Santa Barbara, CA

Destination Unknown

June 14, 2019

Driving North along the Pacific Highway I feel defeated and upset. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I could do what I’ve done, I’ve seen precious places I always thought I would never see, and most of all I added an amazing experience and stories I can tell to whomever wants me to tell them. I keep on feeling nothing whenever someone gets surprised and asks: you did this alone? You’re such a brave woman. I am not. It’s just who I am. Courage has nothing to do with what I’ve done and what I’m doing. I believe that, when you have nothing left to lose, whatever you do is just fine. You couldn’t have done otherwise, so what’s the big deal? But then this is just because in this very moment this is how I feel. An hour from now I may be staring at myself at a restroom’s mirror in a remote gas station in Southern California, thinking: you did it. You road tripped with poor Sienna falling into pieces but you did it, and now you’re back.

I am back. Back to square one, and I can automatically feel the weight of the world dragging me down again. What’s the next step now? Where did my freedom go? I need to sit and listen to what the ocean has to say. Before reaching Los Angeles, I stop at Dana Point and let the waves calm me down for a couple of minutes on a gloomy morning. I let my mind go and I can hear the ocean speak. He said “just be patient you’ll make it through. It has all be given to you because you can handle it, you only have to hang in there and wait.” I told him I am tired of waiting. I told him I can’t take it anymore and I told him I want to go home. He said “this is home now, you’ll see”. I wasn’t talking about home in Italy. He wasn’t talking about home in California. We understood each other so perfectly. And I kept going.

I wasn’t ready to drive through my beloved city. I took an alternate route and went all the way North to Calabasas where a friend lives with her family. I’ll stay with them for just a few days before seeing LeoBear again. I’ll take care of the pup for a little while again, and hopefully my mind will go back to be working properly. I need that consistency I tried to build up during the Spring and during my boxing challenge, and now I kind of miss it.

On Sunday we drive up to Santa Barbara. Of course I take the chance to visit some more of this beautiful California, and I can’t miss the opportunity to see my Pacific whenever I can. Santa Barbara is a small town compared to what I was expecting. A typical beach town with the pier, but if you look around, what you can see is more than pretty. Mountains surround you from the South, East and North, while your West wing opens up to the ocean. And it’s magical. The only flaw is seeing those offshore oil drilling platforms in the distance, but there’s nothing I can really do about it so I’ll pretend I didn’t see, and enjoy the rest.

I’m afraid of what is expecting me in a month or so. I know I am cherishing my aloneness more than anything, despite those few moments I wish I could share with someone else. Traveling alone has solidified even more my independence and my “relative” freedom, so anything that crosses my boundaries makes me feel uncomfortable, as if I’m trapped in a cage. All I can do is just wait. Always. Wait. Patiently. Until I’m free and alone again. But until then, how do I cope with the “in between”?

Death Valley, California

Destination Unknown

July 9, 2019

Babe, I’m home. I pictured myself hugging the road sign where it says “Welcome to California” like a Koala hangs tight on his eucalyptus tree, but I could not really find the road sign. Going all the way from Vegas to the Death Valley, you can’t see any welcome sign. Not even Google maps, that always warns you with a blue banner popping up, said anything. Whatever.

The day started so smoothly I could not believe I was simply taking it easy. There was almost no one on the road once I passed the urban area of Las Vegas, and the long string of asphalt in the middle of nothing was a blessing to me. I took the time so stop, take photos, jump in the middle of the road, tell everyone to go f-un themselves and it was just …good. Reaching the Death Valley was like a dream. I even had to let a wild horse pass right in front of me. A white wild horse. Pretty little thing, so precious. For the first time in my life I saw a road runner: funny little creature. So fast, for real. I was imagining something as big as a turkey. Nope. Small and fast. The funniest of them all was the white-ish lizards that were even faster, but they looked like they were running only on two legs. I remember watching a youtube video of these reptiles, where one was escaping from a thousand snakes coming from all the angles and corners: she made it through by the way.

