Why Italians don't travel?

Why Italians don’t travel?

“Where are you from?

Cool!! There aren’t many Italians around, you’re the first actually. I love Italy and I love your accent! ”

Typically my check ins at hotels and hostels always start like this. In front or behind me other backpackers talk to each other and very often they do it in German.
I haven’t met many Italians in more than a year of travel and the rare times that have happened I could count them on one hand.

Yet we Italians were known as the people of poets and travellers but leaving the poets aside for the moment (I leave this work to a literary critic), of whom I’m no longer even sure there are any praiseworthy examples left, what happened to the travellers?
In theory everyone wants to travel but no one does it. Something is blocking you from leaving for a more or less long period which obviously exceeds the two weeks of holidays.
Speaking with backpackers I met around the world, but also exchanging life opinions with my friends at the time of my stay in London, I simply came to the conclusion that ours is predominantly a cultural boundaries.
And cultural blocks are worse than physical ones.

In Jamaica I met a girl in a wheelchair who was touring Central America and the Caribbean in the company of a friend of hers, little money, a backpack and a bed in a hostel dormitory.
Which Italian parent would let their disabled daughter go around the world?
In general, which Italian parent would let their child go around the world for a few months, sleeping in hostels, eating who knows what on the street and moving around using Nicaraguan public transport?
All you have to do is cross the border and the Alps to discover points of view that are profoundly different from those made in Italy.

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Marco Polo

Italia VS Nord Europa

After finishing high school or university abroad, the reward for good results is a ticket around the world or a few months in distant countries where otherwise we would not go in the future, once those responsibilities that derive from work come into our lives, family, age.
We, on the other hand, begin to feel these responsibilities even before we really need or experience them.

The running for a permanent job in particular it is something that limits our horizons. It is also true that nowadays in Italy leaving one’s job could be translated as a low probability of finding another one, but it has not always been so and yet this “fixed job obsession” has always been and continues to be the life motive of Italian families.
In some ways it was also the usual song in my house, a song in which I have never taken part, in fact, in which I have always gone out of tune.

Without talking about the legendary 30 years. At this age everyone expects to see you married with children, a mortgage to pay and if lucky behind a bank.

The family, however beautiful and united, can be a big limitation. Big Italians who stay at home until they are 35 despite having the economic ability to become independent explain our way of thinking well. At home we feel good, we are protected and mum is happy to have us around too when she complains about how messy we are.
In addition to the fact that there is this false myth that once you leave home things can only be dangerous. And our mothers would want everything for us except to throw us into this filthy and dangerous world.

But the fast car, they give it to us as soon as we turn 18. What’s the difference between speeding in a car and taking a night bus that crosses the border between El Salvador and Hondorus? There is no chance of losing your life at the border. And if there are, they are so low that they shouldn’t even be considered.

In short, it is difficult to break away from one’s own cultural habits and from families who even today, instead of pushing us towards independence, do everything possible to keep us attached. A Oedipus complex nationwide.

But if there aren’t many Italian backpackers around the world (there are some), I must also admit that I’ve noticed another phenomenon.
We don’t travel, meaning moving from one place to another continuously, but we pack our bags and leave directly. We migrate.
So if you don’t meet Italians in hostels it will still be easy to find Italian communities almost everywhere.
Australia e New Zeland they are full of them, but I have met Italians who live in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Honduras, Asia, New York. Everyone typically has a family member or Italian ancestry. We are paradoxically everywhere!

Yet even in this case, often these emigrants have moved physically but have never left the new country they now call home. They put down roots.
We move to places we don’t know but where perhaps we have friends who “can help us” find a job, find a home, with whom we can speak Italian. And from here communities are born, and Italians really are therefore and obviously specialize in Pizza, pasta and coffee.

Sometimes not even one precedes the transfer reconnaissance trip.
I remember when someone asked me through the blog which city in a certain country that I know quite well I preferred. He hadn’t been to any of the cities he asked me about. This person wanted to move and was throwing out names at random because the only thing he wanted was to leave. But how can you make such a drastic and impulsive decision based only on the judgment of someone you don’t know?
My answer was simple and concise: If I were honest I would leave and go and see what life is like there. If you like it, stay, if you don’t like it…well the world is big and there’s room for everyone, you just need to know how to look and be able to recognize the right one.

The culture in Northern European countries it’s the opposite in many cases.
The sense of family is not as deep-rooted as in Italy, children are encouraged to learn to take care of themselves. Mom and dad aren’t always there to have your back. Multiple languages ​​are spoken, English is a second language in most Northern European countries. In Holland everyone speaks English, even the elderly. Danes and Swedes seem to be native speakers. Languages ​​are studied from an early age. The films are not dubbed but are subtitled.

Furthermore the overseas experiences (abroad) are encouraged. Once university is over, we often leave, go to live in Europe and return home once a year, sometimes once every year and a half. Parents take a plane flight and go to visit their child on the other side of the world, because it’s something that can be done. No one is asking to do it on foot while dragging a 300-pound boulder.

Conclusions on Italians and travel

The reasons why we don’t travel enough and let me tell you we don’t know how to do it in my opinion can be traced back to the following main reasons:

  • Cultural limits. We just don’t do it, we don’t know anyone who does. This choice is NOT normal. This is what we believe and why we don’t dare.
  • We don’t speak languages and therefore we don’t know what happens outside. Millions of kids do it all the time and we are certainly not the first, much less the only ones. Traveling around the world is no longer an out-of-the-ordinary experience. On the contrary. Today there are more people who have this type of ticket than those who don’t.
  • We believe that duty always and exclusively comes before pleasure (mortgage, permanent job, getting married early, having children). We should learn to enjoy life more and take ourselves less seriously. Life is one and opportunities never come again.
  • We are afraid of the world. We believe that the world is dangerous and that it is better to stay at home. On travel fears, I recommend the post “how to overcome the fears of traveling alone and for long periods”
  • We let the judgments of others overwhelm our will. We don’t want to seem crazy and we don’t want to hurt someone we love by giving up on our dreams (mom, dad, boyfriends, etc.)

Thus, after 15 months of travel, I find myself reflecting on myself, on us, on a country that I love, a language that I adore and a culture of which I am proud, but finding some dark aspects of our wanting to do things in words and then not doing them in deeds.

It’s a shame because the Italians around would brighten up the atmosphere and given our notoriety in the world and the love that everyone feels for us and our country we would be more the company that everyone wants rather than the one that everyone avoids.
People of poets and travellers? I doubt about it.
And to think that Rome had conquered the world….

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