Leaving Italy

I need to get this out of my mind.
It’s been eating my brain out for 4 years now.
So, let’s get it started.


I still remember as it was yesterday, the evening in which I told my parents, clueless of everything as everybody else, that I was leaving Italy.. for the first time alone, completely independent and with only one goal in mind: TRAVELLING, TRAVELLING, TRAVELLING. No return was mentioned, nor university programs, but only going out there and figure my stuff out.

It was their 25th?? wedding anniversary, August 31st, 2013. I had planned everything for 12 entire months without saying anything to anyone. Places to visit, things to do, countries to work in, visas to obtain, options of shelter, different route possibilities and so on.. you name it, I had planned it. Nothing was left to the case.

A couple of weeks prior to their anniversary I gently proposed to cook for them and have dinner together. It was the only time available to give them the news. Not too distant to make me regret the decision I made, nor too close to killing them of a heart attack. All this planned to be as painless as possible as well as joyful. Such a naive I was.

My sister was away with the boyfriend for the date, but time was running out.
The flight ticket was booked, and the departure set for September 8th, direction Dubai,  exactly the same day I was supposed to take the entry test for Medicine,

Dinner time came, the table was set and my hands were shaking as a caffeine addicted after the 5 coffee in a day. The menu was composed of appetizer, main, and dessert, with the announcement included between the second and the third course. Saying that I screwed up the food tremendously is being kind to me. I wanted to make something special and at the same time from scratch, but I didn’t take into account the emotional side of it: I was going to tell the people that love me the most, with only one week of notice, that I was leaving home, backpacking around the world alone, at 19 years old. I was a fool, a determined fool.

The silence around the table was heavy as cement, the food terrible and I was freaking out the closer we were getting to the dessert. Every time I recall that moment, I can feel the uncooked starchy gnocchi getting stuck in my throat with the salivary glands incapable of secreting any liquid to swallow down those little stones. My parents, as courteous as always, greeted for the attempt, while I would have rather chocked on the spot, canceling all the plans, than living the following scene.

The dessert was served. I stood up and started the announcement.
My parents felt something was not normal, something was going to happen. I began congratulating for the “love achievement” and for having created such a beautiful family as well as having provided us sons the best education possible, not only in terms of school but also in terms of values. Then, blushing and nervous as I had never been in my life, I proceded saying that I had made up my mind about what to do, now that high school was over.
“I am leaving Italy, I am going to travel around the world… possibly working in Australia for a while”.

I had some hesitation after the traveling thing. I could not break out like that, out of nowhere, without even a mention of a destination and a specific purpose of my secretly hidden project. It would have been too harsh and disrespectful in their regards. Therefore, I felt the need to include Australia and its function as an economic base to avoid my father’s imminent cardiac arrest and sadly substitute it with tears.
My mother was impassive, silent and composed, something in between sorrowful and pleased. It almost seemed she knew it. She certainly perceived, throughout the course of the last year of high school, that I was shivering, that I was deliberately planning something I didn’t want anyone to know. Indeed, at the usual question “what’s your plan after high school??”, everybody asks when you are at that stage in life, I regularly answered “I do not know” with probably such a calmness and stillness that could only mean “Do not worry about me, I am on the right path”.
Basically, my belief has always been, and still is: never tell your goals to anyone, but instead just work hard in silence to make them happen. Let the action speak for yourself.

The evening continued at a high speed marked by infinite questions of all kinds, which minute by minute were trying to make me more and more aware of possible complications that could happen along the way. However, firm of my choice and with the first month already planned, I was set to go. The world was waiting for me.