Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

RE-Departure: the traveller of "tomorrow" and adrenaline rush

We are stuck. Stop with tourism, stop with racing, walking, trekking and sport. Stop with our social relationships, those made of hugs, kisses, dinners, but also of gyms, meetings and conferences.

What never stops these days are thoughts. As the desire for small things grows, our dreams are also put to the test. It is as if staying in our homes, with the weight of what is happening around us, with the impotence of being able to do nothing but be loyal in behaving as they tell us to do, limits our "desire to fly ”, to dream, at least mine.

But it is from small things, as weeks and months passing by and flower blossoming, that we realize that the world goes on and that sooner or later we will leave home to get back on track.

We will return to go out, we will do it with different precautions and ways, but we will return. We will want to do everything that until now has not been possible: we will walk more and we will do it with the desire to get away from home; we will run more and with a greater sense of freedom because, like hamsters, we did it in the treadmills of our homes, in solitude, in very small courtyards or in parking lots under houses.

So here is the sense (and desire) of freedom that a thought of great distances gives us. If we divert our thoughts towards future paths, rediscovering or giving life to a dream, we will feel a sense of freedom even at home, a positive energy that will be given to us by the idea that our mind can begin to travel kilometres and kilometres.

We are firm, but we can react to the thought of re-departure. In running or on the road, when you are forced to stop, for external causes that do not depend on you, during a workout, when you are preparing to reach a goal, it can happen that even when everything is fine "... puff", a moment and STOP. For external causes, independent from us or not, you must stop. Here the difference, as well as a dose of "good luck", is the speed in which you overcome what has happened to you, the morale and the determination with which you face what brought you to a stop.

You can resign yourself: cry till the end of tears and despair. But nothing will happen. Or react within the limits of your body or the context around you. Recalibrate the goal, change the approach to things and re-start. Our new journey begins from the moment our mind decides to re-start.

And here the mere thought loads me with adrenaline: I am at home, at most on the terrace, yet at this moment, if I close my eyes, the walls fall down as if they were made of cardboard. Around me I "see" flowery meadows, rows of cypresses, woods, a blue sky and gradually other walkers in the colourful shirts. New travellers, those of re-departure.

Here's what I dedicate my thoughts of today: to adrenaline rush of a thought of getting back on the road and to the traveller of tomorrow.

The wayfarer of tomorrow will have an even lighter backpack, because we all understand, some for the first time, that you can really live with few things. The futile and useless stuff will remain home, as we will travel only with essentials. The new traveller, more than before, understands a value of real and non-virtual relationships. People and social relationships will find an important role during the journey of the new traveller. Few things brought from home in a small backpack, but with a desire to meet many people along a great distance of paths. The new wayfarer will thirst for social relationships. He will continue to travel alone, to search for himself, etc., but he will want (and perhaps need) a greater sociality than has happened in the past.

We have been alone for too long and distance is a physical barrier to which we have had to adapt, for our well-being of tomorrow. Not sharing, it has weighed on us. During his journey, the new wayfarer will seek more moments of encounter than he had in the past: at the end of the stage, during the stage, in a stop under the shade of a plant. He will speak more, he will listen more. #ionellaFrancigenavorrei #IWantOnFrancigena

I keep my eyes closed, my fantasy flies, my desires take shape. Here's what I want. At the end of the stage, in hostels, in accommodation facilities where the new traveller will seek rest and refreshment, I would like moments of sociability. Those who know me, know that my best projects for the Via Francigena were born from almost impossible visions, lucid follies. Here is a new one: why not setting up something structured for meeting opportunities and then spontaneously shaping and becoming real? A kind of #FrancigenaEincontri #FrancigenaANDmeetings. It is easy and gives us a plan for the future.

The idea for the next season of walking #ionellaFrancigenavorrei: from the day "x" when we will go back to walking, at 6 pm in the evening along the Via moments of socialization, of meeting. We’ll end the time of virtual aperitifs on all tech platforms, let us now dedicate ourselves to real encounters. An hour of our "francigena time" dedicated to the meeting. We would have left the songs in the balconies behind us at the same time. We live a moment of meeting in a physical space away from home, with real people. Along the Francigena, at the same time. Maybe we won't have a song in common, but we will share a desire for discovery, to move forward, the determination to make it and many stories.

#FrancigenaEincontri: new travellers will know, small communities could organize themselves or simply be part of it. In a choral way then it will happen day after day throughout the journey. At the beginning with few, but then perhaps with many. Few things, but real. There were moments of socialization, of stories before old or new friends. Moments of sharing. We give birth to a beautiful thing from a bad thing.

The path will be that experience that focuses on our time, relationships, small local communities, products and people, who will enrich a journey of our lives.

After forced cohabitations or forced distances between people, the journey will help to regain the freedom of large spaces and will give us new encounters and relationships. The number of people who will have a sustainable approach to things, travel, food, handmade products will increase and it will not be for pride or patriotic spirit, but for a sense of belonging to a community that perhaps we had set aside. We will leave from home with a desire to experience the territory and places, that’s why possibilities are endless.

We have already forcedly (re) appropriated the concept of "slowness", we will re-start giving a new meaning to "lightness", with greater attention to small things and towards heritage and environment that surrounds us. Values ​​that the journey has always brought along, the new wayfarers will see with  new eyes.

Sonia Pallai, tourism and territorial marketing expert

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