The amazing dichotomy of being a stranger in your own homeland
I come from an amazing land, in deep south Italy.
By the way, when I was a teen ager or even younger, I was so eager to travel and see and learn more about the world that I totally neglected the beauty of my territory, where presently so many tourists and travellers come every year.
It took me about 10 years of compulsive travelling to realize how much I depend on my mother land, its olive trees, its sea and sun, its perfumes and lascapes.
While I was in northern Italy, then in France and in Malta during my first years of working experience, after my degree, I was so happy to see and to learn more about unknown habits, languages, lands. But I always felt a black hole inside me, mainly after every month of April.
Infact in April my land (Salento, Puglia, South Italy) starts giving the best of her essence and identity.
It took me 10 years anywhere to decide to come back and settle down back here, in a new home. And this didn’t taste like coming back at all; it was just like a brand new trip, able to take me where I had never been during my childhood.
After my “coming back” I decided to live in the old historic center of Lecce, while I had lived in the residential suburbs when I was with my parents. This made me a traveller in my homeland, and this was so inspiring to make me write a book set in that places so exotic and familiar at once.
So I started making long car trips in my region and discovered about the Marina Serra natural pool , the bauxite caves, the centuries old olive trees scattered alla around the red local land.
I had a jump off the Poesia rock (Poesia means poetry, and the place is even more beautiful than the name), overcoming my fear of heights.
It took me several km with my car to realize how long, big and diverse this land is!
I think nostalgia for my homeland made me eager to live it like I’d never done before, like I do when I travel the world: trying to understand it more than judging its faults, trying to do my best to make it better more than asking to be helped by her.
Travelling made me understand we belong with the places we choose. And I chose my homeland, because coming back is even harder than leaving.