The journey as an escape and evasion. From what?

I say I am a traveler, that I love to travel, I want to travel. I say this to me, to convince myself selves that it is true. Then, once in a while, I think. And I wonder why I travel? Why I want to travel?

Even if I am not currently moving, I am not stopped and I play this ambiguous role in a land that is not mine. But about this static traveling, I have already written.

Now I would like to linger over one of the many facets of the trip: the escape.

Am I escaping? Am I running from something, from someone?

As I wondered I stumbled upon a very interesting article by Erika Eramo (in Italian, dor other interesting articles in English see links below). The journalist and writer published on the magazine Aperture an article titled Travel as futile escape from the ego: tecum sunt quae fugis, tosses and turns, however, when it comes to travel as an escape the two most important references are: Seneca and  Baudelaire.

The first deals with topic in the Moral Letters to Lucilius (Letter 28. On travel as a cure for discontent). The second in Les Fleurs du Mal.

However Seneca writes to Lucilius quoting Vergil and with a series of rhetorical questions he tries to explain that the journey is not a way to escape, because what we are trying to get away from is our ego.

Do you suppose that you alone have had this experience? Are you surprised, as if it were a novelty, that after such long travel and so many changes of scene you have not been able to shake off the gloom and heaviness of your mind? You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate. Though you may cross vast spaces of sea, and though, as our Vergil remarks, Lands and cities are left astern, your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel.

Baudelarire, instead, chose to escape from the senses, with the use of drugs and alcohol. This was a different way to achieve the same goal: to escape, even from himself, from his grief, from what the poète maudit called Spleen
The years and centuries go by, but the man does not seem to change. Only a decade ago A. A. Tarkovsky wrote:

There is only one possible journey: the one in our inner world. I do not think you can travel more in our planet. Just as I do not think you travel to return. Man can never return to the same point where he started, because, in the meantime, he has changed. Man can not escape from himself. In the journey we carry with us all what we are . We bring with us the house of our soul, like a turtle with its shell. In truth, the journey through the countries of the world is for the man. a symbolic journey. Everywhere he goes is your soul that is looking for. For this reason a man should be able to travel.
(trasnlated by Dario Sorgato)

Even in the case of a two weeks holiday or a weekend in the mountains, the journey becomes an escape: from routine, from the city noise, traffic. But in these cases is a normal need to change the environment, scenery and recovering.
It is obvious that this is not the case. The journey as an escape from oneself is something deeper, more visceral. A kind of necessity that once carried out it seems to take a certain appeal. It is very likely that all great travelers had a reason within that fed the desire to discover and explore, but we get only the miles traveled, the notes written, the pictures taken. But what was inside their minds, their hearts? What prompted them to go? In the same way I asked myself if my travels are and have been an end in themselves, or I rid myself of the burden that rests upon me (Seneca)? Which one? From what I escape? From what, to whom shall I hide? The answer is once again one. From me.
The question, in fact, is another.
Maybe because I have not accepted who I am, as I am. Perhaps because somehow I have always hidden, and now I have only found another way to continue to do it,  more profitably. Maybe I did not accept my faults, my problems and trying to hide those I started to hide myself. Creating other Me. Each one with a different role, to be played on different occasions and situations. And now, that I would only want be one, I don’t find me and meanwhile I’m nobody. I run away from me, and I think I can find nyself far away. Then, I look for ne in the best places, no doubt. While I am looking I find pieces of the world that by land or by sea made me love what in the journey we inevitably discover and learn, know, live and share.


Do We Travel To Escape Reality?

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What is the travel? Who is the traveller? Differend kind of travels

I returned a year ago from the long journey from Cape Town to Havana.
since three months i live in Berlin. I have a home, I attend an intensive German course, I work.
Am I travelling?
Technically, no, I do not think that is enough to live in a city or country other than of origin to say that you are on the road. If the migration is permanent or meant to last a long time, it is in fact a transfer.
However, beyond the rhetoric of “life is a journey (and travel is to live twice)” (Omar Khayyam) if I am not actually on the road, at least I am moving.
Usually you can call it travel when there is a movement more or less continuous for a period shorter or longer, but as everyone knows, every journey involves an inner change, and so a movement of the spirit. That motion and displacement are to coexist in order to fall in the category of travel is not written in the definition, on the contrary, contemplates both possibilities: physical and metaphorical journey.

