Archives for category: out there

I am your seat neighbor on the plane, the one who won’t talk to you for the whole eight hours flight, since I am too busy sleeping. Don’t you doubt, I did the same on the last flight, and I will do the same on my next one. I sometimes read a bit, in a language you don’t usually know (no use in being nosy here), but just because they’re about to serve us dinner, or lunch, or get us to disembark the hell out of here. Today I broke my record: fell asleep before taking off, woke up after landing, with some quick parenthesis (food, feeling cold, feeling hot, being asked to close the window, to open it, close it again).

Shamelessly, I now look forward to my flight time, to recoup the lost sleep, and I don’t mind the usual rush of work and projects just before my departure anymore, since I know I’m going to have 20 hours all by myself (I’ll just ignore you, remember?) to sleep my face out of my skull.

When I first started being a serious traveller (thanks to, who helped me become the woman I am now) I had a lot of plans for my many hours on a plane (I started being a traveler when I decided I was going to the other side of the world, none less), thinking and reading and working and writing… I can’t remember when I started purging all of those tasks, one by one, from my list, until now.
To be honest, I do feel my eyes burning a bit, as if they were about to fall off my face, and can’t really say I’d be 100% productive if asked to perform a complex task, but, still, it’s now dinner time, I’ve landed at 6 am, I’ve almost made it, I’m not jet-lagged anymore. I’m in Africa…


One place I visit has a room all for me, one has a mattress on the floor, one a vintage couch, one is a shared dorm where a loud snorer sleeps right near me. I poke his toes after asking him to turn around and be quiet, he’ll just assume a fetal position so that I can’t poke him anymore: he’s won and celebrates with his triumphant fanfare of snores.

One place is a hot city, golden and blissful; one is a wet place on the alps, too fresh for what I’ve packed; one is the countryside full of flowers, sunny days and cool nights; one is muggy, hot, sticky: when did I forget how much I hate humid heat in dusty towns?

One day I wake up and understand all the movies in a language I never studied, the next day I sound American to my neighbor Spanish fellows, humiliated I realize I can’t speak at all, that day, and I just lock myself indoors until the menstrual aphasia has gone or, rather, when my host looks at me a bit worried, a bit annoyed.

One day I decide to post in English, and miss the sounds of my invented words in Italian, how they sound in my mind and on the keyboard, their silliness, their rhythm and sound. Sometimes everything is easy, and I love Europe, and I love the world as well but want to come back to Europe; some other times everything is complicated and I feel like a stranger no matter where I go; most times I have to make my home inside my skin first, and renovate it every morning.

One week after the other I sweat my minerals off in the hottest summer of the century in northern Italy, then, suddenly, I am back in Oz, in the cold, windy and wet winter, where the promise of warmth and proximity was only a nice story told to entertain the entertainers, and I struggle on my bike while trying to keep my nose on my face, frozen, and my eyes open, watery.

I think I want to be in Berlin, then I remember why I love Melbourne so much, I just look and can’t believe how much beauty there is around; I’d need a whole life only to sit around and take it all in, notice the noteworthy and admire the admirable. I want to take it slowly but never really let myself stop in the present moment because I am sick and there is a lot to do before next trip, and I have little energy and have to spend it well, not just being and feeling, but well, productively, ouch.

One day I start a blog post and write and write, then get lost and leave it for five minutes, that become two months. One day I think I’d like to be cool and cynical and sarcastic, powerful in my shiny shell of beliefs and self-definitions, but I always remember that I am actually courageous and tired, so I rest a bit then come back to the exploration, to all the places and languages I’ve chosen to belong to, to the skills I’ve assembled in myself to make the journey smooth and functional, to the garden of emotions that is blossoming new ideas, to myself, to my friends, and to this blog.

I landed in Shanghai two weeks and a half ago, I was wearing my beloved black Camper shoes, the ones that make me look like a clown.

I had being teased for weeks by Trugglet for not being able to make up my mind on which footwear to pack for my European trip: I am also going back to Italy, where people are going to decide whether I’ve turned into a barbarian by examining the way I eat, what I wear, but, especially, my shoes.

I took them off for a quick nap in the airport, already regretting the heavy leather, unsuitable for a mediterranean summer, or so I thought. Spora welcomed me in Paris and took me home on her Vespa, shaking her head at the sight of shoe pair #2, an uncanny and unoriginal duo of black flats, which made me very tired of walking on the hard ground in and around the Marais and the Centre Pompidour.

