Throw off your stupid cloak, embrace all that you fear.
For joy shall conquer all despair.

Pietro Gregorini
Apr 8, 2017 · 4 min read
Sassonia, Fano (December 2016)

Sometimes there are choices or sudden changes in everybody’s life that could seem totally impulsive. I realized this when I announced mine, about leaving all my certainties to face the great unknown: some people probably thought I was joking or just got out of my head. The truth is that I cultivated this idea for a long time, but I never had enough courage or felt enough energy to embrace it before.

My choice dates back to late Christmas, while visiting my parents for the holidays in that small village I left when I was 24, and rarely returned. Sometimes this could sound weird for most Italians, who come back as soon as they can to their native villages. It’s not that I’m not attached to my family, I would admit exactly the opposite; just that this place where I lived my childhood, those green hills in the countryside that I once called home, now looks like the most distant thing from me I could ever imagine.

During those days I was feeling something wrong inside of me, though I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was. After all, living in a big city with a safe job and a good payroll would have been the maximum aspiration for some folks; but in the last years I just felt like I was surviving, as I was floating in a limbo without any new goal to reach, any finish line to aim to, which looked to me like death more than death itself.

There’s a story I’m not used to sharing, not because I have some reluctance talking about it, rather because most people feel uncomfortable listening. When I was 15 I lost my eldest brother in a car accident. Obviously it was a big challenge for my family and it took years and years to get through it, but this is not the point; my brother died at 21, still in the full blossoming years of his life, so when I turned 22 I made a solemn promise to myself in front of his grave: from that moment on I would live my life whole-fully, never letting go for any reason, whatever would happen in the future.

I think I kept my promise for a long time: leaving my small hometown, conquering my economical independence, growing my career, enjoying every new experience Milano offered me under every aspect; I felt thrilled and I felt alive. But with the passing of time I started feeling restless and I saw time flowing out of my hands. Asking myself what have I done with it, what I was waiting for? I felt like an hourglass that once was full and now out of sand, who desperately needed to be turned upside down.

In the last three years I started to travel almost compulsively, like in a sort of avid research of something, which I later identified as a clear message to runaway. You know, most of the time answers are written clearly in our eyes: if you look closer you will notice they have always been there. You just pretend they don’t exist, relying on your stability, going on day by day. But like a clock in the back of your head, their presence gets louder and louder, until you go crazy.

I never understood people who complain all the time — let me say that Italians are generally pretty good at it — because nothing is really impossible, nor do you need any big change to improve your life. Moreover, since I don’t believe in afterlife, I consider this marvelous gift called life our only and unique chance we shouldn’t spare. In the end, this should be the main reason why we live.

Once my friend Cathey, while visiting Niagara Falls together, told me that the movement of water produces negative ions, which are said to be good in improving creative inspiration. So one day I drove to the nearest beach in the Adriatic Sea and I had a long walk by the shore. I guess it’s there where I made my ultimate decision, watching the waves crashing against the rocks and breathing deeply all the breeze falling on my face: it was time to finally turn the page.

Taking advantage of changes going on inside the company where I was working, we decided to end the contract accordingly. At the same time I left that apartment in Corso di Porta Ticinese where I spent all these years. What remained were just 45 days left to be free.

Suggested Soundtrack
Patti Smith, My Blakean Year

Follow the photographic side of this journey on Instagram!

A Wanderer’s Notebook

Travel notes from a middle-age crisis. An unpretentious project by Pietro Gregorini.

Pietro Gregorini

Written by

Globetrotting Art Director. Addicted to photo chemistry. Words juggler in spare time. Guaranteed jester.

A Wanderer’s Notebook

Travel notes from a middle-age crisis. An unpretentious project by Pietro Gregorini.

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