Eng of Year Thoughts - II

2015 has been particularly full of changes, twists, moves, travel, events for me.
I had a lot of races. I traveled the Pacific North West a lot, the West Coast of North America, and Italy and England a bit.
I've started and finished photography and writing courses. I've started the Dreams' Chest and I've been working on Sonderers.
I moved continents and countries, changed job (staying in architecture) and raced different races than my usual.
My back to be near my brother David and my family, and my relationship with Stephanie is more intimate and getting better and more exciting by the day.

What a year!

Now, I've been planning my races calendar for 2016 - I will have, at least, other 10, between swim races and obstacle runs. I've already registered to the Nottingham's Survival of the Fittest in October, and I am aiming for the British Masters National Championships, but there are many other races, big or small, than I am going to do.
I will probably want to do at least, and probably not more than, one road run-only race, just to see how I compare to my only other race of that type a couple of years ago, the Race of the Roses.
I will also probably want to do one trail run in order to, again, compare with the last two years results.

I am also generally planning my trips around Europe my girlfriend and I want to do, in no particular order here mentioned: France, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Malta, Israel.
In some we'll be with my brother David, in others it'll be the two of us.

Sonderers launch is getting closer and closer! I'm very excited! I am also working on a rough sketch of the logo, which will probably be developed by my friend Matteo for the professional final version.
I like working on graphics, graphic design and that kind of things. But not being an expert in it, it takes me longer time and I probably don't know of tricks and tools that I could use but that I don't know of.

This is the last blog post of 2015! It seems that my website has been on for a long time, but it has been on just over six months!

I will also be writing more: not only for Sonderers, but I've already registered and will start my Advanced Travel Writing with Matador!

Traveling, creating, growing, racing.
Fun, relax, adrenaline, reflection.
Brother, family, girlfriend.

Un passo indietro, poi sempre avanti.

To The Lightouse

I finished reading To The Lighthouse (1927) by Virginia Woolf. Writer and intellectual, she was one of the leading modernists of the twentieth century.

The book has many themes and elements in common with traveling and travel writing: stream of consciousness; the (inner) journey has more attention than the destination per se; human experience of time; the issue of perception, or the subjectivity of perception.

It is important to keep in mind that the book also has a strong difference, because it follows and extends James Joyce’s modernist tradition for which the plot is secondary to its philosophical introspection. In travel writing, the experience has the most importance, and experience means first-hand, practical contact.

The book and its genre are not the type of books I would normally read, because I am generally not into the stream of consciousness readings, although this book is one of the key works for such literary technique among literary modernism.

The lack of an omniscient voice means there is no real guide throughout the story. Everything reaches the reader through an extremely strong filter, which is the person of which thoughts we are reading. Everything is ambiguous.

Virginia Woolf is an extraordinary writer since the book seemed (and is) interesting, I wanted to try something new. That’s how we learn and discover new things!

I want to make a personal consideration of the second chapter of the second (of three) section of the book, Time Passes, since I found it as one of the most exquisite pieces of XIX century literature I have ever read.

It describes the darkness and the night creeping in the house and engulfing everything. This passage gives a sense of time quickly running away, a sense of cold and absence.

“If plot means dealings among the characters, there is no real progression of plot here, but, at the same time, what plot is grander or more essential than time passing?” (said Maggie Shipstead).

In this case the statement is spot on, because the greatest upheavals happen when the story has this fast-forward.  It is also the only part of the book that has an omniscient narrator. A closer view, in medias res, of how things have changed is given by one character who is the caretaker of the house of for the owners since the beginning, Mrs. McNab.

The narration through an omniscient entity is in stark contrast with the rest. It’s dry if not distorted because being omniscient also puts the point of view away from feeling a situation.

Or is it?

I chose to write this personal overview of this passage because I found the description of the darkness seeping through every fissure, every crack, around every object and every person feels real.

The all-encompassing drenching of darkness is daunting from the very first lines. It’s cold but not cruel. It simply is. Suddenly and silently everything stops being, and darkness takes place. It is almost accepted. There might be few, unconscious futile attempts of rebellion – “Sometimes a hand was raised (…) ” – but it looks like a hand raised by a person drowning in an unseen tsunami wave: without even realizing what is happening, it’s all over.

There is much more that could be said about this part, but I was stuck by the description of the moving night and the sensations it engaged in me.

I think when that happens, it is really one of the highest achievements of a literary piece.


To The Lighthouse, Part II - Time Passes, Chapter 2

So with the lamps all put out, the moon sunk, and a thin rain drumming on the roof a downpouring of immense darkness began. Nothing, it seemed, could survive the flood, the profusion of darkness which, creeping in at keyholes and crevices, stole round window blinds, came into bedrooms, swallowed up here a jug and basin, there a bowl of red and yellow dahlias, there the sharp edges and firm bulk of a chest of drawers. Not only was furniture confounded; there was scarcely anything left of body or mind by which one could say, “This is he” or “This is she.” Sometimes a hand was raised as if to clutch something or ward off something, or somebody groaned, or somebody laughed aloud as if sharing a joke with nothingness.

