A place in the world

Publish date 25-12-2023

by Redazione Sermig

I have traveled a lot during my life, I have been almost everywhere, I don't remember how many planes I took and how many people I met but one thing is certain: if I had to start all over again, I would follow the same path, the path of dreams to find my place in the world. It's not a physical place, it's more of a dimension. There are moments when happiness resonates within us and it is that vibration that we must always seek, because it is the only thing that depends on us. The shape of happiness is made of small, imperceptible things that form our map, our path to follow. For me it has always been travel and photography that showed me the way. It is no coincidence that the most important people in my life are linked to one of these two things or both.

Each of us has our own place in the world and it is important to seek it, continuously without settling. It's not always easy to find it, and it doesn't mean that the right one for everyone is also the right one for us.

On the internet there are stories of incredible people who decided to give up everything and leave, like the story of Giorgio Bettinelli, an Italian traveler who toured the whole world on his Vespa. In the book In Vespa from Rome to Saigon he recounts his first 24 thousand kilometers travelled. And it's just the beginning because Giorgio, after that experience, decides not to stop and to travel the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and then continue his pilgrimage around the world until he arrives in China where he decides to move definitively together with his Taiwanese partner. But life can sometimes reserve some surprises and Giorgio dies of a sudden illness at just 53 years old.

Giorgio began traveling at just 14 years old, hitchhiking as was common in the late 1960s, reaching Copenhagen starting from Crema. The following year he repeated the experience by hitchhiking to Tunisia. At 17 he decided to undertake what he calls "my first trip", reaching India with the Magic Bus, a very popular means of transport among the hippies of those years, a low-cost coach that connected London to India driving along the legendary Hippie Road.

His books remain to us to bear witness to this full, albeit short, life, where he tells us what he saw but also what inexorably changed within him during his travel experiences.

To those who asked him what he felt at the end of each adventure, he always replied that "the feeling of euphoria lasts very little and immediately gives way to nostalgia and the desire to start again". A phrase of his, which became famous among travellers' communities, said «The present is much more alive in the future, when it has already passed». Giorgio managed to find his place in the world by doing two things that he has always loved since he was a boy, writing and travelling. Giorgio's Vespas are kept in the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera (PI).

Roberto Cristaudo

NP Novembre 2023

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