Every little thing in the Death Valley is beautiful. I am so excited and I just cannot believe I made it here. “Hey look Ma, I made it!” to quote one of the songs I keep on hearing of the radio (it’s by Panic! At the Disco, of course), oh and I actually wrote down a list of the most played ones so that I can create a playlist and listen to it (you can too!!) when I am down (or not) to remind myself of that time I took a road trip all over the US (mostly) and a little Canada, all by myself, with a van, sleeping in my car, seizing the day. Bad-ass. I know. I like it too. And bad-ass is exactly how I feel today, capable of doing anything, under a 110F weather. Go me. Except for a blonde moment I had. I could totally see it coming: I pictured myself in that very situation I found myself trapped in, and not even a second after I imagined it, it happened. What is it? Well, after seeing my favorite spots in the Valley, viewpoints, canyons, DUNES… fighter jets flying low and breaking your eardrums (the Death Valley must be one of those areas where they could legally perform supersonic activity just like over the Adriatic Sea in Italy), I saw on the side of the road some small dunes of another color from those I just hiked up. The rangers at the visitor center said that sometimes you can see grey dunes because there is hematite in the area, which is also one of my favorite rock, that I have in a box somewhere in the car right now, probably in the “random objects” box. I also have the “beauty objects” box, the “electric things” box, the “kitchen stuff” box… I mean, can’t you see why I am not scared of earthquakes now? My aunt said “Laura, you’re out of your mind” because I am not afraid of some soil shaking but, see this: I don’t own a house that can fall over my head, I have everything I need and own with me, in a moving metal box that can go anywhere and, unless it’s the Big One that should supposedly break and detach the whole Californian peninsula turning it into a floating island, why worry? But that’s just me. You can be afraid all you want. Anyway, the blonde moment. I went a little too far in my curiosity for spotting the grey sand, and got stuck in it with the front of the car. This is one of those cases when you have to pretend you like humans and ask for help. So I did. I started waving my arms in the air to the cars passing by, and the first car pulling over was of a German couple, the second of a German family. Yes people. Saved by the Germans. May the Germans be blessed. A few others just passed and looked. They did not stop. Not Germans, most probably. They followed my suggestion and pushed the car while I slowly hit the accelerator on reverse. We made it. They made it. I was so thankful that I wish, if there’s a God listening, that their lives could be blessed for a long long time. The cutest were the girls pushing along with father and mother to help me. Sweethearts. Cherry on the top: when I asked what I could give in exchange for their precious help, they all said “nothing, it’s ok, keep going” and then the father added “tell this story. You have something fun to tell” and it was amazing. I promise I would and here I am. By the way, if one day you will ever read this and this message will get to those kind German people who helped a stranded blonde out of the sand, in the Death Valley on July 9th, 2019 please know that you are AWESOME. Thank you from the bottom of my bipolar heart. One day I’ll pay it back, or forward.

To end the day in the most batshit-crazy way for many, I decide to spend the night in Ridgecrest, the town where the big earthquakes of the last couple of days hit because I just want to see. To know. Curiosity killed the cat. But I am wolf. Protected by a bear. Go figure. If I’m still alive tomorrow, we’ll talk more about Ridgecrest, now enjoy some photos of one the most wonderful places I’ve seen so far. Talk to you tomorrow.

Four Corners, Utah (part 3)

Destination Unknown

June 6, 2019

Once again I needed a day to process. And to recover. Mentally. I was expecting the Monument Valley to be breathtakingly beautiful instead what stole my heart once again, was the landscape all around me. And Bryce. But that was almost obvious. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those rock formations is still something amazing, but …there’s a but. Arizona, just like New Mexico, is too underestimated. I don’t like this. I took my time driving back and forth through almost four States today to see as many things as possible because they were all mainly a stone thrown one from the other. Not by chance the area is called Four Corners, because it’s right within the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Driving and visiting more than one place, together with the emotional atmosphere of Bryce Canyon at sunset, brought up so many memories, so many thoughts, so many reflections. I also had to MarieKondo a few things from my past. After realizing that all the people from the past I got in contact with during this trip, were even too busy to meet, out of town (but then, is it true?), completely ignoring my messages or simply apologizing for not making it, I decided that this was not “sparking any sort of joy” in me, therefore, I need to throw it away (that’s the Marie Kondo technique basically). The only contacts I had throughout my journey were either with people I randomly met, or suggested by mutual friends so we could spend a couple of hours together, or my “Cambridge” friend. So…I guess, enough with the past, bring it on future! What actually made me think about it, was a message from another friend from the past that, to my question: “why don’t you come visit me now that you’re all settled and rich? Lol” he answered “eh, I lost interest in America with time”. Ok, that America word? Imagine while I do the “quote” gesture with my index and middle fingers, folding them down. I wish I could meme this but anyway… the point is, I lost interest in “America” (in quotes) could simply stand for “our friendship” or “you” in general. After all, we haven’t seen for exactly 10 years now, but I must be the only one who does not get affected by time on an emotional level. I could still see you after months, years, centuries, and I would still act as if I saw you yesterday. Eh. Using my typical expression: whatever. I actually asked many friends to come see me, to visit me, because there’s always that excitement of showing them where I live, what I do, even if it’s a crappy studio and I have no career (yet). Nobody ever came. Now that the studio’s gone as well, I guess I’ll stop asking.

From the early morning spent at the Monument Valley, to lunch time at Lake Powell and the Horseshoe Bend, up to chasing the sunset at Bryce, I never stopped for a single second. The emotional state I was in lingered through the evening and the whole Bryce ride was a whole rollercoaster of “fast fast you’ll miss the pink moment”, to “slow slow, stop over here and enjoy the moment”. I took some photos to show you all, but all I wanted to do was to just stare at those vivid colors, with those unexplainable views (I mean, they can be explained it but I can’t explain the way you feel watching them!), while my “being alone feeling” is getting more and more the features of a blessing in moments like this where I can literally do whatever the heck I want because I only have myself to be accountable for. Precious. Just real bliss. I think the photos will speak better than me so here they are. Tomorrow is another day, and something else I have been waiting to visit for so long is Zion National Park, which is right around the corner. See you there.

Nashville, TN

Destination Unknown

July 2, 2019

Who knew I would love Nashville so much? Yeah, me neither. I reached the city on July 1st but I needed a rest. My whole body (and soul as well) was aching so I spent the night at an AirBnB, because I am dead tired of filthy and creepy motels. I didn’t even meet the hosts, which is fine with me. I slept in a very comfortable room and the following morning I was ready to visit the city. A.m.a.z.i.n.g. Yes.