It was then with a great deal of genuine relief that I finality upgraded to a pair of high heeled leather sandals, to drive which I still have to get a proper licence after a bit of professional training with Spora, who now does it as a full time job: teaching how to walk on high heels without killing yourself, without making a fool of yourself but, most of all, with elegance, femininity and ease.

My new sandals needed: an inner patch on the sides to avoid trimming my little toe, further holes on their ankle belt, proper paraffin soles to avoid constant slipping and sudden death. Two chores out of three have been accomplished, the most important task, though, the sole remaking, is still pending. Shoe repairers in Provence (my trip goes on, good bye Spora and UnaSnob, hello family) couldn’t be bothered.

I don’t like risking death, though, so, for now, I am wearing:

  • shoe pair #4, another pair of Camper, white, summery and (clownishly) light or
  • shoe pair #5, beautiful french silver Bocage sandals, 8 cm heels, bought in Melbourne (I know, it doesn’t make any sense).

The latter are very silverish, have very low back strap (it always ends up under my heel) and, if worn without (black, matte, please, of course) stockings, still give me blisters.

Ah, blisters, the curse of the soft-skinned, the summer plague, the exit from Eden. You, woman, shall walk in pain until the end of time. Half of the shoes sold out there slice my feet even if I only think of wearing them, the others are more subtle, and deceiving: they pretend to be well built and soft, only to start rubbing and blistering and hurting when it’s too late, I’m in the middle of my day, can’t go back and am almost bleeding.

Camper shoes give me a temporary relief, the day after a violently blistering episode, but I need sandals, so I explore Annecy’s centre (goodbye family, hello animation festival) and get black sandals, a bit of heel, beautiful design, THE pair of shoes of my life. I know, I say it every time, of every house I rent, of every boyfriend I fall for, of every pair of shoes I get: now I don’t need to look any further, this will be forever, I feel I can be myself here, I feel this is perfect for me, it feels so good… oh, wait, it’s hurting a bit now, OUCH! Blisters again, blisters, every time.

When my skin recovers while my heart is still convalescent I go for another quest: dear Annecy,would you please find me a pair of traveller’s sandals, flat, easy, chic?. They have to be: both thongs and sandals, because I have broad and thin feet and I always slip out of shoes; wearable with mostly everything I own, no decorations, please, no odd colours; just a good pair of shoes to take me to places in summer, please. Something I can wear with a skirt, run and walk a lot in, something nice and simple. Is that too much to ask? Of course not.

Meet shoe pair #7 (gosh): brown leather, flat, beautiful sandals. Slippery, yes. A bit hard, oh well. So nice, though… Finally. Quite a bit hard, though, ouch. I wear them with the oldest item in my suitcase, a white sleeveless dress, perfect outfit for staying at the outdoors screening of Aardman’s Pirates, during a rain storm, under a little umbrella, wrapped in a cotton scarf, watching an unsubtitled film in French, a wonderful language I’ve pretended I can speak and understand for almost two weeks now.

There’s nothing better than a lot of rain to tame hard and coarse leather sandals, though I have missed the black winter Camper that night, spending the second half of the screening sitting on my program booklet, barefooted because cold, wet leather can be very chilly, and I don’t want to get sick. Wondersandals are at my feet right now, on the train to Valencia, we are now friends.

They have passed the initiation process, a water flood similar to the one that took away the best pair of sandals I ever met in my life: white, supple leather thongs with a soft heel belt I had bought in a Japanese shop in Bali. I had added some black silk band to secure them around my ankles. We were divine together and I would walk for hours, everywhere, all the time in them. They died during a violent rainstorm in Melbourne, after my friend Bahar’s birthday, got too much water and pretty much disintegrated under my eyes.

One of my favourite shorts sense at Annecy’s festival last week was “Second hand“, a british short. A very fast paced, stressed out young professional would rescue his elderly, hoarding neighbours and be saved from his neurosis by them: they would take away his noisy, hard and squared black shoes and knit a soft, red pair of thick socks that would give him peace of mind and sweet dreams. My favourite shoes are all like that, but they also take me to places. They are means of transportation, not only jewellery, for me. And I love it so much that I can go anywhere, on my feet.