Mestre (Italy), november 2012.
Day 48 on the road.
There are times when it’s awesome and times when it’s a bit less awesome but it always ends up being extremely awesome.
(I’m using so many superlatives you might think I’m American. I’m not. I’m just struggling to express feelings on paper because I didn’t pay enough attention at school to learn how to write in a literate fashion.)
I left from Rome on Thursday, heading towards Ljubljana. It get’s dark much earlier these days but my natural optimism kept me from thinking that I might not reach Slovenia in one day. Hitchhiking in Italy is a little less easy than in the rest of Europe. I’m not saying it’s difficult, just that I have been waiting several times for more than 30 minutes.
Long story short, I find myself at a gas station in the North of Italy, it is cold and it is dark and I have nowhere to sleep. The next town is far away and I don’t have the energy to walk around in a random town asking random people to host me. I know I can put up my tent anywhere to spend the night but somehow I don’t want to do that at all. I feel stuck and I have no motivation. After a while I manage to regain some energy and optimism to hitchhike further north. I am hoping for one of my drivers to offer me a bed. They don’t. Next thing I know I’m in the suburbs of Mestre in a worse place than previously: no way I can put up my tent here, there is no one around and this doesn’t feel like the best neighborhood. I have no choice but to walk ahead towards something that looks like a city center. On my way I clumsily ask the first person I see if he’s going home and if I can go with him. He tells me he’s going to a party and I realize I need to show more energy and optimism if I’m going to do this. Somehow his refusal gives me the kick that I need and I rapidly get to a neighborhood with streetlights. I get 3 or 4 more No’s before I see a bar with some people outside. If I don’t succeed here I’m going to a Ducking hotel.
There is three groups of people, two with people who seem to be in their 30’s, and one with some people my age. By habit I go towards the older people, but they all refuse. Luckily and to my surprise, the younger group immediately say with great enthusiasm that they accept.
I’m not going to go in the details of the night’s festivities but meeting Marìa, Jaime, Alvaro and Enrique gave me a kick like I’ve rarely felt before. I am always surprised about how easy it is to get people to host me but this episode deeply comforts me in thinking that traveling this way is not only possible but it is the best way ever to travel.