When you fall deep deep down, it takes you a while to actually realise where you are. And then, either you have the right people around you who help you to show the way out, unless you find it yourself. Or maybe you don’t. And you fall deeper and deeper until your head crashes at the bottom. That bottom, where there are no friends, no family members to whom you can stretch a hand to. In the end, you don’t want to bother anyone from “down there” anyway.
It’s not new to say that travelling is a great healer hence why so many of us hit the road with the hope that some things will change or that we are going to transform ourselves. And those of you who have become new different persons and who have found your “medicine” on the road know that being a nomad works for you.
Meeting Carlo Taglia, a nomad who travelled 95,450 km without flights for 526 days around 24 countries is wonderful evidence of how much the road can give to you, if you are brave enough.
“All hard changes give me something”.
Carlo (29) is born and grows up in Turin, an industrial city where smoky clouds affect not only the air you breath but also your mood. Being a teenager, negative thoughts about himself are a common part of Carlo’s life. In his late teens, he is not comfortable with himself any more and with a feeling of being an alien in a country that does not give him any reward, his depression rises. At that time, he almost dies after an overdose at a concert in Germany.
After this experience, Carlo goes to Tarifa in Spain to find a job. It’s the first time he is alone and completely responsible for what he’s doing. He works in an Italian pizzeria and just feels this is the right thing to be doing. Like-minded people start to come into his life. He decides to help build a bar near the sea with some friends. After the season in Tarifa finishes, Carlo comes back to Italy to work as a barman.
“The bus was my home”.
Another life changing experience comes when Carlo goes to Pakistan to volunteer for an NGO, which he manages to find only in Kashmir, near the Pakistan border. He is looking for a new eye-opening experience and he is eager to learn about a different culture. In Kashmir Carlo helps the NGO with their educational and program and sanitation duties. It’s the first time he gives a hand to someone and it makes him feel great. He organises a football tournament after he sees that they play only cricket which he is not a big fan of. Whilst there he receives lots of love and passion from the people around which warm his heart a lot.
From the very beginning of his adventures, Carlo travels mainly by bus. In this way, not only can he immerse with locals, but also because this particular mode of transport has become a way of meditation for him now.
He returns to Italy and suddenly nothing is the same. He again struggles to be in the same environment which he originally has run away from so he returns to Tarifa again to work in the bar he’s helped to build.
The road was calling him perpetually so next he decides to travel to Australia to work in a factory and also as a gardener in Sydney so he can fund his travels. He saves 5000 euros within seven months and has an idea to travel to South America to open a bar there. Instead, he gets a call with bad news about his mother’s terminal disease and he has to go home.
“Now is the time to like my life again”.
He then starts to work as a barista in a disco club which means a way back into parties and drugs. After few months of that job Carlo travels to Barcelona, where he goes on with the previous lifestyle and lives the darkest moment of his life. He then receives another call and he returns home to stay with the mother during her last four months.
This is a break-point for him as he realises how fragile and unpredictable a human life can be. He feels at that moment too young to surrender and he decides that he wants to live life to the full from now on. But being aware of the fact he needs to be financially independent to live his dream, he applies for a regular job in a photovoltaic company. The goal is clear – to earn and save money so he can travel again and he keeps this mantra for himself whilst working in an office for ten hours per day for three years.
“I’ve accepted the worst and discovered the best of me”.
But something changed in Carlo’s perception before the next trip he’s saved money for. If before he was travelling to escape from the society, family and himself, a crucial thought before this trip is to accept what has happened.
Carlo leaves for Nepal. He dreams of conquering the Holy Mountain to take energy from the mountains so he can start his long-term trip. “The mountains are a school of life for me. They teach you to keep yourself determined until the end”, he says.
“I’ve brought an instrument”.
Freeing himself from the past is not all about becoming very positive and balanced from one day to another. Carlo experience a few transformational moments that modify him into the person he is now, e.g. a night in a tent surrounded by wolves in −20C temperature, visiting Peshawar near Afghanistan border, supporting regularly a family in India or a trip to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.
There are some lessons he takes from his teachers of the road, especially from three in particular: a shaman in the Amazon jungle, a monk in Thailand and a guru in India. Thanks to them he learns how to cope with his thoughts, problems and to be more present. Moreover, he starts to look for a balance between spirituality and humanity too.
During his travels, Carlo Taglia keeps writing a diary that becomes a book called “Vagamondo” in 2013. He also wins the Narcissus Monthly Awards and is planning at this moment to translate his book into English and possibly Spanish.
Currently he is based in Berlin, from where he is planning to start his next trip to Thailand.
To talk to Carlo is like watching a palpitating documentary movie with a touching personal story behind. It’s like reading a biography of a person whose life swings from the very top to the ultimate bottom and you are awaiting how it all ends up. It’s like listening to a story-teller who talks about himself in the third person but you know he is sharing his own storybook.
And you know there are much more stories gone unspoken, not finished, but living their own vibrant, yet peaceful, intimate, yet highly motivating life.
The life of a nomad with a warm heart.
If you want to follow Carlo’s adventures, you can do it by following his Facebook fan page and his website.
To read more about his travel stories from around the world, you can buy his book “Vagamondo” (only in Italian for now).