Wanderlust gene

Brasov city center, winter 2015

I was about seven years old the first time I felt the impulse to just go and wander around. I was living in what seemed like a really big city at the time: Brasov, in Romania. I had a friend who lived next door, one year younger than me, and we used to spend a lot of time together. By that time my parents used to let me stay alone at home for a few hours in the afternoon so my friend Karola and I used to play in the surroundings of the building. At some point, we had the idea to go for a walk in the city center, which was quite far away from where we were living. So we started walking, took the bus, got off at some point and just kept wandering around. I don’t remember all the places we’ve been to, except that I showed Karola the kindergarten I used to go to (until just one year before or so) but what I do remember is the feelings I felt that day: I was so happy and excited about our little trip, so curious to get to see more places, so enthusiastic about being able to walk around on my own. Everything seemed so big, there was so much to discover, so many unknown streets. Today I think about that old me with the tenderness one would look at a little puppy that’s still unstable on his paws but nevertheless tries to run around. I really think I knew back then that I wanted to explore the world. That city, which now seems so small to me, was my world then. That evening, when we went back home – it was already nighttime- our parents were worried crazy because none of them had any idea where we were -no cell phones yet! I can very clearly remember how my mom shouted at me that I should never ever do that again, ever! And even though I was mortified and sorry about having my parents worried, a part of me was still excited about my first time out in the city. As I grew up, every now and then, usually on weekends, I used to go with one or two of my friends and just walk around and discover new parts of the city. I so much looked forward to those days, and they were for me like tiny little holidays, which I used to plan in advance, save money for and enjoy greatly. When I moved to Italy, at the age of fourteen, I embraced the change with excitement, even if it was not that easy in the beginning. But there was for me a whole new world to discover, and thanks to this big change in my life, I had so many opportunities to travel that I probably wouldn’t have had if I had stayed in Romania. But one thing that never changed is the urge, every now and then, anywhere I am in the world, to just go out and discover new places even when I already know the place I’m living quite well. That is of course when I can’t give into the urge of buying a plane ticket for anyplace else.