Reviving the Wanderlust
Life truly is a roller coaster of experiences, isn’t it? We’re all riding it, yet often we’re too caught up in the frenetic pace to let the real magic of the moment sink in. We’re masters of coping, planning, and taking action, yet sometimes, we forget the simple art of just being. It’s a world where even children have lost the luxury of not doing anything, of being present. And honestly, that’s not okay.
Since 2020, my life has been nothing short of a whirlwind. On both emotional and professional fronts, it’s been a wild ride. I launched two startups: one failed during a pivot, leading to a team breakup. The other? It consumed immense amounts of energy and time. Despite being recognized as a promising startup in the Lazio Region, something inside me just broke after a venture capitalist warned us about the “long and tortuous” road to funding. That was my tipping point. My go-getter spirit wavered, I lost myself and doubt crept in, shaking my confidence in decision-making.
You know, I’ve had this travel blog since 2017, but I constantly found myself pursuing other dreams, sidelining this passion project. Why? Maybe it was fear—fear of facing it all alone, even though navigating the startup world does feel lonely too. But now, it’s starting to look crystal clear: this project is my path. It’s in my blood. I’ve been raised in seven different cities across the globe, travelling has always been a part of me. Born into a family of Italian diplomats, I was raised as a global citizen, experiencing life in diverse cities from New York City to Tehran, from Rome to Houston, from Istanbul back to Rome, and from London to Budapest. Each of these places I’ve had the privilege to call home, instilling in me a profound appreciation for cultural diversity and the beauty of our global community.
Yet, for years, I was so obsessed with finding my career, pouring all my energy into these startups, with ’making it’, ‘standing out’, and ‘proving myself’, that I sacrificed more than just time and energy. I put myself in a financial bind. Focusing full-time on startups meant I couldn’t commit to regular employment. I resorted to freelancing for its flexibility, but it meant living with limited funds. Every penny was funneled into nurturing my business dreams, leaving little for travel. My adventures were confined to occasional weekend getaways within Italy, which, though beautiful, never quite offered the deep recharge or the complete mental break I yearned for.
On the positive side, in return, I gained a wealth of skills and learned the hard way that regular travel is something I can’t give up. This summer, in 2023, I took my first intercontinental flight since 2005. I’ll do the math for you — that’s 18 years since my last transatlantic flight since moving from Houston, Texas, to Istanbul, Turkey. The emotions that flooded me are indescribable – a blend of happiness, excitement, and a thrilling sense of the unknown. Sitting in my window seat aboard the Emirates A380, tears of joy welled up. It was a moment of pure, unadulterated presence, a realization of how fortunate I was, and the beginning of a new chapter in rediscovering the joy of travel.
I was living in the moment, fully present and overwhelmed with gratitude for the adventure that lay ahead. The plane took off, and I was at peace, my mind free from thoughts of work, money, or problems. It was replaced by curiosity, happiness, and excitement. Now, as I sit in my studio, revisiting my guide on Malaysia, I’m filled with that same rush of emotions. The thrill of seeing a completely new place for the first time is, in my opinion, one of the best sensations in the world. When I think of Malaysia, I think of pure joy and the breathtaking beauty of nature. I think of the tea plantations at Cameron Highlands, of the sounds of the rainforest at Mulu National Park, of swimming with the turtles and dancing barefoot on the beach at Perhentian Islands, of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, of the hawker centers in Singapore.
As I try to slowly regain my productivity, I realize this is helping. I want to guide travelers not just to destinations but to let them immerse in these feelings, to experience that exhilarating sense of discovery that makes life truly worth living. I miss that feeling and can’t wait to explore more this summer. Have you ever experienced this feeling?