Today I feel inspired and I’d like to talk to you about Monia.
I had the pleasure to host her here at L’Albero at the end of July, in occasion of her birthday.
She decided to celebrate treating herself with a weekend in Matera, isn’t it a great idea?
Monia worked in a bank for seven years, and it was an interesting job, in her words, but she got to a point when she coundn’t hold it anymore and thus decided to change life.
She succeeded in conjugating two big passions of her, photography and Africa (http://www.moniaantonioli.com/), and now she splits her time between the collaboration with NGOs and humanitarian associations in Africa, and language teaching in London.
Monia looks really happy and I’m happy too when I meet people that succeeded in improving their life by letting something, no longer useful, go.
Since the very first moment I have been enchanted by her enthusiasm, by her joy of living and the wish to share her experience. Monia has been for me the better example of what we all call “responsible tourism”: she opened herself so much to knowing and following our tips, that after three days she was part of the community.
We went together to watch a show of the festival Nessuno resti fuori festival in Piccianello, a neighbourhood out of the historical center of Matera, mostly unknown for the tourists but full of history and stories. In Piccianello you can find lots of people to talk to for hours and hours, and after socializing with everybody at La bottega del vicinato, where we were nibbling cheese and focaccia, Monia decided to stay longer than me, and to come back to the city center with a couple of new friends. On her way home, she told me lately, she couldn’t say no to some local people who were having dinner improvising a table and a couple of “gnummridd” (some local meat rolls) and so on…just having fun with them and taking photos!
Whenever we met at home, she used to tell me about her new encounters, like the one with “la signora Maria”, a very well known character in the city center.
Eventually, my explosive guest left a sign in this town, not just at L’Albero, but all around here and there.
When people ask me what does it mean to travel for me, this is one of the answers: knowing a place through its stories, flavours, colours and local characters so as they are introduced to you by the people who live in that place and love it daily.
In this way the travel gains a totally different energy.