Being on the road for so long, relying only on myself and my reactions to things, I am also noticing how my mood changes, and how I wake up in the morning ready (or not) to face both life in general, and people most of all. It could easily be related to the menstrual cycle, as this week I can barely stand myself, not to mention strangers and annoying people who, for whatever reason, never cease to exist. Every little thing could be a spark to set me on fire, I’m irritable and I could kill. Not literally, but it’s better to not step on my foot. This said…

The first scene appearing in front of me downtown Nashville is a horde of individuals of any age, already walking up and down the streets at not even 10AM on a Tuesday morning, carrying musical instruments. Ding. Let’s go see this “Broadway” everyone is telling me about then, instead of wasting time looking for spots where I can capture a good shot of the skyline or so. Oh well. As soon as I see the Honky Tonk in the distance, I start hearing music on the background, as if there was a concert nearby. Getting closer the music gets louder, I can definitely tell that what I am hearing is live music, not something coming out of huge speakers. Welcome to Broadway, Nashville. For those who don’t know, just like me before I got told, a “honky tonk is an establishment that contains at least one rocking stage, cold beverages, and a party that lasts all day, everyday.” Yes, every single day. The streets are packed mostly every day, you can listen to music for free, taking a stroll or drinking at a bar, and usually the people playing are those waiting to see their dream come true. Plus, being the week of Independence Day, they’re assembling a stage right at the center of the street blocking the intersections with the major roads, so I guess there will be some sort of massive party going on either tomorrow or the day after. Too bad I’m going to miss this. No, not really. I can’t “people”, not all these people, all by myself. Not these days.

<<Once upon a time there was a little Italian girl who dreamed to be a rockstar. She used to sing and dance, mimicking Jem and the Holograms and listening to the bands his brother was listening to. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey but then Dire Straits, Police and Phil Collins were always playing in her dad’s car. She was one of the very few who had the Cicciobello Rock, a doll with a microphone who could sing and dance (see photo) just like her. She will never be a star and she will never again sing on stages, in front of people, covering pop songs with her friends as a teenager. Then one day she found herself in Nashville, Tennesse, when she was not a girl anymore, and her dreams changed with the time and the places she lived in. Crossing path with all these other people in the music city, she felt their vibes and smiled at them. It was nice to realize there is still someone out there who dares to dream, and they dream big. So she shed tears and wished no one could see. Then, she kept walking.>>

After having absorbed all I could from those vibes pervading the air, took a few shots of the skyline, smiled and sung in silence, recognized a few songs and going all the way down memory lane with Kid Rock and the day I met and hugged him at the U.S.O Christmas event in Aviano, I walked all the way to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, and took my time there, honoring those who made of music their purpose in life. It was sad seeing nobody cared that much. The museum was almost empty, but I was glad I could enjoy it with very few humans around. Nonetheless, obnoxious little girls monopolized the recording booth where you could record yourself singing songs like a rockstar, and the little girl in me snapped, while the adult smiled at them, and she was glad they could have some good memories. (Mofos!) What is certain is that they will never have a career as singers unless they take singing classes. DearLord they were so out of tune. My ears were bleeding, at every “you’re gonna seeee meee roooaarrr oh oh oh oh”. Poor Katy Perry. To frame and conclude my stay in the Music City, I look for a good plant based place to have lunch. I am taking myself to lunch at a restaurant today. I find Vege-licious and at first I think I am going to regret it because why spending money when I could get something at Whole Foods or so? Instead, the place is a cozy little home-based spot, rural and sweet, where the atmosphere is serene and food is really good. The cheesecake too, which was the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth after a whole plate of “soul food” I got as main course. If you’re in Nashville, go check it out before they expand. And even after.

Anyway, time for me to move on to the next stop, which I still don’t know what will be. I’m heading west, that’s for sure. If it took me more than three weeks to get here, I am counting it would take me at least the same amount of time to find myself back in California. I guess the final destination, at this point, is Los Angeles, CA. What we don’t know, is my next destination, and the following, and the next one, until the car allows me, and until I’ll be in the City of Angels, once again.

As far as I am concerned, it could take longer, and I am always open to possibilities. I am still on the road, and I am still may destinations to reach which are still not revealed because I’ll picked them every morning by just looking at a map I bought in April. Let’s see where I will be tomorrow, and let’s keep moving from there. Meanwhile, if you’ll ever get the chance, visit the music city because it is soooo much worth it. I did believe too that it was only country music and a bunch of rednecks. It’s not. It’s a cradle of bands, musicians of any kind, trying to find their way to success, and that’s fascinating. Keep dreaming y’all. Because, quoting the Blind Melon, “when you feel your life ain’t worth living, you’ve got to stand up and take a look around, and you look way up to the sky. Yeah, and when your deepest thoughts are broken, keep on dreaming boy, ’cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die.”

Philadelphia, PA and New Jersey

Destination Unknown

June 29, 2019

I have to tell the truth, today I thought: f*ck the East Coast let’s go back West. A spiraling shitload (pardon my French but it clearly represents the mood) of negativity started surrounding me, and all I can think of is “if only I were back in California”. Yeah, no bueno. Not if you’re literally on the other coast, the other side of a continent, the beginning of the end.

