#IDATRAVELSALONE: A solo world tour.

May a women do a world tour alone, aged 50?

I am going to try. In March, I am going to leave from Vienna for a trip all around the world, heading west. I am going to come back home in August from Corfu.

My idea was generated by chance when I came across in the story of Ida Pfeiffer, an extraordinary woman who, almost two centuries ago, aged 45, separated from her husband and with two grown children, decided to devote her life to travel. I read her books and I was fascinated by this tenacious, courageous and nonconformist woman, who when she was a child preferred by all means games with guns and swords than dollies and who, aged 12, turned her back to Napoleon. My project is to demonstrate how, even in the 1800, there were valuable women, while nowadays, in many cases, feminism is degenerated in an ephemeral and painful fight gender, bringing no solid result. In Italy, equality is that women work outside and in the house, whereas their husbands, at best, they “help them”; in Italy there is the chimera  of a useless linguistic equality and words are changed (“sindaco becomes “sindaca”), and a 31 years old woman suicides because her hot videos were posted online. For this reason, people think to have the right to accuse her, even after the suicide; in Italy, children suffer a “mental infibulations from good and clean hands, and they will never recover from this.

Now, Ida Pfeiffer and Tiziana Cantone inspired my project: a woman alone all around the world, to demonstrate that a woman can live alone, without a man supporting her and that she can live without sexist and falsely moralist prejudices, which are evident above all in the Italian society.

Of course, in this tour there is much more: there is the search for the true myself, my personal life project, which I necessarily have to do before it is too late, in an age when probably for many people is already, unfortunately, late. I know this, but I discovered that soon or later you have to face life and in a moment when all choices, made to adequate to a constituted system throw to you their ephemeral heaviness.

Ida who played with guns and mocked Napoleon, I will travel for the 40000 Km of the earth circumference,  to find her.


Also the journey to Vienna is fantastical: I start to ask myself whether this adventure has started under an unlucky star.

The nocturnal train departs with a delay of 2 hours let prognosticate nothing good.

However, the good is always to be looked for and I am obliged to do so if I want to continue this adventure.

And I find the good in my travelling companion: Matteo from Bologna who is going to Vienna for a conference.

So, the long hours on the train become enjoyable: we talk about our lives, and also the first impact with Vienna is simpler. In fact, we help each other with the first practical tasks, like two old friends travelling together.

Iris too is an unknown person, but she hosts me in her house. For the first time in my life I used couchsurfing: I knew that five months in hotel would have been impossible for economic reasons, I used couchsurfing and I trusted Iris. And it was a good choice: Iris’ house is in a crucial position and her couch is very comfortable!

The reason why my trip starts from Vienna is to know the places of Ida Pfeiffer, who was Viennese and from Vienna departed for her first trip around the world, which I am doing.

Petra Unger, a teacher well informed about Ida’s story, accompanies me in the exploration of Vienna.

I meet her in the national library, she is a beautiful and dynamic woman, perfect touristic guide, explaining in the details the story of Vienna and of the monuments we encounter.

She talks me about Ida Pfeiffer, about how she was a forerunner of the feminism, a mother who worked to gain money, in a time where women generally did not work.

We arrive to the house where Idea is dead, which is exactly in front of that where Beethoven composed the ninth symphony.

Hymn to joy.

Nothing happens casually.

Our walking concludes in a narrow and picturesque street, entitled to Ida Pfeiffer, Petra explains me that it was not easy to give the name to this street and to others entitled to women.

Before taking leave, Petra instructs me about how to find Ida’s grave and she explains me that the monument was realised thanks to the collect of women right after the death of the explorer. It is singular, again, that women only contributed to the realisation of this work.

I get the cemetery at the sunset, not without some anxiety I come in, but thanks to the indications I was given I easily find Ida’s tomb.

When the distress of being in a cemetery during the sunset vanished, I look around myself and I see the tombs of Bayer and Czerny, and inevitably I think to the thousands of hours spent to study piano, a whole life, a life ago

Only now I realize that I am in a monumental cemetery, I overcome every obstacle, I don’t care anymore of the dark and I explore. Since I am in Vienna in a monumental cemetery, I want to greet the great people who are here.

I find Strauss, Brahms, Schubert.

