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01. Love me Vietnam

20th March

Vietnam.
I suddenly decide my Easter holiday destination after reading The Times travel pages on my lazy Sunday afternoon.
It wasn’t a trip supplement, rather a list of delightful places for where to spend a spring-like weekend in the UK. I don’t know anything about the English countryside – I’m usually stuck here in London – and I think “What a perfect occasion to go and explore!”. Pictures of horses, sheep, birds everywhere, and I absolutely love that stuff. It keeps my heart quiet.
Then, among scattered clearings and gracious parks, was a quite outstanding ad page on bays and boats.

Now, I cannot say I have an impulsive nature but I’ve learned to become more and more so over the time.
Impulsiveness comes as a relief, it absolves me from over-rationalising pretty much everything, even when choosing between a banal short coffee or a macchiato one.
It makes me live the most unforgettable experiences.
It took me here to London.
Impulsiveness makes my heart jump off the cliff unexpectedly after reaching the edge in slow motion and meanwhile wondering if arriving there is the absolute and irrefutable best choice I might have made.
But, albeit it makes me feel silently proud of myself, it’s always hard to decide if jumping without an emotional parachute. And our parachutes are usually known as mothers, friends, love.
However, being impulsive doesn’t mean necessarily putting your life in danger. It is diverging unpredictably from the usual path.

Since last December I had been thinking about where I could hide from the rest of the world.
Broken heart at Christmas time, what a perfect combination. The best moment to make an inconsiderate decision.
Eighteen days quickly booked off from work, yet no destination. For days my eyes crossed the edges of the world from side to side while just looking at flights on Skyscanner. And so my dreams.
Technically it’s one of the easiest things to do; you pick a flight, click ‘book’, and it’s done.
However, from Peru to India and all the way back from Soqotra to Argentina, the more hesitant I felt about embarking on a journey by myself the more the Earth became smaller and smaller, right back to Europe, and close up to where my house was.
Home again.

Before making the final decision and after doubts had downsized my expectations along with my initial enthusiasm about this two-week trip, the most likely option was a rail journey across Portugal and France, with a quick pass through Spain. Still an amazing experience, nonetheless it required way too much of a backpacker’s spirit of adventure. Not for me, laziness prevents me from being so intrepid.
More than an adventurer I consider myself an explorer; I’m moved by the ‘why‘ and the ‘how‘ rather than answering the ‘where’ and the ‘what’. I like thinking that I embark on a journey through the soul. So, in the end, when you need to answer ‘why’ you are going to travel by yourself to the other side of the world, and ‘how’ you are going to make perfect stitching work to hold your heart’s pieces together once you arrive there, the ‘where’ doesn’t come to be the most important detail.

The first time I travelled alone I left Italy and came here to London.
It was almost two years ago, and it wasn’t for bravery, it was for necessity.
Even though in another time and in another story, my heart left home broken again.
Harsh.
Loneliness literally crushes you. It knocks your heart down to the ground.
But, living together with loneliness and sharing the same desk and meal become the fundamental part of the game.
I cannot tell if deciding on a solo trip while living a solitary life requires a bit of bravery? Surely it’s a way to force the heart to a sort of apnea at times when it cannot stop from being so unquiet, and then you realise that it’s better to reboot it.
I call it emotional survival.

So, Vietnam in the end.
It’s The Times fault. It’s impulsiveness. It’s escaping fear; it’s diverging route.

Take a look at the whole Vietnam Photo Book here

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