I tried to get in contact with the people I know in Boston, New York and that part of America I already visited. Not it town, busy, busy, not it town, no answer, no answer… Wow. I guess I either picked the wrong time or I may only have to reconsider a few things. Probably the latter. After leaving Niagara Falls, at this point, all I could think of was heading back West. I knew Montreal in Québec was almost a stone thrown from where I was, considering the miles I’ve been driving so far, and my bud Jason would be in town, but going all the way up means I have to necessarily go all the way down later, passing through areas like Boston and NY where apparently there is no one there to greet me. I’ve gone through that road before, I actually road tripped with my mother and my aunt back in 2011 all the way from Mount Holyoke College to Montreal, Boston, and NY so the voice in my head spoke: hell to that, start heading down South so you can eventually turn right and go West. So I did, and I found myself driving for hours and hours before reaching Philadelphia, PA.

There was just one more problem: it’s the week of the Fourth of July and Philadelphia has the whole city engaged and dedicated to this event, but I would find this out only later in the afternoon, after questioning if it is my bad luck or who knows what that gets me into these stupid situations. Since Colorado Springs, my car has been making a weird noise, as you should know considering I spent most of the time at that Auto Station in Omaha, NE where they could not fix the problem. Thinking of what it could be, all things considered, I managed to figure it could be a breaks’ issue so I call Pep Boys to find their closest location in Pennsylvania. I got turned down by at least three locations in the city, where I could always book an appointment on line but when getting there, they would simply not checking me in because they were fully booked. System down or not, that was it. I was done. I was cursing everyone and everything, and probably karma was also making me pay for it, so I stopped. I called my grandma’s cousin in Pennsville, NJ and she told me to stop by their house. I book an appointment for the following morning at a Pep Boys near them, and I called it quits with Philadelphia. Before leaving I think of doing a quick tour while sitting in the car, a sort of individual sightseeing. Yeah? Yeah, no. It was impossible to drive through the city streets. Usually on weekends LA is deserted, or almost. Philly was as packed as a regular day of the week if not more, because I started noticing people were not dressed like as if they were going to work, they were all… tourists. Or being tourists for this Independence Day week festival. This “Celebration of Freedom” was depriving me of my own liberty. Humans waiting in line everywhere, sold out tickets for even the stupidest attraction, when the light was green you still had to wait for floods of individuals crossing, and by the time they were almost all gone the light would turn red again and… oh, the weather: 100 degrees F, it was driving me crazy. I had to think about a way out super fast.

After seeing the main attractions from the outside, taking a few pictures and loading up with anger, disgust, and frustration, I am on my way to Jersey. I think, “Philadelphia you are actually pretty, with all the buildings and these little corners reminding me of Boston, but I chose the wrong time” plus something in me was saying “you’ll get back here soon, now just leave” so I left. And it was the right thing to do. As soon as I parked my car on my cousin Ida’s driveway, a massive storm hit us and the apocalypse was all around us. Ida lives on the shore of the Delaware river, on the Jersey side. Water from the waves, the rain, the wind blowing in circles, and boom: a blackout. A pole fell and that was it. We were left without electricity for the whole night. I thought: wow. I brought a power outage to New Jersey. I bring catastrophes to the places I go to, as my business card. Despite the weather, I had a good quality time with family and I was thankful for that. Ida’s house is exactly how I picture myself living in the future, utopian thinking, with a music room, covered in windows, facing the ocean, where you can enjoy sunrise or sunset, with the sound of the waves cuddling your ears (and your soul) 24/7. She told me stories about her travels, we talked about my grandma, and cooked “pasta e fagioli” from the typical Italian tradition, all framed by a sweet watermelon slice we had while enjoying sunset and fireworks facing Delaware with fireflies all around us. It’s been forever since I’ve seen fireflies. Wow. Just wow. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

Seattle, not only grunge

Destination Unknown

June 14, 2019

Ah, Seattle! Of course you were the father of grunge, among many other things. First with the jazz, then with the rock, music fills your soul and you couldn’t help but let it out. I get it. Kurt, Eddie, Chris, Layne, Dave and their band companions found the answers to many of their existential questions in you, they created and they evolved putting words into music, feelings into sounds, and for some reasons I believe I found some answers too, but although I’ll try and explain them in humble words, I’m sure I won’t be as successful as those who preceded me, and who now are myths and heroes of our time.

I introduced myself to you smiling at the idea that here, it seems, is where people get inspired, and actually can build something. From music, to business companies, airlines and more (just think of Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks!!!) you gave a push to many. I wished for a minute you could be the place where I could get enlightened too. Eh, I wonder. I honestly have to confess that I also laughed at my excitement for being in the city where Grey’s Anatomy is fictitiously set. I guess I can see why now: they needed a city “with some balls”. They surely found it.

I parked the car and I started walking through you letting my receptors open, and you could tell I was receiving by the fact I was walking with a grin, and people were once again noticing me (like in Portland!?), but eventually I understood why. “Nice shirt!” – “I like your shirt!” – “What does your shirt say? I like it!” or simply smiling back at me acknowledging the message it shows: “Less job. More travel.” in the front, and “Quit your job.” in the back. I wonder if someone took it as a sign and eventually followed the suggestion, or if they will do it soon, I need the credits. For sure many appreciated it, and they also had the chance to experience the “open to discussions” version of me. Wow. Big deal. Not really. Well, I interacted with the guys at Starbucks, the musician at the pier, the photographer on the street, a few guys in a car pointing at my shirt laughing and nodding, women and men crossing path with me and explicitly agreeing with the message I was sharing. Fun times. Two girls asked if I could take a photo of them and I basically did a whole photo shoot session for them. They laughed and they kept on saying “thank you, you’re so kind”. I think at a certain point they started thinking I was a freak. But by that time, I already said bye headed back to my car, after a whole day spent walking and stopping at typical places. Such a tourist: I visited the Pike Place Market, the Seattle Art Museum, the Pier, a few art expositions here and there, the tall buildings, the viaduct they’re taking down polishing the view of downtown in such a cool way, the first original Starbucks, the Space Needle, and the Native American Art exposition, where I had a very interesting conversation with Cole, about Native Americans, my old studies (but never forgotten) and native stuff in general. Phenomenal.

