Francesco is on his travelling holiday from Italy to Prague, Minsk and to Tel Avive. He has been hungry to see new places and to find the one he is going to call his home. Wherever in the world it might be …
He comes from a small Italian city in the south. And as he says all his journeys head north, even if he goes south. Because the north means an airport and the connection to the world.
We met at one of the Prague’s bridges, took a walk along Vltava and talked about what is it like to be a tram driver…
Welcome to Prague. Do you think you could live here?
I don’t know if I want to live in Italy or somewhere else in the world. I just don’t want my life to be like a life of a tram driver. Because his life is already given, he knows the road and he can only choose the speed or if he stops early or late. You can ’t actually change anything.
People around us often want our life to be the same as theirs. Maybe they do it because they want to protect us or they just think it is better for us. They want us to live normal life.
When I turned 29 I felt something changed in me and I didn’t want to do the same things as before. I want to make my own decisions. I try to do what makes me happy, although it is not popular decision. I don’t want to be a tram driver. Education, wife, family, children… I am not against it, of course. But I want to choose when and where will those things happen.
Which unpopular decisions have you made to be happy?
All my decisions are right and popular for me. But from others’ point of view it’s not always the same as from mine. Let’s take my decision to travel and to stay abroad alone, for example. I am from a small city and people think it is the centre of the world. It is their way and I respect it.
Do you know the book La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri? Dante put Ulysses, the mythic hero, in Inferno – hell and there is the famous sentence (says it in Italian and then translates): „We were not born to be rude but we were born for knowledge and to discover.” I keep it in my mind when doing something important. When I look for the place where I want to live, for example. I would like to live in a small historical city somewhere in Europe but more central than my hometown I think. And there has to be an airport nearby.
You travel alone now …
I used to travel with my friends but they started to study, they got girlfriends, children… So I started to travel alone. The did it in Europe the first time and many people around me told me it was strange. I was afraid of being bored alone in the beginning but I liked it – it was not just holiday, it was travelling. When you travel, you have possibility to meet new people, new stories and you keep them in your memory.
Every time I travel I’m very hungry to visit the place, to see it, to get to know it. I spend all the time outside, I meet people in bars and I talk to them. When I use couchsurfing I spend time with my hosts. And when I leave I always feel melancholic, thinking I’ll never come back again.
Is there some story which got stuck in your mind?
The most important is a story of my friend. After finishing his university he went to work in Paris but he got bored of it. But he got an opportunity to live in Australia what he really loved. But then he didn’t get his a visa so he had to come back and continued working in France.
After a year his boss told him he had to move to Milan or to take a compensation and leave. He left. The money was so good that he didn’t have to work and just live back in his village. But he decided to live abroad, first in a French island and later in many other different places. He even crated his own job, new company. Now he lives in Dublin. But I am sure he’ll leave the job soon.
What do you like about his story?
It’s the freedom. We think our parents have to be the same to have this kind of freedom. But his mother is very traditional, she would never live like that. I think he got the right mixture between his life and the life of his parents. He doesn’t make them worried and just lives his life.
What is the freedom?
Freedom? Many people say freedom means they can go anywhere they want. But many of them live in a prison and follow the expectation of the society. For me the freedom is doing things I want to do without thinking what other people think. Freedom is spiritual thing, it’s not about moving around. It’s about thinking free and following our own decisions.
What would be the ideal life for you?
I have to feel happy. It is not about a place. I was happy when I was in love, sometimes I was happy on a top of a mountain, on a wild natural beach, while walking in narrow streets or in Norwegian fiords. But I don’t know how to keep this feeling yet. By travelling? By working? By walking? I was happy in different situations. I still live day by day and try to find this happiness in every day I live.