The Pink City of Morocco, the Daughter of the Desert

Marrakesh has many nicknames. Two are in the title.
The first one, less known (the usual one is 'The Red City' due to some of its buildings' color) refers to the actual color of virtually every building in town, even new construction, due to the color of the plaster. The pink color is never too light and never too solid. It's soft if the sun doesn't shine and it's warm and full if hit by sunlight.
The second nickname is romantic and recalls images in my mind now that I visited it.

I am happy I visited a new city. I am happy I visited a new country. I am happy I visited a new continent.
But this is not just to tick some boxes. I am happy because I've extensively traveled Europe and the USA, and therefore nothing ever seemed extremely different from something I have visited before. I love Europe and the USA, but I am happy I visited something that is out of anything that can have familiar view.

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Cooking is Culture

Cooking is beautiful and fun. It's satisfying, fulfilling, and entertaining. It's social time, or private, or reflective. It can be quick or slow. For any event or no event.
I can keep going so I will stop here.

I love cooking and I do it virtually every day. I am no master chef, but I learn little things all the time and I try to keep learning from anywhere.
The main source of my learning comes from my mother, who has been cooking for her entire life, she is exceptionally good, she follows traditional recipes but she is extremely creative as well. I think she has the perfect mix because she made hers the recipes from her grandparents, so now she has the experience, and the wits, of tweaking them as she finds appropriate, in an elegant and interesting way.

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Never Enough Books

I love books. I love reading.
They make me dream, spur my creativity, travel with my imagination - or give inputs for actual travels.

Books have been part of my life since I was born. The first adult book I've read by myself was 'The Tigers of Mompracem', from Italian writer Emilio Salgari. I will never forget it. The protagonist, Sandokan, is a pirate-hero, gentleman, adventurous, with solid moral principles but a rebellious heart.
What a better way to start my independent reading life than this?

My brother has a list of all the books he has ever read. that would have been a good idea, I would have done it too, thinking about it now.
But, I read a lot nevertheless.

I currently just finished By Night Under the Stone Bridge (1952 in German) by writer Leo Perutz.
The book is a collection of stories, set in Prague in the 16th century. They are bound together by common characters, active or just mentioned in the different stories, but also by both magical and actual historic events, also either just mentioned or actively happening.
The book, a suggestion from my brother David, who reads even more than me, became one of my favorite and I discovered the theme of the historic Mitteleuropa.

I am not catching up with the last few National Geographic issues (which I had in the US and finally got here with girlfriend Stephanie), but I am always reading a book and a magazine at the same time, therefore I am going to start another book tonight or tomorrow night.

What book have you last read? What books do you suggest me?

Adventures to Come

I have one adventure per month starting in March. Exciting!
Stephanie and I have idea, events, opportunities, wishes, dreams we want to follow, chase, seek and create. We have a nice list of destinations and trips ahead.

First of all, and adventure, for me, is linked to traveling, but other exciting things are happening at the same time.
Sonderers is going live on March 1st, for example! The team is working hard and we are enjoying it quite a bit. I know I do.
David keeps writing and might have an interesting new things happening soon... but let's wait to see if it's confirmed.
Stephanie is creating and networking and working a lot and she has some pretty cool things coming up too, both on her personal side and with her Beauty Archaeology.

But going back to traveling... well well well, I am stoked to think of what is coming next!
Morocco in March!
Ireland or Scotland in April!
Malta in may!
Jerusalem in June!
These are adventure that are exciting on a personal level and they will bring great nw content for my photography.

Also, I would like to have a peculiar side for each trip.
Example, in March in Morocco we'll be hosted by our friend Ahmed.
In Jerusalem, I'll go around with my brother who used to live there, as well as I would like a specific spiritual and physical endeavor.
I have few ideas, and I'll post them when the time is ripe, which means before or after or while I am traveling.

I am particularly stoked because most of the times I will be traveling with somebody who has lived the place and I will see the more personal, original side of the place and the people.

Due Facce della Stessa Medaglia

Traveling and reading are two sides of the same coin, as we say in Italy (due facce della stessa medaglia).
One action specifically makes your body travel, the other one your mind. They are completely different things, yet linked in the strongest way.
Not long ago I've written about how writing and literature can be deeply similar and connected.
Both require will, passion, interest, time.

Reading can be traveling, with your mind, heart and dreams - traveling can correspond to reading people, places, landscapes.
Both need direct experience, but it doesn't matter how that happens.
Paying attention helps, but it's not definitive. Natural is always better. Sometimes I want to but can't quite do it; other times it just happens, everything flows through my senses and I don't even notice until later.
The highest emotions and deepest experiences happen when they are unexpected.