Aaron, knowing I was coming from LA, tried to convince me that Seattle is better than my city of angels. He said the beauty of it here is not even comparable to LA’s; when the sun is out, it makes everything appear more charming. Here. Hmm. In LA the sun is always there, he continues, (I thought: not this year dude, not this year) so you simply get used to it. In Seattle, you wish for the sun and when it comes out it’s a good day (sounds kind of like me, right?). He talked about the lakes, the mountains, and the sound, meaning the music scene. Everything, he then added, is a short drive away whether you like hiking, skiing, water sports, going to the lake, hanging at the river, chilling close to the center, going to a bar. I objected using the desert card; he said the desert here is East of the mountains at about a 3-hour drive. Damn. He almost convinced me. When he used the music card I could not disagree, and he eventually ended the discussion with “Everything you need is here, and not as spread out as in SoCal“. Good point. So now what? Nothing, I took some (mental) notes down and I’ll used them for future reference.

Seattle touched me deep. We got physical, I confess. To the point I felt dizzy and breathless. Conversations about it were simply too reductive. As our body speaks better than words sometimes, mine could simply feel it all and speak for itself. In Seattle I saw things from the past, transformed into something I can now appreciate with a level of maturity that is palpable. Features almost too familiar accompanied my journey here, and I was safe. Not sorry. Just like staring at the eyes of a stranger sometimes can make you feel at peace and welcomed, Seattle was there to question me, to tackle me, and eventually embraced me with a passion that penetrated my soul. I felt good. It felt good. And if you only knew me, even just the smallest and remotest part of me, you would know that admitting and accepting that I actually felt something (and to say it out loud) is a big big big achievement. It all just came naturally and, despite the apprehension I felt right before introducing myself and even the first few minutes in, Seattle was nice and solid, raw and real, letting my guard fall down and my shields fade away, leaving room for fun times and good memories. Feral but not aggressive, direct but not disrespectful; I allowed myself to be seen by Seattle, so much so that my defense mechanisms failed, and I got “softer“. Just like a kiss, that when you can see it coming it just makes you chuckle, I too giggled and opened up, and people could sense it. I was not hating on every single human as usual. Just a small part of individuals kept on being the same annoying mortals, but it was nothing unbearable and I could handle it pretty well. Seattle allowed me, and I allowed myself really, to enjoy my limited time here, grabbing what I’ve been offered, giving what I could let out, up to a different extent. Thank you Seattle. Steve Jobs said “stay hungry, stay foolish”?! Pff. Amateur. “Stay sober, stay loud, stay real“. Just like Seattle.

Oakland, CA and Mt. Shasta

Destination Unknown

June 12, 2019

I slept in Oakland, CA close to San Francisco, so I could at least spend a little more time in the Bay Area and call it a day. Around 4AM I started packing and moving, thinking of hitting the gym with a free pass to work out a little bit, but most of all to get a free shower. The power to shower anytime, anywhere, guys, is so underestimated. Enjoy it when you have it. After having two gyms (oh yeah, because in the US some gyms are open 24/7 in case you did not know) turning me down despite the free pass request, only Planet Fitness let me in. A kind guy just input my data, said “no problem, go ahead” and I could finally run on the treadmill for a while, get some exercises done —like I am used to do during my boxing classes, and I was content. Shower and all, I was ready to go at 6AM. Oh the things you can accomplish when you wake up that early, but most of all when you don’t even sleep much. Fantastic!

Instead of opting to drive right away, I wanted to spend some more time there, so for today I’ve decided to have breakfast at Starbucks, my favorite place to chill, free wifi, you can charge your phone, your computer, you can use the restroom… and my app is always collecting points to get rewards so… at a certain point I get free drinks and that’s cool. I feel like Starbucks always has my back, despite not having many vegan options ( by the way, dear Mr. Starbucks, could you please add a vegan croissant to your menu? I swear it would be sold out everyday, big win, huge deal, please consider having it along with the other delicacies. Pretty please!). I found the closest to where the gym was and I drove there. I spent some time drinking my decaf mocha –remember I’ve been caffeine free since November 2018, while uploading photos on Instagram and posting on here to keep you all updated in case you were interested. Aaaand I also did it for myself to let out a few thoughts that were bugging me, probably even because I was sleep deprived or so.