At this point depends on the personal character and how each of us knows how and wants to travel in his own mind, in daily lives, in territories and the world.
That said the question of whether or I am or not travelling I say yes, I am forever.
I change speed, ways, mates, routes, scenery, but I do not think I ever stopped for too long.
Even in this case, adjectives and characteristics known to be related to travel around the world are applicable to inner journeys.
The speed, for example, is determined by the amount of stimulation I receive from the outside, which accelerates the thought combining images, visions, fantasies. Or landscapes, which are more the territories of culture and diversity that I love to explore.
For example Germany is a European Country, and I thought I knew enough to want to prefer to travel in Africa or South America, I am surprised by the nuances that I get learning the language,  by how the Germans deal with social problems, by their different mindset  (beyond the clichés that tend to trivialize the details), for the climate. Yes, the climate. We read books, you will hear in the bar the old story that people in the north is colder than the Mediterranean countries. But before these three months in Germany I did not know exactly what it meant to be cold, to feel cold.
The language school deserves a chapter. Each lesson is a journey.
The current class of the second module of the first level of Integrationkurs is composed of a Brazilian jazz saxophonist, two Turkish girls, one Moroccan cook, a French-Serbian theater lighting technician, three Italians unemployed, a Spanish video artist, a pregnant Lebanese, an Australian, a Ghanaian funny little boy, a Polish Barbie and a Polish mechanic, a Chechen with a broken arm,no hair and long beard. No more Cameroonian teacher but  two German ladies are trying to teach this tricky language to this mix of people and colors. Just call the register and  you traveled halfway around the world. If someone does a gesture with his hand to attract attention, another may believe that the lesson is over.

Mind trips, business trips, tourist trips, fantastic trips, long trips and short.
As the camera is not the photographer, a book is not a writer, not the journey makes the traveler. You become, but in my opinion you cannot be born. At most we grow travelers, attracted by parents and friends with the motors on, feet on the street, and buttocks on a seat.
I am travelling and when I realize I am, when, as now, I have the time (and desire) to say it, I realize that my journey is made of long stages, the slow time, human relationships. Sure, I wish I could enrapture in front of Machu Picchu more often, but when I try to resolve the internal conflicts that lead me to always seek elsewhere what appears to be missing around me, I embrace the belief that being travelers is one of the possible ways of being, condition that nourishes itself with the constant desire to go.

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Alberto Granado Jiménez. When a traveller dies…

March 5, 2011. Alberto Granado Jiménez dies. He was 88.

The reasons why I want to dedicate him an article are many.
He was born in Cordoba, Argetina, ( I was in Cordoba in June 2009). From Buenos Aires 8april – June 2009) started the expedition   in the book and movieThe Motorcycle Diaries, which I saw for the first time in Melbourne, before leaving for a long journey to discover the Australian Outback.
Those 16,000 km are described in the book ONE YEAR IN EIGHT HOURS.
Another time, another continent, other wheels. Same spirit, same big desire to know the world.

Che Guevara and Granado renamed their motorcycle La Poderosa.
Me and my traveling buddy drove il Pallottola (the bullet)
I think the reasons that pushed us to name the vehicle were somehow similar. Both la  Pderosa and Il Pallottola were not vehicles on which you would bet. In fact, both of them brole down and every breakdown during a trip is the trigger for upcoming events, good or bad. It is the unexpected of every journey, the incalculable but yet imaginable factor. You know it could happen but not where or when or how. And in any case, you go.

