Italy Austria Germany
Two years ago I was lost, living a life based on traces of pain from my past. I was someone’s mother, someone’s wife, someone’s friend, with more than one person residing inside me. I had forgotten which one was the real “I” until I walked the trail of that first mountain and reached the top.
“Walk into my story” began with an invitation from a friend to hike in Cinque Terre. I wasn’t a fan of hikes, and suffice to say, my friend had to use a few tricks to make me climb that first hill. Back then a beautiful picture of the view from a mountain top was worth more than me having to earn that view and climb for it. Yet, when I reached the top, when I took in the salty air and looked at the blue of the sea spreading in front of me, I knew something had shifted inside.
I am a story hunter. People motivate me, their life stories are treasures. Inspired by the people I meet from all walks of life, by their cultures, their diversity and strive to bring beauty in any form for other people to experience, I felt compelled to understand more about human nature, culture, our differences which make us unique. This process pushed me to walk into my own story; my own past.
I started hiking every weekend, covering the hills that surround Florence, my home base. Upon my return home, I felt better, more confident, happier and calmer than ever before. I didn’t feel I had to juggle one life too many on a daily basis. In nature, among trees, on climbing paths and mountain peaks, I was in complete control; my failures or successes depended on me alone.
I began documenting my experiences, writing chapters of a book that had no title. My people often joked that I am writing ‘The book before the book.’ It was a book about a confused self, one that guided my present life, one that had forgotten to embrace the moment entirely. Until one day…
I walked twenty kilometers into the forest, on the famous Via Degli Dei path. The silence was disturbed only by the music of the tree leaves, touched by the wind. I reached a meadow, that spread its green and invited me to sit. I looked beyond the trees, beyond the path and knew that stopping was no longer an option. My body and mind wanted to move further, discover more, regain the control I knew I had lost over myself.
I smiled all the way home to my people, my daughter, and my husband; a smile that made my face hurt, a smile that had a chosen distance behind it: 1300 kilometers.
That evening, in the silence of the house I decided a destination for the distance and wrote the words ‘Walk into my story’:
I was born as a puzzle, and as years went by, someone would come and kick the pieces, spreading them further and further apart, making it impossible for me to collect myself as a whole being. Every time I would connect a piece in its place, another one would fall or would be pushed away by someone else. I’ve always felt as a damaged puzzle missing a bunch of pieces from some corner of myself.
Trying to gather those pieces was sometimes fun, and soon I discovered that I could fill the holes with something else: a feeling, a joy, a crazy adventure. But those never fit quite right; they weren’t the right color or the right size. I never belonged to myself because of it. I was a slave to my own dramas and pain. When I walk from A to B, when I challenge my body to do what my mind doesn’t want to, the puzzle pieces stop falling.
No, I can’t collect them, nor can I put the ones missing back, but it stops the ones that are in place from falling apart. Time stops; everything stops. It’s me, myself and I. It’s me walking on hidden paths talking to myself; it’s me trying to figure out why I am damaged; it’s me accepting that I am.
‘Walk into my story’ is the need to escape the world I’ve created around me, the process of accepting an ‘I’ that stands alone.
SUPPORT MY JOURNEY
To say the words ‘I need help’ makes my whole being tremble. I realize more and more that these words are foreign for me, even if I spent my life encouraging people around me to speak up. So here I am asking for help to support my journey, to be a part of my story, and why not to enjoy the ride alongside me.
I love sending letters and postcards. If you want to be on receiver’s end, write me a message with your address and be sure you will get something in your mailbox.
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WHO I AM
Writer / Story Hunter
I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.
Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.
If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.