These past few months I had a pretty busy schedule and I had some moments in which I truly believed I could not pull through. I graduated this year, and I don’t know about you, but I had to write a bachelor thesis in English and take ten exams and then spend some extra two weeks studying for a final exam and preparing for the defense of the before said thesis. In a few words, I had a month and a half of turmoil, both professional and internal, because I had many things to do, and yet, as it always happens, a drive to do anything else but that. And when I couldn’t do that, there were tears, and desperation and that feeling that I was going to die young.
Of course, all’s well when it ends well and it did end, right on schedule. I am the happy possessor of a bachelor thesis in Shakespeare’s Macbeth , of a great final grade and of a beautiful holiday to Italy.
Similar to what I did next year, I had to look at email Wizzair notifications throughout my turmoil, dreaming about that moment when I shall embark on a plane and flee the country. I love my people and I love the place where I live (most of the time), but to be honest, I would have fled the country as soon as I knew my final grade. I had to do nothing for one more week, to reboot. And then, my boyfriend’s gift came into place and damn, I love hopping on a plane and taking off. I actually waited 1 month and a half to just take off, that feeling of imponderability and joy and distance, between you and all the worries you had in the past, and all the worries you have for the future.
And then there’s Italy, where the air is sweeter, the arms of my boyfriend are warmer, summer nights are hotter and pizza is tastier. If I were to pick one place I’d want to go to live happily forever, that would be Italy. And not necessarily because my boyfriend lives here, but he living here is just one big fat bonus. Italy has been what I dreamed of for AGES.
It is picturesque and old and if you mix that with history, you get my favorite happy combination that makes you wanna explore every corner, until you fall onto your bed exhausted at night, but happy.
Last winter, upon my first travel to Italy, I visited Venice for a day, with my loved one, hand in hand, until our legs went sore and hunger spiked. Either way, I think you cannot visit it enough times to discover its mysteries, and secret pathways, and get past the fact that it does not have any actual roads with cars on them. That is one of the hardest things I could get at peace with, that and the fact that when you exit the station it is as if you traveled back to the 15th century, in which it is absolutely normal to see people, walking around in epoch costumes. It is normal either way, really.
This year we had the opportunity of going to Lake Como. When you say Como, it has become synonymous with Hollywood stars owning houses there. When I went there, it was synonymous with normal people having the crazy luck to live with the view of the lake and splendid sights every morning. People who have always lived there or people who could afford to buy a place there.
To be honest, Como got me thinking about money in general. I don’t have money and after seeing a sort of Monte Carlo of Como, I think I don’t want to have the kind of money my acquaintances want to have.
Back home, I use to talk to acquaintances and friends about where I’m travelling next or where I’ve already been and when they heard I went to Venice, they were full of exclamations about how lucky I was and how beautiful it must have been. And then I tell them that I saw this and that, and the view from that bridge or the other was breathtaking and so on, and when I do that, they just look through me. I get their attention about the amount of gold and precious gems that are obscenely expensive on Ponte Rialto and I realize they are all too materialistic. Both materialistic materialistic and social media materialistic.
Back home, there is this bulk of people who want money from more or less illegal activities (because according to them, you cannot possibly swim in money and not do illegal things, hence the corruption that dominates every sector of life). They want to spend these sums of money building big ravishing mansions that cost a fortune to maintain and cars, preferably BMWs. Their world is loveless, because they no longer believe in any love other than the one that the BMW can get you. Chicks don’t love you otherwise, daaah! They don’t travel, they don’t want to see more. Their world is enough, they are enough for themselves.
Another bulk of people is formed of those who would like to travel, but have no idea what travelling presupposes. They hear words like Paris is the city of love, but they do not have the right mindset to process what they understand of love inside a bigger box than their conception of it. They turn to facebook and they see that a person went to Paris and think they are so glamorous, so stylish, when in fact, they are nothing but tourists in a foreign country, in an alien city. They cannot understand the knowledge you acquire after you spend some time in a new place, with different people, different social rules and different mindsets. They, just like the first ones, believe that what they know of the world is enough. What they want, though, is to be seen, just like those they see themselves. So they observe. Then, when they have the chance, they go to Paris, take a picture with the Eiffel Tower, post it on facebook and consider their time there well spent, although they did not see anything else. ANYTHING else. Then, other people just like them, do the same thing and they meet after and exchange clichés like Paris is the city of love, without having any arguments to support this idea, besides their love for the all inclusive service they had at their hotel.
The third bulk of people is formed of people like me, who look at distant places on Pinterest and plan to visit some of them, in accordance to what the budget allows. This is when my meditation at Como interferes. I went to Bellagio, and by the looks of it and the looks of the people I saw passing by, I’m guessing it is populated by people who could afford a million or two. And then I saw, they dress so casually, without any pomp. A man from the first category would buy all the things that scream a brand or another, just to show off to everybody else, but those who afford to live in five stars hotels or in luxurious mansions, they dress as if they bought their clothes from the same place the “commoners” do. I am impressed by their capacity of driving a Porsche or a Ferrari as if it were a family car and their unaffected behavior. They are classy and thus they emanate class through every fiber of their body. Of course, they are not friendly towards everybody, but that is understandable: they have businesses, they are busy and don’t have any time to spare with anything that is not going to make them more money. I respect that. It is in your face, you know that from the get-go, you don’t have to speculate anything. The bulk people on the other hand, they live and prosper on speculation.
And then there’s me. I can afford some things, not all things. I’m not all about popping a Louis Vuitton out of my secret stash of expensive things, nor do I wear designer sunglasses, but while sitting on the edge of the lake, all I could think about is how I want to be more like the classy millionaires and less like the crappy landowners I get too much of everywhere. I plan to succeed, but I don’t want to have so much money I can use dollars for toilet paper. I don’t aspire to be the obscenely rich person who has six cars, four mansions and at least a dozen vacation homes in which I wouldn’t get to spend any time. I aspire to be the regular person, who has a regular home, a regular car, with solar panels on my roof and regular food on my table. I want to work 11 months a year and have one month to visit some place new or find something new in a place that I visited before. I want to enjoy what I work for and also reserve some time to pamper myself. I want to have a Louis, and a bunch of nice soft silky shirts, some great quality jeans, some sweaters and skirts and accessories, but when asked about where they are from, I don’t want to say with a pretentious tone that it’s a Gucci or Versace or whatever. I want to be as ethereal as those people are, beautiful, and yet not in everybody’s face or facebook feed.
I still have no idea how I’m going to do that, but what I want to do is look at ducks all day. It is like you witness live the event of finally getting your ducks in a row well enough that you could have a holiday after.
I can finally breathe. Right now, and probably always, my happy corner shall be Italy, and I want to emulate this feeling as this place is so me it’s crazy. All you need to know is I’m happy and grateful and damn, I don’t want it to end.
Are we so crazy to believe in magic, even if we can’t afford much to buy some?