Once my hair dried up and the post was published, I was ready to go and pick my next stop: searching through the map I see that Mt. Shasta, a mountain my yogi friend Monica said “it would be a perfect place for you and your spiritual awakening”, is not too far so… let’s go. It is actually a dormant volcano; I wonder if I am that powerful enough to wake it up? Guess what? Of course not. Not only that, when I finally find the visitor center at Mt. Shasta city, and ask for info on how to get to the mountain, the kind woman at the desk tells me that, being still covered in snow the hiking trails are mostly closed, but there are several others around the area, even down there from the Lake Siskiyou –she points South, where you can get a clear and pretty view of the peak and you can take pictures. Nicely said woman, you got me at pretty views. Too bad the sky was a little overcast so the photos did not turn out particularly nice, adding to that my total inexperience in photography… and the die is cast. But who cares really, when I could see with my own eyes this place that many today consider a point of convergence of significant global powers, making it a destination for many New Age, Spiritual retreats.

I am not sure if it was because of the fact I haven’t slept much, or because for the first time in my life I went to the gym at 5 AM, or simply because by chance the only radio station I could “receive” started playing songs I used to listen to in my teenage years and early twenties, if it was the power of Mt. Shasta trying to talk to me through the only tool I trust, music… but the mind-fuck I experienced today I can honestly say it is one of a kind. The rollercoaster of feelings I’ve been going through for less than a week now might have screwed me up a little, and pardon my French but it is actually the only way I can describe this weird status I felt trapped in when these songs started playing on the radio. In my own weird way I always believe there is some kind of message in the random songs I can listen to throughout the day, ergo I prefer having the radio on instead of pairing my iPod with the stereo. (Although, even my iPod is set in a way that songs shuffle randomly without me picking them!)

I was tired, it was so hot outside, I needed a nap, I wanted to go up the mountain and I couldn’t, I found myself a spot in a disperse campground and tried to nap. You all know those dreams you have when you are so drained that you easily fall asleep in the REM phase but it feels like you are still awake or something, right? You are still aware of everything going on around you, but at a certain point you are actually sleeping, or at least dreaming. Ok well, this to say it happened to me. I mean, it’s nothing new, at least in my case, but it happened right here, today that I’m close to this place, where people think I could find some “spiritual help” and these “visions” come to me as if to say “haaa, loser let’s play with your feelings”! Well, very well, thanks Universe or thank you to whomever this may concern. All those songs playing took me back in time, the memories messed up with my dreams, a whole mess that ended up in myself feeling strangely weird, wanting someone close to me in this moment, because I cannot be here alone, I need to share this with someone. Well, too bad, because I am here alone and no one can change that. Blame the songs. Among many others, I was tortured with Seven Mary Three’s Cumbersome, songs from Hinder, Bush, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Three Days Grace, Vertical Horizon, Switchfoot … but also Linkin Park from the very beginning with Crawling that really made my heart skip a beat, and eventually the last straw I think was when Stinkfist came on air and I blacked out. Seriously? Tool? Now? With these words, the meaning behind the lyrics? Oh holy cow that was intense. Blast the music in the car and forget about the world. Done.

Realizing that the life I am living now is a hundred thousand years, far away from the life I was imagining in my early twenties was hard. I wanted something completely different back then, but not only that, I was doing something different, something I can’t even imagine doing now that I am wandering around this small part of the world, alone. I remembered the smell from those days, every single note of every single song was attached to one of my senses. I could see things from the past, I could still feel the touch, the taste, the sounds, everything, all around me. Just like “yesterday”. The colors and the lights, the way people moved their hands and talked to me. I felt.it.all.back.again. The pain I suffered, the joy I lived, and I recalled the exact moments when I was listening to those specific songs in different places in the North-Eastern regions of Italy, and I felt sick inside. I am not that person anymore. Just like the people I was sharing those moments of my life with are not the same people anymore. We changed and that’s fine. I just want to know why fate, destiny, Mt. Shasta, whatever, have decided to take it all back out here today. Here. Go figure! I still like the same music, duh. Music is forever, but I have to exorcise those sounds now, so that next time I hear them, they do not necessarily take me back to that bittersweet time of my life, or if they do, they don’t screw with my mind so much. And to find some peace of mind and rest, I got myself a motel room in Yreka, a few miles away from Mt. Shasta City, a small folkloric town where I could finally… sleep.

Good things fall apart

Destination Unknown

June 7, 2019

“…I guess that sometimes good things fall apart” plays while getting in the car after my second to last session at Los Feliz Boxing (song by Illenium with Job Bellion). I will miss listening to KROQ radio (106.7 in LA and Orange County) while on the road, but I will survive. When I went to visit the building where the radio stations are I was surprised seeing what they had over there: a little Wonderland place, with Gumball machines, neon lights and more. It’d be total fun working in there. I guess Spotify will have my back in the meantime. Anyway, there’s always music playing at the gym and sometimes the playlists our trainers pick to lead our practice are completely in line with my taste, so I dance, I jump, I shuffle, I sing… all while punching a bag or following instructions. At a certain point during today’s class, my instructor looked at me and said, I guess in a joking way: “pff, weirdo”, and I could not help but laugh. I am pretty positive he was saying so in a funny way, because it is far from being an insult to me. Call me weirdo, call me crazy, I dig it. I am honestly glad to be called a weirdo because that means that people finally see me as someone –or something, different, and I cannot care less if their opinion is judgmental or appreciative. I’m just cool with that and I am actually kind of proud too. Sometimes I recall the pain I felt, as an adolescent who was trying to fit in and did so many silly things just to be “like them”, to be included, to be seen. Silly goose. I should have kept on being the outcast, the girl who’s always smiling, the whatever they wanted to call me… because I did not care, until they made me care.

