Although 2016 has been a tough year for a lot of people, I honestly think it might have been the best year of my life! (Don’t worry, this is not an Ego filled post where I tell you how much I’ve accomplished in my career this year to make you feel like i’m so cool!🐒)
Let’s start from the very beginning: I didn’t get to welcome 2016 last year, I was on a plane to Hong Kong when midnight hit and I completely skipped it (really weird feeling btw!🤔). I didn’t know yet but I was on my way to shoot one of my last jobs as a fashion photographer.
I had started my project Quest for Beauty a few months prior and I was in the middle of a huge conscience crisis: I wanted to quit fashion and stop contributing to create unrealistic beauty standards, change my life and start living one that was true to myself but I had no idea how to do that and survive financially. I just had a voice inside me telling me to trust my instinct and my instinct was telling me to travel.
Sometimes the universe gives you exactly what you ask for: when i started getting press for my project something funny happened: I lost all of my clients! Ironically, now I didn’t have to worry about my ethical torments anymore, my clients were gone so instead of finding new ones I quit fashion, throwing away everything i had wanted, chased and sweated blood for over the last 3 years. I listened to that voice and invested all of my savings into my project and started traveling a lot more.
Was it smart? nope.
Was it the rational thing to do? absolutely not!
Was it right? fuck yeah!
Was it worth it? ‘the whole damn bunch’!
This is how my year went…
-By the end of September I had visited Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, Cuba, France, Ethiopia, Kenya, the United Arab Emirate and Ireland. I saw some incredible things, I lived some awesome experiences (my favorite 3:visiting the tribes in the Omo Valley, Getting inside Chichen Itza after they closed and going on a Safari in Kenya). I learned a lot about life and people and empathy. I learned a lot about Beauty and what it actually means. The project got really good press from magazines and newspaper that I would have never in my wildest dreams thought would ever talk about my work (Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, Vanity Fair and more). My life felt like a weird mix between a fairytale and an episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown!
-Because of traveling ,my project and Instagram, I met some incredible people. Some of them are among my good friends and role models today, some of them I even interviewed on this blog!
-While i was traveling I started creating some artsy travel pics (I called them #travelfairytales) for my instagram, my following grew 12K in a few months and that seriously helped me to get gigs with brands and travel ahencies and organizations and slowly building a whole new clientele. Now I have a little community of travelers and artists to share my adventures with on IG and to exchange stories, tips and inspirations and I truly truly love them!
-I learned to set my ego aside, to say “Fuck coolness!”, to be true to myself and to always trust what the little voice inside of me has to say. The moment I de-conditioned my thinking, stopped caring about coolness and what people thought about me I understood what freedom meant. I’m free!
-After a lot of back and forward I realized I wanted to be on the road full time and left NYC for a life of adventures (post about this coming soon!)
-I ‘lost’ all of my savings on my project (My bank account might be emptier but I’m richer than I’ve ever been in so many ways thanks to it).
-I lost a lot of friends (mainly those who were tight to my old career path, most of them in NYC).
-I got sick a ton of times and found myself bagging for mercy to the stars crawled up in a ball on several hotel bathroom floors (you all remember my food-poisoning tales from previous posts I’m sure 😂😂😂 ).
-I have a lot more work to do (my average work day is 10-14hours long and there are no Sundays in my work week) but the work doesn’t actually feels like work anymore.
-I’m not cool anymore! (wtf is the definition of cool anyway and who the fuck gets to define it in the first place?!😒😎)
-I had to give up my beautiful apartment and my good life in my beloved NYC to be on the road and pursue the life of adventure my soul was asking for. I got rid of almost all of my belongings, donating them to one of the homeless shelters in the East Village the last day in NYC and packed the rest in 2 suitcases, one backpack and a carryon bag. By getting rid of all that clutter I felt incredibly liberated and much more clear headed, I realized i need very little to be happy!
THE NOW & THE FUTURE
I spent the holidays in Italy with my family. I flew in on Christmas day not sure about how i felt about this massive change in my life—leaving everything i had and knew to embrace a life on the road that I have no idea how it will look like—it’s a bit scary but incredibly exiting! The following days were tough as fuck, my dog Brioches(we’ve been bffs for 11 years) got sick the day after christmas and left us on the 30th, a brutal reminder that everything changes and nothing lasts. I was so sad I thought about going to bed early the following night and skip nye once again but then a new friend invited me to spend the night with them in their countryside’s home and it seemed like a much happier idea.
I did get to welcome 2017 at midnight of the following day. Surprisingly when I got there I found some old friends from ages ago there. It was a beautiful night, I started the new year among new and old friends, good vibes, lots of love around, change in the air, making peace with goodbyes and trusting in the feeling that whatever is in storage, it will be exactly what i need.
I’m getting ready to leave to Asia at the end of this month. Adventures are right around the corner but right now I’m enjoying some stillness in my dad’s house in the mountains. For the first time in my life I have no idea what the future holds. Nothing is set nor certain. Everything could happen.
It feels good!
I’m ready to embrace and accept the changes, challenges, joys and heartbreaks this journey will bring!
Bring it on 2017!
Happy new Years guys, I hope it will be filled with Magic and adventures!