Granado, like me, was the one that noted the events,  the stages, the distances.
He wrote: ”First we wanted to know the world, after we wanted to change it. ”
This is not what moves the travelers? This desire to know the world that pushes further and further and beyond?
There is one Che. Maybe he was able to change the world, or a piece of the world. But this is not the point. The world is changing even while traveling, because knowing, learning, sharing, you change the way of being and living, to bring it closer to a  way that goes beyond the territory. Traveling is to understand that the boundaries of States are only a political factor that over time has become cultural. The topography and hydrographic boundaries are not so often the same as  the political ones.

Granado had moved to Cuba in 1961. And he died in Havana.
Cuba, the last leg of my journey of 681 days.
Who was in Cuba will probably see the character differently. Perhaps his death.
He was jovial, friendly. Watching his interviews and photos I feel like dancing.  It was as if he had time to get tattooed on the skin the Caribbean sun, the music of Cuba. It is true, is one of the most isolated islands in the world, but there is a spirit in there, which is still the one with the genuine taste of simplicity.

I do not know what it would feel to be the friend of Che. Not that being a friend of my friends is less important, but knowing him to have started with a dream that has touched the whole world, maybe it tastes like an asnwer. One. To the many questions of why we travel, why  even today we seek the adventure?
In motorcycle, vespa, by feet, van, bycicle. Maybe it is travelling that dreams begins. Those  we believed that we could extinguish arriving … where?

When, eventually, a traveler dies. steps, miles,  his footsteps remain. Remains what it has changed just because here / there we were

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Travel diary. The value of writing on paper.

“The best thing would be to write down events from day to day. Keep a diary to see clearly—let none
of the nuances or small happenings escape even though they might seem to mean nothing. And above
all, classify them. I must tell how I see this table, this street, the people, my packet of tobacco, since
those are the things which have changed. I must determine the exact extent and nature of this change”

Small happenings. This what paper allows you. The paper is immediate, is part of the trip.The paper absorbs the smell, the rain. The paper burns. There are pages where I tried to put a scent, where I scribbled the anger, I’ve  kissed, I have ripped out and then glued. There are tickets, addresses. The paper weighs, but it is still absolutely indispensable.

There are pages written on lines, others on small squares of books bought in Cuba. There is this page, in the photo. The first of a diary bought in Blantyre, Malawi, in a small workshop of recycled paper, handmade from old paper or elephant shit. Really. I did not believe that one day I will have written on what was a giant dung.

As J.P. Sartre wrote at the beginning of  Nausea, keeping a journal is to see things more clearly, but not necessarily immediately. Maybe at a distance of days or weeks.And then the paper and only paper allows notes and not writing. The travel paper will not necessarily need reasonable sentences. The message has to be changed, revised, rewritten, before being handed down.
Gradients. How many times have I said to myself that these give life to colors.
The dust of Africa is almost palpable in the rough pages of a diary that is a piece of Africa itself. Surely there is some grain, a few atoms of dust, possibly the dried blood of a mosquito squashed between the pages.

“Africa begins between bare feet and shoes polished in the city ‘

Rough and smooth. Dirty and shiny. Full of contrasts and loud juxtapositions.

“Thoughts want to become words” that want to crawl on paper as a foot in the dust Like snakes, like drops. A pen that runs on paper and shit like feet of children who roamed the earth. How muc Africa I found on this page, when, after more than two years, I have re-opened, re-read, rewritten.

If you travel, if you write, do it again for a long time on paper with pen.
Everything Else (Tablet, Pad, Pod) is not poetry. Neither trip. Neither emotion.

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Departure adrenaline and travelling anxiety: the good and not so good about travelling

The basic function of adrenaline is to prepare the body to cope with emergency situations on the physical and emotional.

In situations of uncertainty and insecurity adrenaline  destroys all the other feelings. This is not always pleasent, but often sought.

A trip is undoubtedly a situation of risk, uncertainty. Sure, there are trips where everything is already planned and established that will reduce the chance of incurring into some danger or unexpected, but going to new places, meet different people, dealing with unfamiliar cultures, it increases the probability of being in new situations that we know how to deal with or manage.

For many, this is a problem, an uncomfortable feeling, while others are just looking for that, and this curiosity about the unknown is a stimulus to try new adventures.