While walking through the streets of west side Burbank, but also while driving down to Hollywood, I find myself getting lost in memories that eventually lead to plans, to ideas really, that I have, and I just let them free, to go out there, to the Universe, because apparently I basically can do pretty much nothing about or with them, as they’re either not doable or simply tagged as Laura’s ideas, which is a trademark to say “yeah, it would be nice if only someone could sponsor it”. I was trying to find a way to post things starting Sunday, so that people, you, can see it and read it while keeping track of this adventure, but I did not want to do something already seen. Unfortunately I still haven’t found the right formula to make this whole project look appealing to most, but to be fair, I am content with those few friends who told me they look up to me because I have and had the balls to do things they could never do. They said they see the world through my eyes because they cannot leave or travel and they thank me for that. How amazing is this? I feel honored to be the one who shows them those little corners of the world they may never see in person (although I wish for them to be able to do it one day!!) and this always takes me back to when my grandma used to tell me: “Go, go, see the world and send me a postcard so I can see it too!” –yeah postcards. Remember those little photos on paperboard we used to mail before emails showed up? I was never the one writing only “Greetings from xyz-London” because my postcards would be open letters that the mail person could read if they wanted to, and I could not care less, because I had no secrets. I used to write down whatever I was feeling at the moment, while sending a message to a family member or a friend, no filters, no maximum characters to be used.

All this to say that I’ve come up with the idea of journaling twice. Yes, yes, no worries, I won’t bother posting everything on the internet: one part of the journey will be written on paper. Or better, later on it will be printed on paper, at least. Because, honoring my grandmas, although none of the two are here to read me, I have decided to report things on a more personal and deep level so that they will be read only by those speaking my native language. Those who are living on the other side of the planet, beyond this horizon and the Atlantic ocean, who had little to no chance to see the world, but are capable of traveling with their minds while reading through what is offered to them in words, picturing different worlds and scenarios. I will try to be as detailed as possible, following that amazing style I once had to study to write my dissertation back in the days; a style that belongs to Mary Austin and the way she talked about Southern California in my beloved book The Land of Little Rain. What I see, what I hear, what I smell, what I feel… will all be documented for those who want to get a sense of what it is like to be hitting the road, with nothing left to lose.

Beautiful Disaster

Destination Unknown

June 5, 2019

Today seems like a good day to burn a bridge or two, the one with old wood creaking that would burn away right on cue. I try to be not like that but some people really suck. Some people need to get the axing chalk it up to bad luck. I know a drugstore cowgirl so afraid of getting bored, she’s always running from something so many things ignored, I might do that stuff if it didn’t make me feel like shit, I’m on some old reality tip so many trips in it… Beautiful disaster, flying down the street again…” Never heard of this song? Ugh. At least google it. 311, Beautiful Disaster. It is one of my favorites and you can find it on my Memories Playlist on Spotify. Why do I have this song in mind right now, I don’t know, but it definitely fits the mood.

Have you ever seen that image someone has been posting on Facebook walls, Instagram profiles and whatsoever, where there’s someone in need of help and then there’s someone else acting like they are trying to help, without actually doing it? Wait let me see if I can find it. Ok, here it is:

Image result for some people act like they are trying to help you

Not sure where this comes from, so if the copyright belongs to anybody please claim it, the only thing I can do is saying I do not own the copyright for this image. Ptss. Internet.

Ok, so the point is, nothing better than this image can represent what’s been going on, I don’t want to say my whole life, but at least let me say the past few years, and lately more than ever. Don’t get me wrong, I am not an ungrateful bitch who cannot see when someone actually is trying or has tried to help, sometimes even successfully doing so –I am honestly really deeply thankful to these people and they (you) know who they (you) are so thank you from the bottom of my heart for every-single-thing you did. Family, friends, sometimes even strangers managed to make my day in ways that are not possibly explainable in words. Oftentimes these same people are helpful by simply existing in my life and rotating in my orbit, so much so that I don’t even think I deserve them, but here they still are. Thank you. Grazie. Obrigada… I can say it in all the languages in this world, but I guess the universal one is love, so I’ll try and show you how much I appreciate you all by simply keeping on loving you.

…but then, just like the song goes: some people really suck, although, I have to be honest and praise their efforts, because most of the times it’s just this innate tendency of humans that comes out. They think they are trying to help so they can feel good about themselves and say “well, at least I tried, it was xyz not accepting my help” or something like that. Yeah. Thank you very much. So let me tell you what. Every time you offer a minimum wage job to adults (not so young anymore) who have years of experience in a thousand different fields, in several places all over the world, who have already done all those “entry level jobs” over and over again, who have paid their dues a very long time ago and for a very long time… so again, every time you offer the least you could offer to these people, would you actually accept it yourself? Would you be happy to be treated like someone who has nothing better to give for now, because “at least it is something to start with?” I mean, again? For the umpteenth time!? Because “you have to start somewhere!” Yes, when you just got out of college and you need to get your hands dirty, maybe. Just think about it. Would you still accept compromises? How would your self-respect react? And read again! I mentioned self-respect, not ego nor pride, those are two total different things. One implies for you to know what your worth is and when you’re friggin’ tired of being underestimated, these so called “supporters” or “people who are trying to help” can go help someone else. Just to be polite. What they’re doing is exactly what that drawing up there shows: they lend a hand pretending they’re doing their best to take you out of your misery, but they are not actually passing the ladder to you, which would actually make you climb out of your hell. But then again, are they aware of it? I mean, do they know deep inside that what they’re doing is not helping anyone at all if not their ego? Just asking for a friend.

