From the Other Side of the World
Twist your head around, it’s all around you.
All is full of love, all around you.
There was something about the Australian continent that always made me curious: why so many people around the world move there? What makes that land so attractive, in spite of the debatable stories about poisoning animals? How an harsh place like that can make a hit in the heart of people?
Indeed, when I first landed in Sydney, I found an enjoyable environment to welcome me: good architectures, awesome parks and nice beaches pretty close to downtown, which is not so common for huge cities nearby the ocean. But good premises aside, I found its population a bit arrogant and not really friendly, exactly as you would expect in Milan, except for my kind host José who has been so lovely to bring me around the neighbourhoods at night with his group of friends.
The biggest surprise has been Melbourne: the city is vibrant, full of artistic spots — we could say hipster, but in a good way — and I fell in love with its vibe in less than half an hour just walking around the streets. Melbourne is definitely a place where I could live, it’s incredibly easy how you can get in touch with new people and how they make you feel comfortable. I was so disappointed when I had to leave one week later, wishing I would have stayed more.
The first encounter in the city has been the funniest ever: I discovered that me and my Airbnb host Jonathan, a Colombian guy who lives in Australia by more than 10 years, were sharing the same best-friend in Bogotá. The world is small, for sure, but also surprising in a good way. As soon as I got into the house I felt like we were good friends, both with him and his two boyfriends — yes, you have read it right, and I know that some people out there may roll their eyes. Well, I’ve always been a person with no preconceptions and I’ve met several open couples and throuples in Italy yet, but this time has been really interesting to see how normal — heaven forbid me for using this term — that relationship was, even if, personally, I’ve always thought that monogamy would fit me better. After all, what’s the limit of love? Where does it lies the line from where you can judge something, to say if it’s right or wrong when it doesn’t hurt anybody and it’s just filled with care, empathy and respect?
Being the guys quite known in Melbourne for a techno night party, I’ve been around with them and I got in touch with so many artistic and interesting people — they also introduced me to RuPaul Drag Race for the first time, but that’s another story. Every single day their house was full of friends, who were coming to chill out, and I tried my best to find some Italian ingredients to make them carbonara pasta and tiramisù. During those days I also rejoined with Niccolò, a friend from Milan, who took me to an art gallery where his housemate was doing an exhibition. I don’t know how, but at the end of the evening we were more than ten people, drinking some wine, gathered around a fire built up in the middle of the backyard. Yeah, this is Melbourne.
Before leaving the city, I had this enjoyable conversation with an Uber driver, such an handsome man and beautiful soul coming from India. We talked about where the world is heading to in these years, and though our visions and goals may have diverged since he is Muslim and I’m an atheist, we agreed on the basic principle of being respectful towards all the differences out there, that being a good human being is not related to any particular religion or belief, it’s just into our own nature. That friendly mood of the city permeated so much into me that once on the flight to Cairns, while reaching the end of the airplane for a coffee, I stopped by having a long and funny conversation even with the cabin crew, all boys and girls living in Melbourne.
In the north east of Australia everything is slowed down. It is probably due to the weather, the hot temperatures, the reason why you just want to lay down somewhere and chill out. That’s relax at its umpteenth power. From there I visited some marvelous place: the Daintree Rainforest, one of the oldest rainforests in the planet, the Mossman Gorge full of crocodiles, the stunning beach of Cape Tribulation, and a quick tour on Fitzroy Island, where I enjoyed sunbathing on a desert beach.
In Cairns I’ve been hosted by Melody and Charlie, a lovely couple of girls that lives there with their two beautiful dogs Bacon and Willow. The day I arrived it was their first anniversary together. I couldn’t help but being moved by that fresh love in the air, that complicity, which looked so genuine and utterly charming. Like an osmosis, it made me think about my last four years of singleness and how, deeply inside of me, I was still nursing some form of hope, to be able to express my feelings in such a pure way with someone. Somehow there I found that tender part of me again, which I thought to have lost after feeling like a rational glacier for so long.
I spent so much time having wonderful conversations with the girls, lying on the sofa in the patio at night, while playing with the cute Willow and her red ball. But what was even more wonderful was the surprise they made me the last day of my stay: while packing my stuff I found two pictures on the bottom of the luggage — a portrait of the sweet Willow, that definitely enjoyed playing with me, and another photograph, which I loved, that I saw days before hung up in the kitchen. On the back there were written some lovely words for me. I almost bursted in tears. It’s quite difficult to pick one particular best moment during a trip so long, but if I have to choose one, would be this.
In just a few weeks in Australia I have been catapulted in so many different realities that some parts of a country like Italy, with its own conservatism, homophobia and racism may hardly understand, and that was so inspiring. I could never have imagined to meet such special connections, to feel loved in this sincere way in just a few days. You realize that, for real, respect and acceptance may change this world in better. A world that is full of beautiful people to share love with, people that fill up your heart better than anything else. Sometimes it’s up to us to see where beauty lies, and when you see it, you understand that you are not alone, and you will never be.