Perhaps we can generalize by saying that the adrenalin that you feel at departure, culminating in the airport or where ever you leave from, it’s a good feeling, one that moves travelers, while anxiety is a bad feeling.

The causes are probably related to something deeply personal and an introspective individual search is the only way discover them and then overcome them.

But how can we do to turn these feelings into something positive?

You can find some tips in psychology website, but my suggestion is to look for the positive things of the moment, to forget about affective relations that bind us to home.

Focusing on the place, observe, listen, be present with all the receptors tuned on the surrounding.

Experience a journey bringing attention to what we lack, it does not help to understand the diversity of the place, the difficulties become insurmountable, while projecting in the new situation as a moment tha belongs to us, even if it is happening in a unfamiliar place.

Perhaps many of us are used to feel protected gathered into the habit.These are  reassuring. They do not force us to choose. The trip forces a constant choice and selection, but that’s what turns your journey to growth. The resorts, in fact, try to minimize personal initiative, offering pre-packages of activities and excursions.

Choose. We must learn to be free to choose even knowing where to go to dinner, what to do next day, where to be being with the whole body and mind.

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Mexico in Milan. Because the voyage starts before leaving

Guestpost by Luca |
Translated by Dario Sorgato

Mexico, a country that to the ears of the Italians sounds like a legendary goal, a dream to make the journey of life in two simple words: the journey.
Thinking about it years later, with a little ill-concealed nostalgia, I understand why, when, in my early twenties, for the first time I felt the urge to travel and the thought automatically went to Mexico.
Abatantuono and friends improvised as narco-traffickers in Acapulco and Real de Catorce or simply Vasco that, driving with ingenuity a Y10 and a lit cigarette with the windows down, screaming out loud“Vado al massimo vado in Messico”! (I am at the top, i am goint to Mexico)
Then there’s Cacucci books  so real to feel the dust on the fingertips of every page turn, this and many other pieces of that puzzle, that trip, that dream and the feeling of immensity that is Mexico.
And then you work in summer in Milan with the city deserted and a sultriness you see even mosquitoes are sweating, but that’s okay every day are 80 000 lire  to climb to the price of the ticket and then another 80 that will be transformed into tequila or mezcal and Terzera tickets for a bus that will eat the way during billion stars nights.
The dream has already started, Mexico is already there, the Navigli in August are swollen rivers, you’re a raging river, at the mercy of those feelings triggered by the expectation of the first big trip of a lifetime.

You are there only physically, feel the magnitude of the event, you know that once again nothing will ever be the same you’ll be the first to be another person.
It is a unique opportunity for those “once in a lifetime” and there’s really no time to lose.
You knew that the journey has already started and spent nights studying the maps, guidebooks, and talking just about the trip.
Sometimes I come across someone that was already in Mexico and already had his initiation as an indelible tattoo.
You become a sponge absorbing all the information possible, take note of everything and the route changes every 2 days, photographs of places and faces of people, which dreams you encounter, every night leave the place to new faces and  places.
The next morning at 8 am there is an alarm but no matter, the sound is sweet , the hours of no sleep causes a mild relaxation, you’re comfortable, you are traveling.
Time passes and the days get shorter in ending summer of Milan.
The city is filled and you laugh in the face of all these poor people who returned from their sad holiday, you are light years away, you’re 1000 kilometers per hour faster than them.
Now the dream has to deal with small moments when you need to get back to reality: the backpack to prepare the traveler’s checks and change a few hundred lire in the bank, a greeting to a few friends with a grin on face.

There you did it, the summer’s work and the hot weather are a memory, the excitement of sleepless nights is turning into adrenaline.
You are there and in front of the window there is a KLM Boeing and when  it wil land the curtains open, and you’re ready, you studied the script for days, weeks, months.
You fly, sleeping to regain strength, or perhaps because now waiting is a matter of nbearable hours, not weeks.
You are arrived. It’s 7 am in Mexico City and 20 million people are going to wake up to start their day.


You are awake but unlike their dream, you have just begun to really dream !

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Why travelling is such a widespread desire?

