon or a warm fall Sunday were enough to escape without any destination and reconnect with my deeper side of my wild soul.
But after several years during which I spent my weekends mostly in the mountains during the winter season or driving off-road in the wild going through funny but surely physically demanding experiences, finally in December 2015 I took a short vacation in Morocco. That’s right, Morocco, once again.
As described in my first article, this time I decided to spend my entire holiday with a friend of mine in front of the ocean. After many years I was grabbing a surfboard in my hands again and I suddenly realized it was a good feeling, definitely! Something from which, let’s say, I never had to run away again. It’s just like when you meet a good friend you have not seen for many years and with whom you don’t want to lose contact again. Somehow, life was unconsciously bringing me to discover new paths and surfing was the theme around which I would have started building everything, another time. Those days I couldn’t realize how much impact this choice would have had on me, but it was a matter of only a few months before starting to find out and live it at its most.
Like a wave…you see it coming from far and, while waiting for it, you cannot immagine what its power and volume will be until it breaks a few meters from you. But it’s in this very moment that the ride begins and any fear is useless; at that point you have just to be present to yourself, ready to jump at the right moment and enjoy the ride in a precarious but certainly exiting balance.