I still remember the first time I flew on a plane. It was also the very first time I left Sardinia, since I had never had the chance to travel before. My dad was taking me to Spain, Soller to be precise, on the island of Mallorca. I was twelve years old and I had an incredible desire go on different journeys all over the world.
When I was a little child I used to spend hours looking at the sky and imagining I could touch the clouds that in my mind were as soft and sweet as cotton candy. I traveled with my mind, I dreamt of discovering new places and I thought that the train that I watched so many times stopping at the station, down the street from house, could take me in any corner of the earth. I wouldn’t have gone too far riding at thirty miles per hour on the Sardinian trains but I could have known that? How could have known that there are oceans to navigate, mountains to climb and borderlines to cross?
I kept travelling with my mind reading the books that my dad bought for me: Gulliver’s travel and his fantasy world, in the Canadian’s snow and ice fields with White Fang or along the Mediterranean shores with Edmond Dantes, better known as The Count of Montecristo. Later on there was Sandokan, the handsome prince and the far countries of India and Malaysia, Heidi in between the Alps and Germany, Oliver Twist and London, Tom Sawyer and the even farer Missouri. But the very first fantasy trip I went on took place when I was nine years old while reading a Mickey Mouse’s strip. I can’t quite recall the exact story, but I vaguely remember something about Uncle Scrooge, about a magical place and his voyage to get to Machu Picchu. That’s when I fell in love with it and in my mind this is still a mysterious and enchanted site.
The years go by though, we become adults and we need to take responsibilities for what we do: school first, then the search for a job to become independent from my family, a house and the bills that come with it, the rules to be followed to become part of society and many other things that make me lock all my dreams in a drawer and forget where I hide the key. I’ve never been like the other girls and while my peers dreamt of a husband and a beautiful home where to raise their kids, I dreamt of coming to America and thousands adventures more. There have been times when I asked myself if I were ‘normal’, I wonder why I could not get excited thinking of a family of my own, a good job and a nice paycheck to take home at the end of the month. Sure, I’ve worked very hard at any job I’ve had, whether I was working as a babysitter, a salesperson, as a waitress or managing an office with forty people. But somewhere, there was still the drawer with all the things I had always long for inside.
I kept travelling though and since I could not do it as often as I wanted to, I traveled through my friends’ stories and their pictures every time they came back from a trip; via internet, watching TV shows, and more than that, I often traveled in my dreams. Time is relentless and time is not forgiving. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today. So I quit my job and I gave up a sure income to follow my dreams. Some people called me crazy, some wished me good luck, some are worried and some told me they envy me for finding the courage to drastically change my life. Yet, I‘ve never been happier, with not even a doubt nor a regret for my decision. Maybe I’m just careless about what it’s going to be tomorrow, without any form of income for the time being, but I only have one life to live and I want to live it at its fullest, doing the things I’ve always wanted to do. And within those things, there’s still the dream of a nine years old girl that wants to see Machu Picchu. I haven’t been able to go to that side of the world yet but I promise myself this is something I will achieve by the end of next year. But I’ve seen Machu Picchu lately, in the pictures that my friend took when she was there not too long ago and each image was a sigh, each detail a joy. I stole those pictures from her, the pictures of my very first trip even if just through my fantasy and once again I fall in love with it.
I just found the key to my drawer again.