I am reading The art of Travel, by Alain de Botton. According to the writer and philosopher, it is important the eye of the traveler himself, his desire to see “real.” He also tries to see “drawing” to learn how to travel and see every day. even in places where we live and that maybe we were never able to look at. Between the pages of the book is a different way of looking at destinations and sites, with attention to cultural differences that are greater than the distance.

Travel literature, however, is majestically broad, above all considering travel in different meanings in different historical periods and for various reasons, ranging from Dante’s journey from Hell to Heaven, the Crusades and colonial conquests, from travel overseas to discovery new worlds to explore the mountains, from the psychedelic trips to religious pilgrimages.

But why the man travels?

If it is clear that some of the trips had deep motivations that sometimes were not even directly important to the travelers themselves, I care to dwell on the reasons that Dr. Iacopo Bertacchi proposes in an interesting article on the meaning of travel.

the journey can be a way to discover other aspects of their identity in everyday life can not emerge …… The need to escape from a daily life perceived as stuffy …… A way to meet others and through others, themselves.

Chiara Meriani, however, has a blog dedicated to the meaning of travel. and even she quotes Baudelaire and ranks among the cases, the same restlessness as the need to learn new things, compared to Bertacchi, adds:

To find freedom, you have to go as a single system and understand other cultures is the ability to choose the ways in which to give meaning to life that allows you to be free.

Perhaps as we try to give a collective response to a question so broad, you end up with the reshuffle motives and thoughts already told by famous travelers like Bruce Chatwin or Marco Polo, or have been shuffled in different sauces Articles blog more or less original. Again, then, what counts is to put together the pieces that are best suited to ourselves.

Not by chance that I dwelt on restlessness, a sentiment that has pushed many of my steps, the constraint of daily life and the pursuit of freedom. If these are the driving forces for starting the engine, then it is kept steady by a desire to know, from curiosity about other world. If someone says there is nothing more to discover, now that the Columbus and Magellan are already existed, I would say that the discovery does not necessarily have to be made for others to go down in history, to be remembered or to become famous . The findings would often be enough to ourselves. The findings feed the emotions and passion. as there are books, tourist guides, which descreibe every corner, but there is always something that only we are able to see. A light, a landscape, a face. In books and guides there are not moments and there is not even the now.

There is no limit to discover if you do not confuse the personal with the sensational in the sense of incredible and amazing.The wonder, however, is always possible, and every traveler turns it into what it sees.I often like to turn travels into stories, words, visions. And then travel and writing it is almost the same activity. In both verbs I feel to be free.

Read my latest story

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The road. A grey journey into the depths of heart

Last night I watched The road. If I write an article about The road, I do not know if I do a review of a film, of a book or if I write about a journey. Perhaps  I choose the third approach. The story of the journey to south of a father and his son. To the south it means to the heat, more livable than the operating temperature of the cold and desolate land where a radioacrive fall ended nature and its creatures, the trees fall, the birds have lost the intention of flight, a trip in search of food, shelter and humanity. In search of survival and life itself.

In Italy the film was stopped as too pessimistic. I started watching with the injury of this complaint, I drew up the vision of a gray film, not only in color. Yet the film’s message is for life, for survival at any cost, even against the inevitable fate, to search for  ’the good ones’ to help when you have nothing, who did not kill even if cannibalism were to remain the only way to eat,

Although most of the recent films tell of apocalyptic disasters, The road capture the realism of a burnt offering, combining the absolute worst possible future, with one of the most beautiful and profound human characteristic: perseverance. To go on that journey to the south and continue to live. The parallel is obvious, but a journey so difficult could  be not represent the difficulties of life to be defended to the last, even with the knowledge that is possible to choose.

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How to write an original post

You are about to write a new post. You Google the topic, type in a title you have in mind and see what’s already published. Whatever you have in mind, it has laready been written. There is something on yahoo answer, there is a post on one of those ten blogs spewing from all sides. Problogger, John Chow dot Com

So what? how?
Do we have to scramble the contents of others to propose them in different sauces?
or is there still room for the imagination?