These happen when you travel, and when you read.
Your mind is the most powerful element for your dreams, either through traveling or reading.

You are never alone with a book.

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.

End of Year Thoughts

The Sonderers are working hard because in January we are going to go live!

All of us write will participate in articles, but I am happy to be involved in the photography aspect of the project, because my focus and my strength is in photography.
I will definitely be issuing photo essays but I do like writing, so what I will be publishing will depend on the inspiration ad the material I have.

I haven't moved too much from September to now (which is only four months) but I have a lot of travel plans for the first part of next year!
Many trips will be shorter ones, long-weekends type of thing. Since I am back to Europe, it's easy to find deals and travel across the continent - and to Africa or the Middle east too, why not - in few hours.
France, Israel are just two on the list. I won't be jumping around like a pinball, but I'll move a bit and I also will be having some trips within England, even just in the Midlands.
The trips in England will be sports related too, because I plan to compete, race even more next year!

In 2015 I think I had up to 10 races, but they were mostly in Summer or late Spring.
Next year I am going to compete year long and I am going to have pool swim races again. Last year I had only one (if) and I miss them. Plus, they add one more reason to travel to new places!

I like to write and think of what I am leaving behind, while I keep creative, active, productive - I keep dreaming!

Un passo indietro, poi sempre avanti.

Sonderers!

I've been absent for a while but I am now (more or less) back.
I am in a new city, Nottingham, with a new job, in a new apartment! Everything is going well but I am still settling in. I am gone most of the day and the apartment is still a bit a mess.... but at least, I am cooking again.

One thing that I am glad is keeping me busy is the new project I am working on with a special, passionate and interesting team: Sonderers Travel Magazine!

Sonderers is an online travel magazine that focuses on the human aspects of traveling. Any human aspect.
There are innumerable themes we can write on and countless creative ideas for both articles, website, anything that has to do with this publication.

We are at the early stages and the website, social media and first publications are just now taking forms and, one after the other, actively coming online.

Sonder On!

In London Fair City

London! What a megalopolis!
It's extremely human scale in its neighborhoods, yet it's so vast you can spend years and years to explore.

This is my impression of course, I haven't lived years and years in London... yet! But I will, because I am looking for a job in the city, my girlfriend Stephanie is going to Grad School next year and I like the country.

Who has been living here? What are the impressions? Thoughts? Considerations?

I am going to be more aggressive on my job hunt. I will be even more efficient and make my portfolio, both online and printed, and applications even better.

I also want to get involved in the photography world! I will start looking around for opportunities for young photographers and I am thrilled for the opportunities. There is a lot to learn and a lot to achieve and many people to meet and exciting things and places to discover.

In the meantime and in some free time.... I will explore London! I will get lost, walk, wonder, explore, visit, discover anything I can, and hopefully many things I didn't think about.

Change and Resettlement in England

Change is exciting but resettling might take time!

I've been looking for a job in London for few weeks now and I can't wait to start working in architecture again. There are quite a few jobs opening every day but competition is high as well. I am focusing on jobs on conservation (historic preservation) but I like adaptive-reuse and design as well.

I've also started looking at apartments/rooms, but of course I won't seal a deal with any until I found a job, so I can find one easier for my commutes.

In the meantime and in my free time, I am back putting some time on my travel journalism website (you are on it!), Dream's Chest, and look for photography competitions. It'll be cool to get into the Londoner photography environment!

Also, when I am all settled in London, I will start with my new MatadorU course, Advanced Travel Writing!

September has been a month of buffer, I was in two continents and three countries - North America and Europe; USA, UK, Italy - and I am going back to the starting block, looking for jobs, finding a place to live in London, exploring a new place.

Onward!

House With Red and Orange Ivy York England UK

Back to Europe

Atc! It has been to long since my last article. Almost exactly a month. Bad me! September has been busy with travels, but it shouldn't be an excuse.

Speaking of traveling, so far in September I was in Oregon, Boston area (Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut), London, Italy. I am in Italy until the end of the month, few more days, and Thursday, which is October 1st, I go back to London.

This is because I have permanently moved out of the United States to live back in Europe! I miss the US a lot, but I missed Europe too. My family, the culture, the atmosphere, the easy traveling.

I am going to be living in London. I am going to work as an architect and I want to work again in historic preservation, which is what I focused my studies on and what I worked on my first two years after graduating, before moving to Oregon.

I am stoked, excited, intrigued! I like exploring the new city and I can't wait to be living there and to see how my routine will go.

Un passo indietro, poi sempre avanti!

Torre degli Asinelli da Via Ugo Bassi Bologna Italy