LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
I was lucky to have travelled a lot. But I do regret not travelling even more, because it's my passion. I love to do nothing more than to trot the world. It's not only a way of experiencing new cultures, learning another language, connecting with new people and eating diverse types of food, but it's also a way to expand your horizon beyond the limitation of the window of your life. There were numerous days when I would plunge behind my desk at the office, and daydream about all the exotic locations I haven't been to see yet. They say: travelling is about either running away from something or searching for something. In my case, it is certainly both. Looking back, I spent a great deal of my life living off a suitcase. In a way I was lucky. My parents were always on the go, because my father was a politician and a diplomat. At one point, I was living in one place, while my family was in another. So, every couple of months I found myself packing to go and visit them. It was exhausting, but energetic and enjoyable. The bits that I found most interesting about travel are the slices of details that you never knew were sacred to a specific culture. For example, when we were in Italy I learned that pizza making is an art mastered by generations of Italians. It took both skill and dedication. Also, when it comes to eating everything is made from scratch at the home by the nonna, or grandmother. She is the icon that pulls the whole family together. We also learned from some friends that the role is reversed in their culture, where the cook in the family is always the man. It is something also shared by my own ancestors.
The reason is back in the days when the Moulinex kitchenware was not yet invented, food making was a labour-intensive job requiring a lot of man power. Everything is made from scratch using centuries-old techniques. It can’t get any fresher. Meals were not just about the food, it's also about bringing people together, to talk about the things that matter most in life: family and the community. So, they were usually a huge crowd gathering. Travel taught me just how much people share through food. Cultures along the Mediterranean are united by aromatic cuisines, with a varied spectrum of colours and a lot of emphasis placed on the freshness of the ingredients. These cultures are also bound by the love and appreciation of communal life. But above all, what I mostly learned from travel is the level of hospitality some cultures go to, to make you feel loved and accommodated. Hence, when we lock ourselves inside our comfort zones, it’s easy sometimes to be influenced by the currents that shape our personalities from early childhood. It becomes very easy to stereotype. But through travel I learned to let go of the fears imposed on us, to open-up to life’s many possibilities, and embrace warmth and friendliness. You learn to disarm yourself of constraints and let go of unnecessary weight. It may sound obvious, but the appreciation of the trivial things in life is what inevitably makes us feel life is worth living. La vita è bella, or life is beautiful.