In reverent silence I approach the mausoleum of Beethoven, I patiently wait that the girl who is making a selfie with the tomb goes away, and all I can say is just “thank you”.

And thanks to Ida too who is accompanying me in this journey.

Nothing happens casually.

Cor e signor


Filomena is 16 years. She falls in love with a handsome young man who was singing “cor e signor” and she gets pregnant, then she marries.

However the baby was born dead.

Since that time, Filomena gives birth to 16 children, all af them living and growing healthy, in spite of poverty, war, disease.

One day, the young Philomena goes out to buy something and the alley people makes fun of her, holding her up as one that makes so many children. Since that time, Filomena has never left home. Throughout her life, her unique occupayion was to gice birth to children made fertile only children, and  not much more.

In this small airport I’m waiting for a plane that will transport me to Papeete.

It is the third one that I take in four days; I’m in Bora Bora, probably the furthest place from home in this my world tour.

My thoughts go to Filomena who lived her whole life at home. The story the glided in front. She experienced the time of two wars. During the second one she already had 8 sons and when the alarm sounded bombs just had to descend  the stairs that led into the cave. Mussolini reward her an award for giving children at Italy, but she doesn’t feel the need to go out to pick yhe prize, just look at it in the frame, and use the money to buy something. It wasn’t supposed to go out for shopping.

The days passed anyway, awaysl the same. You had to do a little laundry by hand and cook some beans, on Sundays the meat, grilled artichokes, and once a year kill the pig and another making the sauce for everyone among the joyful screams of children.

The world came to her. With the first television Filomena sees in that box there’s people talking with a strange ice cream in hand that never melts.

I had to call Filomena, like my grandmother, but my mother never wanted: why does she give her daughter a bad name just to honor a tradition?

My mother moaned for the Filomena’s lack of love, and I tried it personally. But between Filomena and me  two generations pass and I see in her a non-grown girl.

However I do think inside of her, she wanted to go out and explore the world beyond the vico Miciano. I saw her eyes the only 3 times that is out of the house. My dad brought Filomena yo the theater: tosee la traviata at the Teatro San Carlo and to see Eduardo to San Ferdinando. Filomena wore the coat with synthetic fur collar and a big flower on the chest, to sit in these magical places. And once she growe even 200 km route by car: dad brought her to Tricarico for my first communion!

Bring a bit of Filomena in my blood, in my dna, I take her over the world. Because there is a world outside vico Miciano maybe Filomena knew this.

Polynesia, the dream.

In the collective imagination Polynesia means dream.

It is.

Are the 21 of April 12, Ash Wednesday.

I came here to Huahine with a very short flight from Tahiti.

At 18, 30 the Sun had already set.

I get to take in a tiny airport, which to me seems as large as my home

and accompany me in a campground in small island.

Because the island of Huahine actually consists of 2 islands connected by a bridge. Huahine is the name of the female sex, because its shape would remember: who would ever call an island vagina? I think these Polynesians were light years ahead of us, when we got here to civilize them!

I see nothing on the island because it's dark like it was midnight, and I'm sleepy as if it were midnight.

I'm in this camp in total darkness I can hear menacing of the sea in the distance.

It's like I'm back at least 40 years, when with my family we used to spend the holidays in a tent in thick in the campground.

I'm going to place some pictures of Atacama, and suddenly I see turn on a light, is the Moon!

It is huge, the sea!

The boundaries are defined and the campsite is not so bad, even a cat is to keep me company

I realize only now that the cabin is almost on the water.

I armo courage and delve on the beach under palm trees, I see that the waves will refract off while here to shore is all placid, I imagine there is a coral reef, tomorrow I will look into it

I'm alone on this white beach at night and also overcome fear (I'm ready for the island's famous now!).

Sleep has gone completely, you can't sleep when you have this show.

I see a shooting star, or maybe it's just a moth who believes himself a star under the full moon.

I express a wish: May this journey never end.

Yes, Polynesia is the dream.


Suddenly, the scenario I look at gives me peace and serenity: snowy mountains overlook the lake which reflects the azure of the sky.

