Lower Bergamo area. The boredom of a life “constantly made up of routines and days hardly distinguishable from each other”. Curiosity, love for travel, for adventure. And a computer that, packed in a suitcase, “has given us more freedom than a job, mostly unsatisfactory, has given us in 20 years”.
Like this Emanuele Ripamonti And Stefania Nicoli, both in their forties, he from Canonica D’Adda and she from Urgnano, have decided to change their lives. They resigned, “sold the superfluous”, packed their bags and left to discover the world.
Without an organized itinerary, without deadlines or a fixed budget. Only a great desire to know other countries and a good dose of courage. Because the couple has managed to translate into facts the classic “quit everything and go” that flashes in the minds of many but which in most cases is undermined by daily chores, by habit, by ties.
“I worked for 15 years as an analyst in a chemical laboratory and I also had various experiences as a sales assistant – says Stefania -. But my passion has always been that of writing, so much so that I have two novels and a short story already published and now, that I have more time, I have decided to devote myself fully to this interest “.
Emanuele has worked for most of his life in the musical environment as a tour manager. “About ten years ago I joined this job with the study of photography, videomaking and graphics, acquiring skills and professionalism that would make them my current job”, he explains.
These new perspectives have freed the two from Bergamo from the need to always go to work in the same place, every morning, and have allowed them to realize the dream of a lifetime.
The decision to give up everything and go, however, came in an unhappy period: “In January 2020 we had set the departure date for the month of April – they explain -. The rest is history. The pandemic therefore forced us to postpone our plans for two years and we only managed to leave last January. But the restrictions made us change our itinerary. We would have liked to start with Japan, but in the end, waiting for Southeast Asia to reopen, we traveled to Europe between Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary ”.
Once the travel restrictions dropped, Emanuele and Stefania bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, Thailand. And in July, as soon as the borders were reopened, they reached Malaysia.
“Being the first train leaving after two years of the pandemic and being the first Westerners to cross the border from Padang Besar, we found television crews and journalists waiting for us. They interviewed us, took pictures and asked us. It was a great feeling to realize that, finally, after all the closures, the world was finally starting to open again ”.
But how do you finance your trip? How do you travel and where do you sleep?
“Ours is a low budget trip: we travel by public transport, the bus is usually the cheapest way and it allows us to immerse ourselves in local cultures. We sleep in hostels. Many people criticize us, accusing us of being father’s children, of living off taxpayers and many other bad things. The truth is that there is no trick and no deception and above all no millionaire inheritance. We have always worked, we have always saved and luckily we are in 2022 and we have the possibility to work remotely via an internet connection and a laptop ”.
Emanuele and Stefania are also doing some experiences through Workaway, a site where travelers from all over the world can share their skills and work voluntarily for their hosts in exchange for room and board.
Where do you eat? Do you miss Italian cuisine?
“We eat in street restaurants, where most of the patrons are locals. We also ate insects, crow’s feet, entrails of all kinds. We can say that perhaps some things do not meet Western taste, but a little spirit of adaptation and habit is enough and any dish is a joy for the palate. Therefore, no nostalgia for Italian cuisine ”.
Emanuele confesses that he is “a professional devourer of ramen, the famous Japanese soup. I also have my own column, One City One Ramen, where I tell the taste of at least one bowl of ramen in every city where I am “.
The Bergamo couple’s love for food is also widely documented on the Instagram profile that Stefania and Emanuele created to tell their followers about their adventure.
Any advice for travelers?
“They must never lack a spirit of adaptation, the ability to relate and the desire to know and discover new things. Take suggestions with a grain of salt, especially those that come from people who want you to travel their way. Leave without fear, be curious and avoid emulating what the influencers and more or less well-known personalities who try to sell you their vision of the journey do. Respect cultures other than yours and learn to be part of them. However, we would like to point out that the journey is not all roses, so don’t think that a radical change of this kind brings only positive things. We must be aware of the fact that there are many ups and downs and that we must learn to manage them ”.
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