More so, when at the end of the day, you dared to say no, thank you, oh-hell-no-what-did-you-do then you can’t complain because “I tried to help but you declined”. You mean like when you offered me to stay at your pool house for free while I could go job hunting but still living in a decent place, so that if I had to keep my things clean and neat I could go to job interviews acting like I have my shit together and I can push to get some more of what they’re offering? Oh wait, no, not that, because THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED! Instead, “I found a room where you could live for a while, it’s very very small, in the middle of nowhere, but it’s cheap and you know, the struggle is real, at least at the beginning, but you need to start somewhere, right? At least it’s something!” You live in a town house, with a yard, dogs, cats, cars, a pool, probably a maid, who knows… but you would want someone else to “start somewhere” like the place you just cheeringly found -for- them? Would you go live there? Be honest. No, you would not. So please, please for God’s sake you all doing this, even if with the best intentions, please stop acting like you are trying to help others because you are not. I am sorry to be raw and real but face the truth for once.

I swear, this is NOT to be ungrateful, at all. I am thankful for all of you out there supporting me in any possible way that you can, I see you, I thank you, I know who you are, where you are, what you do. And in some weird and twisted way I am also thankful for those mentioned above who believe they’re doing their best at helping but … whatever. I am referring to “the others”, those I am sure you know too and you met at least once in your life as well, and you just thought: oh they’re so kind and they’re trying to help… but if you look further, just one word comes in our head: really? Well, I know this society is so fucked up that eventually even this whole post, rant, message, whatever, will be misunderstood and taken in the wrong way, but you know what? Who cares. At least I put it out there. Take it or leave it, because after all, quoting 311 again, I am “a butterfly in the wind without a care, a pretty train crash to me and I can’t care, I do, I don’t, whatever!!!

It’s a very, very… Mad World

Destination Unknown

June 3, 2019

It sings: all around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces. Bright and early for their daily races, going nowhere, going nowhere. Their tears are filling up their glasses, no expression, no expression. Hide my head, I want to drown my sorrow, no tomorrow, no tomorrow… I don’t know why this songs keeps playing in my head this morning. Probably, walking the dog despite my routes always changing because I cannot go through the same itinerary twice, reminded me of all those times people started recognizing me on the streets while living around the world, and this gives me mixed feelings. Being a nobody in the middle of other nobodies makes me feel fine, but when you go to the grocery store and you stumble on your neighbor, or you go to Ikea and you see a couple that for some unfortunate reason you see again miles away while working at a random place, or… well, long story short, when this world seems to small for words, my inner self starts screaming and I can hear it loud and clear: move!!! Now!

Yes because “el mundo es un pañuelo” but damn, sometimes I can’t even. Going around in circles doing the same things over and over again, every single day, wake up, walk the dog, check the mail, do this, do that, walk the dog, go to bed… is simply not my cup of tea. It may be related to that sort of trauma I got when I watched “The Truman Show” when I was 14 (if you can’t relate getattahere) but I cannot really explain why “routine” just gives me some sort of anxiety. Honestly I do not even associate it with consistency, that’s something else, and I noticed it as soon as I started this “boxing practice” which you have to pursue constantly in order to see results. For instance, I do not hit the gym every day at the same time. I tend to vary at least the time of the classes I take, the streets I walk on (or drive) to get to the place, even the bottle of water I use. I mean, just something different every day. I need diversity, I need changes, I need d-i-f-f-e-r-e-n-t-i-a-t-i-o-n.

This may be another reason why, when everyone said “you’re crazy, you can’t start this project driving that car! It’ll leave you stranded. At least get an actual van!” I just passed it over. Van life right? Ugh no. Also, it’s a she, thank you very much. I’ve seen so many people remodeling buses, vans, old Volkswagen and all, and they are super cute, cannot deny it, but very few can say they traveled around with a normal car, old but gold, with innumerous miles on her “back” and still going. My 2006 Toyota Sienna –gifted to me by an old friend of mine, for which I am so thankful for, will be my conveyance, my four-wheeled chariot, my temporary “home”. All objections: overruled. It’s silver, I mean she is silver, she has scratches and bumps, yes. Just like my scars. She is still running, no matter those lights turning on (and off as they please apparently -yay engine check, take that, in your face!) but until they’re red lights (dad said) I can just keep going, and most of all, it has room for all my stuff, myself included. Folding seats in, piling thing up as in that famous Tetris game, and we’re game. Love you Sienna, remember that.

I still don’t know where I am going, how long it will take me, what I am supposed to do, so stop asking questions, go with my flow, expect the unexpected and enjoy the ride. Follow me if you fancy, if not, I’ll get that too. One week from now I should be able to show you some visuals as well, hopefully even sooner than that but the weather is not helping. We’ll see. That’s all I can say for now because I genuinely do not have other information, details nor plans. At all. Today was supposed to be sunny and beautiful. It started overcast and rough. Meh. Let’s all be nice to each other and keep going. Maybe something nice will come out of it. Maaaad worlddddd.