I am very tired; I spent the night in the airport, and the night before I woke up at 3 o’ clock to take the plane from San Paolo to Buenos Aires. I have to look for an accommodation, at the cheapest price, but I soon understand that here is not easy: one of the most beautiful locations of the world, and also of the most expensive. On the other end, if you want to reach the end of the world you must pay! I try to move to pity the Salesians with my letter of the curia, but nothing; so, I choose a cheap hostel. And it was a good choice because Paola, who works there gives me all the indications to visit the Tierra de fuego.

Here, in Ushuaia, they live thanks to the tourism and everything is to buy, but I don’t go away without having sailed the Beagle canal, having a discount on the trip.

They offer me a place in the VIP cabin because for a technical problem I was about to miss the trip.

It is in this way that I met a family of South American dandies, bringing any kind of clocks and jewels and I ask to myself how they must feel in such a place. They are not my types of people, so I go down amongst the “plebs” and I meet Juan Pablo, curious about my hair now green. He is an Argentine agronomist, in Ushuaia with his colleagues, and who does not speak English. However, we talk for a long time, speaking slowly, me in Italian, he in Spanish, and we understand each other.

The navigation of the Beagle canal is for me moving as few other things: looking so close sea lions fighting or the penguins walking in single file are priceless things.

I travel to find myself, but there is a part of me that I know very well also staying at home: the love for nature and the desire to study animal behaviour. It could have been my job, but it is left only the regret and the books by Lorentz on my library.

Juan Pablo reminds me one further time how people met travelling are more important than monuments or other things; he does not take photos, but take them for me and for my blog; for himself, he prefer to look and to bring in his heart the remembrance of what he sees.

Juan Pablo is widowed from ten years, his beloved wife died at only 48 years old, leaving four children.

However, he accepted life as it came because life is one and we need to make of it a masterpiece, however brief it can be.

That is one reason which encourages me to continue this journey around the world: “is this what you want? Do it. Life is too short to not doing what you like”.

Getting a coffee to say goodbye to Juan Pablo tells me that he would have preferred to go on a ship and go down to the island to spend some time with the penguins, but he took this other ship and it was a good choice because he met me.

Coloured hair don’t attract only perverted men looking for extra-conjugal sex, but also men from everywhere who want to know and to talk.


It looks like the sky is dark, seen from the space.

Don’t let the Brazilian know that.

For them, everything is blue, the sky, the sea, the entire world.

They have in their heart the joyful azure of the sky in a summer Sunday morning. Always.

It doesn’t matter if the day has started crooked, later it will be better.

It doesn’t matter how many zeros has your bank account, if you have a bank account, the world stays azure even if you live on the street and you must carry a trolley to gather trash to recycle in order to survive. In that trolley you feel like a prince and you are the king of the entire world!

Brazilian people are warm and hospitable, like the sun who warm them during all the year; they are generous, like the luxuriant nature that surrounds them.

When they see you, they don’t greet you by shaking hands, all of them, they hug you, even if you are a stranger met by accident.

And they kiss each others. Oh, how much they kiss each other! They hug themselves and kiss each other even if they will be separate for a few hours. In Italy, we were like them. Where did we lose ourselves?

I knew this generous Brazil, happy and extroverted , I saw the Paulista on Sunday morning, 3 km of pure joy, people of any kind, young, old, children, poor, rich; they had fun, danced, sang, played and ate all the time.

And I thought of  Naples, the Naples of a lot of time ago, the rowdy, joyful, happy Naples, the one of the “pizza a portafoglio” ad of the “ferrata” in piazza Dante, of the rowdiness of the markets and the one more intimate of the bassi, the Naples which sold you a brick as it was an ingot, but that help you if you were in trouble.

I knew this warm and hospitable Brazil, even though padre Vittorio told me that there is also another one, with criminality, of people wont to live without State, which use a gun to have few coins; and the television, here, reminds you of this every day, and show the photos of a completely flooded San Paolo , impractical and unusable when it rains because the sewers are blocked because of the trash which from the favelas go into the waterways. Everybody talk about the corruption which is going into light in a sort of gigantic “mani pulite” which shows bribes which used billions of Euros in a nation where millions of people are hungry.

Ok, I know this, and I believe this, but I want to bring in my heart the smiles and the hug of the people who received me here.

Tudo azul, tand everything will be all right.