So here we are, at a new point in my life. There is a lot to say and write down, now that I’ve decided to tell you something about what I do and who I am. That’s why I realized I could start from one of the experiences that changed me the most.

Everything started exactly one year when I understood that I needed a break in my life. You know, those times when you feel like you have to do something, something more, cause you’re not satisfied enough or simply you’re not really yourself. When you spend your days thinking that you want to do something different but the context around is not giving you the right energy that you actually need. That’s honestly how I was feeling, and after a long winter period I came up with a new idea, a new adventure that I wanted to try for the first time.

It was an unexpected story, something totally new to me.

Everything started a couple of months before, while I was sitting in the classroom and listening to the teacher speaking, speaking and still speaking. We were attending a French class when I’ve been distracted by a guy who was next to me and started talking about this “WorkAway”, knowing my biggest passion - traveling. It’s a website that allows you to enter contact with people who need some help in their activity, and in exchange for some hours of work they give you accommodation and food.
He was talking to me with a light in his eyes, remembering his days in Mexico and his unforgettable experience with all the people met during the summer. My reaction was simply: “OH MY GOD. I could travel forever doing that”.

It has been hard in that moment to go on with my studies, ‘cause as always I didn’t want to force myself doing anything. But I also had to be rational and strong, so that I could have totally enjoyed the experience afterward.

So, as soon as I finished all my commitments within my usual routine (classes, exams, training, house-managing and so on..) this project came back to my mind. I’ve been hours looking for the place that inspired me the most, till the moment one of them started sparkling in front of my eyes. “This is the one” - I thought.

Sammatz was its name and it was a big community, with more than 100 people living all together and more than 50 volunteers from all around the world helping in this big project. It is placed in the countryside of Germany, 2h from Hamburg, and it is surrounded by forests and rivers. Being totally in contact with nature and a big amount of pure, genuine, happy and positive souls was everything I needed.

It’s a magic place, where the first thing you can easily learn is the act of sharing. Living so close with so many young people with different backgrounds, cultures, languages, points of view and aims in life.. just opened my mind so much and made me acquire knowledge about realities I could ever have imagined before.

The job itself was physical and, I have to say, sometimes pretty hard, especially because of the cold weather of Northern Germany in the months of February-March. But anyway, even though sometimes we had to spend hours and hours outside in the rain, we were always all together and gardening and planting became fun, cause we used to play games or riddles; other times it was a sort of meditation, an opportunity to free your mind and forget all the world outside. a way to know better the people next to you with no other distractions, we didn't need mobile phones, tv, social media and so on.
There were a lot of works that had to be done and every day we could change position: from weeding, to cooking in the kitchen with the chef, feeding the animals in the farm (definitely my fav one), or helping in the bakery, dairy, in the café (producing their own natural products), in the shop, or with children. Indeed, they also take care of many children with disabilities or different issues, who can feel better in a place like that, with so many people, animals, nature and, of course, an atmosphere of peace. Far from our typical life.

Every day, we enjoyed the present moment. We didn’t need anything except our own company. We used to spend hours, after the work, lying on the warm floor, or on the pillows, couches or whatever, just talking, playing guitar, singing, sharing opinions, laughing, different life-style experiences. Sharing everything from the breakfast with 20 guys around a big table.. until the long chilling nighta in the living room.

I am SO grateful for all the people met there. They changed my life. They are my inspiration today and they made me understand there are a lot of realities around us, many different options to seek happiness and to find our because life is made by simple things and they are the best.
Things that we use to forget during our day, ‘cause we are too busy with our work, things to do, problems and rules to follow. But I found my happiness through the smallest things. Every time I wanted some tea and I had to prepare it for 10 people; or when we had to run in the rain in the middle of the night to reach the showers before the rest of the group, or while feeding the baby cows who were always so hungry and ready to lick me everywhere.. and even tho it was 5 in the morning and I was tired , it was impossible to not to smile in front of the cutest animals.

I spent there one month and honestly. I could have been there forever. I wish to come back one day.
I’ll never forget the friendships I’ve created there and that still part of my life. People that I know I will meet on the road again… when I least expect it and anywhere in the world.
I’ve met amazing people from Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, Argentina, Canada, Alaska, Scotland, France, Brasil, England, America, New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Korea… and so on. The entire world was there. And nothing from the outside could matter for us. Love u.

When I came back to Siena, the city where I was living and studying, everything was different I was different. I knew I was carrying with me the simplicity, the love, the positive energy and the freedom we have been living all together with a smile on our faces.

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There is always a lot to say when all of a sudden we decide to change our lives and start from scratch. “But a person like you is used to it, Ilaria” – everybody keeps telling me. Well, I can’t deny that. But despite this, I can guarantee you that every time it’s like a leap of faith. It’s like walking on a path of uncertainty and with my eyes closed. The only certainty that I have is that this is exactly what I want.

I’ve always had problems living with the same old routine, I get easily bored, I need changes and I can’t focus on just one thing at a time. My mind flies so fast even when I look quiet and thoughtless. I always have one billion projects on mind and plans for the future. And then it becomes a challenge to me. I have to do it. Sounds so good, right? Super active, with so much willingness to do as much as possible, with a crazy spirit of adventure and, of course, definitely far from what we define dull. But at the same time, I have to say sometimes it’s not easy. Sometimes you’re “forced” to stay still and it’s like there is no oxygen in the air anymore. It’s like to be in a cage if everything appears just “too normal” around you. And as you can expect, it’s not such a good feeling to deal with.

What can I say then? More and more I understand who I am, which is my path, which is the road that I want to take. Maybe sometimes I'll make some mistakes, choosing the wrong direction, but you know, I've always loved getting lost, getting crazy and then coming back on the right way. Never as it's happening this year I'm understanding what I really want in my life, what really fits me and what makes me feel good. I don't care about all the rest. I've always been very confident and determined: when I know what I want there aren't any other choices, I do everything in order to reach my goal. Sometimes it can be hard, but I feel lucky 'cause I'm living the life that I want. And I did it all with my own hands, working hard every day on my dreams with resilience and strength.

I thank all my travels, all the people met on my road, my adventures, my misadventures, my last minute things, my big amount of craziness sometimes, the conversations with people unknown, the smiles, the laughs, the new friends, all the moments created together to be SHARED (emotions, experiences, music, food, TIME). All things that cannot be explained, 'cause sometimes words are not enough. I thank all the people who use to tell me all the time: "you're always smiling, crazy, so positive" and I just answer: it's also thanks to you! Because everyone leaves something in me. Before it often happened to me that I felt a little bit "in my world", cause I’ve got big dreams in my head and the monotony of an ordinary life is not part of me at all. Burning every instinct inside us, every who wants to go out, creativity, freedom.

You just need to open your eyes, your mind, be curious about everything, make questions, risk and don't be afraid. Then, you will understand that you're free in this world, you're free to choose which is your way, 'cause there are no cages, no limits everything-is-possible.