For example … I tried to write the title of this post on Google and a post that explains how to write something original I could not find …

I have tried again to make sure … in Italian there is alreadysomething, fucking hell, and it is also a nice article. But in English there are post on how to write a GOOD post or article, ho to write a POPULAR, great blog content . But what about an original one. Something nobody ever wrote about.

As I said, in the Italian Google search i found out a good article, where you read that the 5 good tips are
1. Images
2. Perosnal opinion
3. Video and screencast
4. Slideshows
5. List things and links

I am sure there are plenty of articles where you find moreore less the same tips. But my point is not about how. i am talking about WHAT

When I decide to write a new post, I use the approach of the writer to decide the issue, that of the blogger for the style (although I’m still working on it).
In fact, a writer writes what he wants to write, not what others want to read.
Hence the first thing to do

1. Listen
Within you there are ideas. arise from feelings, from your way of being and of seeing things. So if it is true that there are standard rules on how to write some articles, it is essential to write what you feel. And perhaps this also applies to the technical blog (would be nice if there were any comments from the confirmation or denial) than the more explicitly emotional.

2. Choose

among what you hear inside yourself, the first thing. The first idea, as it was.

3. Apply
the rules of how to make your post interesting and to trasnfer the message.

Ten Tips for writing a blog post

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Why to become a writer is such a common dream?

B. Pasternack died poor, and so many others. In the post Non fare lo scrittore che è meglio, by Maurizio Teroni,, who I honestly do not know who he is.
The post says in a humorous way why does not make sense to be a writer. Writing for a living you have to be Baricco, attend TV, open a school of writing, in short, do something trendy.
He added that a man in life has to have a child, write a book and plant a tree.
I miss the child, women I am waiting.
The fact remains that it is not a novelty that a writer is awkward and in most cases, does not pay. Yet proliferate Blogs writers, magazines, contests for unpublished stories. The publishers’ advertising fee is everywhere and on-demand publishing websites are full of books. But who buys them? Have you ever purchased on or
So why? Why are so many people who write and who are not content to write, but writers want to be?
I am one of those and I will give my answer, but I’m sure there are many more.
Writing is first and foremost a necessity. You write because you have something to say. You want to stop an emotion that would be consigned to oblivion of time. Sometimes the emotions are so strong, both positive and negative, that to put them on a page helps turn them into something tangible, it helps to shape, to give a weight. Sometimes even to understand them better, for yourself.
Writing is a form of expression, such as singing, painting, , … arts in general. Art for itself, a sculpture on a shelf, covered with dust, a painting hidden beneath the others, a song that no one hears, are words unspoken, are screaming that no one hears. Hence the need to publish, because someone read it and pay for it, allowing us to do it again and again and again.
The life of writer is romantically described  in movies, stories, … It seems that the writers are able to afford to live on a mountain cabin or a house overlooking the sea and write what’s on your mind or heart. Well, maybe, again, that is the stereotype of a handful of good writers who can afford to live only he write books.
Cases, then, are not lacking, but it is a wild and very small percentage, in my opinion, great strokes of luck (luck? What’s this?) To win the Strega in the first book is certainly a virtue, but why that very book arrived in the selection? Although it is certainly worthwhile, what are the steps because it ends in the right hands at the right time?
Flaubert said Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living. Why?
I like this phrase, it puts me in good conscience. If Flaubert said …
Writing allows me to stay focused on emotions, feed me with life itself.

It ‘s difficult. no doubt. Not that other jobs are not as hard, but in this case you make a decision with a limited market (readers are not many) and with great writers who have put in circulation books should be read before wasting time on mediocre pages.

And then? If the scenario is so dark, why insist? Up to what point?
Perhaps the belief that we will succeed? The passion? Or the awareness that life should be chosen? How widespread prosperity allows us to spend time writing instead get daily bread? There are more writers also because of the many there who do not have to worry about maintenance?

Questions,  thoughts, difficulties. If I would not even write I would not have these words and the awareness that you, anonymous or not, will read up to here.

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