Nothing stirred in the drawing-room or in the dining-room or on the staircase. Only through the rusty hinges and swollen sea-moistened woodwork certain airs, detached from the body of the wind (the house was ramshackle after all) crept round corners and ventured indoors. Almost one might imagine them, as they entered the drawing-room questioning and wondering, toying with the flap of hanging wall-paper, asking, would it hang much longer, when would it fall? Then smoothly brushing the walls, they passed on musingly as if asking the red and yellow roses on the wall-paper whether they would fade, and questioning (gently, for there was time at their disposal) the torn letters in the wastepaper basket, the flowers, the books, all of which were now open to them and asking, Were they allies? Were they enemies? How long would they endure?

So some random light directing them with its pale footfall upon stair and mat, from some uncovered star, or wandering ship, or the Lighthouse even, with its pale footfall upon stair and mat, the little airs mounted the staircase and nosed round bedroom doors. But here surely, they must cease. Whatever else may perish and disappear, what lies here is steadfast. Here one might say to those sliding lights, those fumbling airs that breathe and bend over the bed itself, here you can neither touch nor destroy. Upon which, wearily, ghostlily, as if they had feather-light fingers and the light persistency of feathers, they would look, once, on the shut eyes, and the loosely clasping fingers, and fold their garments wearily and disappear. And so, nosing, rubbing, they went to the window on the staircase, to the servants’ bedrooms, to the boxes in the attics; descending, blanched the apples on the dining-room table, fumbled the petals of roses, tried the picture on the easel, brushed the mat and blew a little sand along the floor. At length, desisting, all ceased together, gathered together, all sighed together; all together gave off an aimless gust of lamentation to which some door in the kitchen replied; swung wide; admitted nothing; and slammed to.

[Here Mr. Carmichael, who was reading Virgil, blew out his candle. It was past midnight.]

To The Lightouse

Perception of the Natural Environment - II

As I wrote, last week I came back from solo backpacking in Alaska. Backpacking for four nights put me in a new perspective on my life's rhythm as well as on the surrounding environment and, importantly, how I related to it.

Whoever goes tent-camping, hike-camping or backpacking realizes, on different levels, how little is needed to live and have a perfectly entertaining day. Especially for backpacking, you go down to the barely minimum.

Talking to people, I realized how many misinterpret barely minimum with nothing to do. And that's not true! First of all, I love the necessary tasks for camping, from setting camp up by pitching the tent, for example, wood gathering and chopping (I like this one especially), preparing meals and appropriately cleaning afterwards, to name a few. Second, they take time, they fill the day. Third, I still always have my journal, books with me, everywhere I go, and might still work out with a run or a swim. Fourth, I have a whole forest/mountain/beach to explore!

The important factor is that even simple camp chores put me in relation with the surrounding landscape. I need to know where I am in order to find my optimal tent spot. I need to asses what's around me in order to find wood -0 or food, if I'm fishing or hunting (I haven't done these so far). I need to observe the sky and how it changes to have a fair idea of the weather.

I relate with the environment with all my senses and I respect Nature in every aspect, enjoying how it changes and savoring every moment.

The entire Alaska is bear country. I haven't seen any, but that doesn't mean they are not around. I am particularly proud of my hanging of the food.

The entire Alaska is bear country. I haven't seen any, but that doesn't mean they are not around. I am particularly proud of my hanging of the food.

Un Passo Indietro, Poi Sempre Avanti

I found appropriate starting my blog with a post about my birthday, June 13th. I have never had a blog so I am excited to start one!

I was already working on this website around my birthday, but it was just at the beginnings. I am proud and excited of the result. It will grow and get more and more interesting. It's my travel journalism portfolio.

I celebrated my birthday by camping in Frog Lake, OR with my girlfriend Stephanie, among other things savoring a nice bottle of port wine that my brother David bought me.

The day before I gave my office, C2K Architecture, my notice that I would be leaving at the end of the month, because I am moving back to the Old Continent! I will be living and working in London.

A lot of things lay ahead of me, many are planned, some are still not. Everything is exciting and I can't wait for all those adventures.

Always look and remember what you left behind, but then face, head up high and dreaming, what you want to have ahead.

I am an early morning person. The first morning of camping I woke up at 6am and went for a walk by the lake. The steam from the lake in the shades was creating such an eerie view! In the silence of the morning, this man came walking his dogs and you can see two fishermen's boats among the fog. It was the only morning when it happened, I didn't have my nice camera with me (mistake!) but I managed to snap a photo.

I am an early morning person. The first morning of camping I woke up at 6am and went for a walk by the lake. The steam from the lake in the shades was creating such an eerie view! In the silence of the morning, this man came walking his dogs and you can see two fishermen's boats among the fog. It was the only morning when it happened, I didn't have my nice camera with me (mistake!) but I managed to snap a photo.