Text and photography by Massimo Usai
As I begin to make plans for future travel, I’m thinking about the last place I visited and used it for photo opportunities and inspiring stories to write.
At the same time that I look with optimism at new adventures, the memories of my last trip dance in my head with a rhythm and intensity that seems to me to have a thousand stories to tell, but I know very well that it is not so.
Yet, I would seriously have stories to tell, not only of the last trip, but it seems to me sometimes that I do not have the time and other times that I do not have the necessary calm to do it.
Due to my countless previous lives, I always feel inspired to follow the next episode of the stories I write by always looking into my personal story.
I do not know if it is correct, but lately, I have learned to write without making personal references; I have tried and found joy in inventing situations, characters and places.
I have to develop this aspect more, but if I talk about travel, I can’t talk about fantasy, because a story of a journey must stimulate the idea of seeing that place to those who read and can not be disappointed if that place is only the result of fantasy.
Writing about travel must have coherence with reality; fantasy is not allowed simply because the reader wants to see what you tell, not what you have dreamed.
The longer I travel, the longer my wish list becomes, but the list of regrets also gets longer.
I also know very well that we need to put a point to all these situations.
One day or another, I will.
The last destination I visited was like a journey inside the memory, deep in my emotions and is becoming my favourite destination: Italy!
It’s funny that I make this statement because I’m Italian and it should be the logic, but it has not been so for a long time. Now I feel it’s the best place I’ve travelled to and the best place to travel.
While I started my photographic and travel story journey in Europe, North America and Asia over twenty years ago, the places that touched my heart are always the last.
I think it’s natural, but I also put my hands upfront because it is not sure that the next trip does not make me change my mind about my favourite place and open up an entirely new world in front of me.
WHY IS ITALY THE BEST PLACE TO TRAVEL?
The great Art you see in every corner of Italy is unrivalled in the number of photo opportunities and stories you can be inspired by during a trip.
Behind every window, door or corner of the city, there is a story and a reason to take a photograph and take notes to write about it later.
Just pronouncing the random name of a hundred artists or men of history, who have lived in Italy, would take up more space than I need to write these words in today’s post.
The food, the architecture, the natural beauty, the people, the blue sky: everything is perfect.
As a photographer, I have an immeasurable number of potential photoshoots regardless of how many times I visit this extraordinary country in the future.
Still, I need to go there again because I want many more testimonies and shots, even just for myself.
Choosing only one photo to represent the last trip I made to Italy is not an easy task. Still, usually, there is a series of 4/5 photos among the group of photos I took, and also this time those images are there, and one day, I will show them with pleasure.
During my last visit to Italy, I encountered a sun that created intense temperatures that had not affected the country to this extent in over a quarter of a century.
It was as annoying as having so much heat and hardly any precipitation and persistent dry conditions. It allowed me to experience something unique from a photographic point of view.
I played with solid and hard shadows with complicated physical adaptation due to the sweat running down the curve on my back. I spent the last 20 years shooting mainly with clouds and without shadows; this time was a completely new environment, and I had to change my photographic style.
However, I loved the sunny experience to improve and grow, even if it gave me little chance to sit calmly and write in the evening with the breeze of the Italian summers because that breeze never showed up.
I took a lot of notes, and in the coming months, I hope that many of these notes become stories and not necessarily related to the specifics of travel, but let’s see how things will go. For now, everything has yet to be planned calmly; I still have that travel adrenaline that is going on longer than usual this time around.
The views of particular characters walking in the heat of the cities were among the highlights of travelling, and I can’t wait to turn it all into something solid.
Seeing how strangers easily join discussions between nearby tables to help each other overcome the previous 18 months when as humans, we were stuck in the crazy vortex of a crazy virus was beautiful and touching.
And it was this way of relating, decidedly Italian, that I would like to testify with the kindness of a story that I would like to write with the right words, and I want to do it in Italian, but also with the English language, which remains for me every time I do it, a demanding challenge with myself, as well as exposing myself exponentially to criticism.
In any case, I seriously plan to write about the people I met during the last trip.
Starting from that gentleman sitting next to me in the restaurant and had a great desire to talk that did not make me finish my lunch, up to the guy who cut my hair and in 30 minutes told me all his life, as only a barber in Italy can do.
As the icing on the cake, the intense colour that the fierce sun gave me and offered me the chance to get photos unusually different from my standard, and now I have to think more about this unusual result.
In the end, I realized that it’s always about how you react to a situation that will define the experience for you.
That’s what I’m going to talk about in my stories soon, because in every life, as in nature, a little rain has to fall to grow, but the intense heat can also help to grow.
Maybe this is what I seem to have understood from my last trip.