Summer Season 2015. Work, a lot of work, only work.
My mind thought about what I could have visited and the concerts where I could have gone once arrived at the end of September. As a perfect ant, I had put aside enough money, also because I had not had the time to spend it during the summer.
So, researches started. I love researching about any place before leaving for it, I cannot describe that stunning sensation to have a plan and then to turn it upside-down!
A day among others, by accident I bumped into a newborn social group: “Viaggio da sola perché”. I think that what had attracted me was the awareness that when I would have had some spare time, many people would have been back to work. Well, then I decided to sign up without any particular expectation, I have even forgotten about it for some days.
What happened, I could not say. I simply found myself involved in stories told by girls and women about whom I knew nothing, to whom I could not give a face; instead, I knew their doubts and I was attracted by that shattering enthusiasm that their tales conveyed to me.
An idea started to go round within the group, a real meeting among all the girls. At the same time, this idea started to enter my mind and so … on December 19th I decided to go to Turin.
I could define it my “first travel” because it represented all of my first times together.
The first time I travelled alone using a Blabla car, the first time I booked the hostel for me only, the first time I left alone to meet dozens and dozens of people without knowing not even one, the first time I decided to visit alone a city where I had never been.
I do not remember, before then, to have felt myself so self-confident. I had the opportunity to be completely me, living incognito without the encumbrance of a name. The story I had dragged to Turin in my heavy rambling backpack did not matter, I knew that the only thing to matter was the way in which I would decide to live those “out-of-town” days.
I arrived by night, after an enjoyable travel with other four boys, during which we alternately discussed about the urbanistic style of Siena and “stilt walking”, while belting out the Elio e le storie tese songs. I also arrived after the check-in time of the hostel, with my mobile phone out of charge and only an address written on a post-it in my pocket. Not exactly a piece of cake, if you do not know where you are, you have never been to Turin and you do not know the city map.
I started to ask for information. Something that, I realised, we have forgotten by now. People are happy to try to help you, but they are no longer accustomed to do it because nobody stops somebody along the street anymore while they are walking. Mobile phones with Internet do everything by now.
However, there are things that you cannot find there. You cannot find, for instance, the tobacconist’s story who, the day after my arrival, escorted me towards the city centre closing his shop in advance (“a girl, who comes to Turin with a so heavy backpack, will certainly go and visit museums, I do not make you spend 5 Euros to buy a map, I will escort you. Use them for Cinema Museum, you will like it”).
I ate hot chestnuts with some Turinese retired people on a bench of Piazza Castello, I chatted and shared my breakfast with an accordionist who played in the street, I spent an entire day in the Cinema Museum (the tobacconist could not have advised me better, a magic place).
I ended up with sharing a room for eight people in the hostel with a Chinese girl, a Japanese girl, an Australian boy, an American boy and … it is not a joke, I swear! I do not remember the nationality of the other guys, but I am sure that they were not Italian because I remember the morning trauma at breakfast when I had to bring out all English, French, and Spanish words I knew (and to be sincere they are not a lot) and to partially go back to the dear old friend gestures, in short, where words could not arrive, I made sure that my hands arrived.
Beyond the splendid meeting with the girls, about which they have already written, what did I receive from this group? The chance, within a meeting, to live a genuine experience in company of myself.