The passion for experiential travel and for the beauty of the world, as well as for intellectual curiosity, can be healthy and fortunate elements of a life path that brings places and destinations to a crossed place, places that have their uses often associated and memorable.
The cosmos is like a city, a large colorful village, an immense verdant forest or a blue and transparent marine expanse, and the path through these splendid elements can also be made wonderfully interior. Step by step.
That's why, in a particular moment like the one we are experiencing, characterized by isolation, distancing, and proximity tourism, we wanted to try to achieve this more intimate journey with a young influencer, active in the so-called luxury travel sector, a globetrotter that today stop and reflect with us.
Andrea Vetrano, born in 1990, Sicilian, whose Instagram profile now has over 220,000 followers, is very close, by birth (but not only), to generation Z (born between 1995 and 2005, the so-called digital natives), characterized, according to a recent McKinsey study, from a strong ethical attitude and more oriented to the "we", unlike the "millennials" (the Y generation, born between 1980 and 1994), a little more oriented to the "I".
Dialogue, truth, realism, proactivity, super-communication and great interrelation, exchange, different perception and definition of consumption (from possession to access, singularity, that is, a consumption that is a definition of individual identity also in its ethics and awareness of respect of shared environmental and social values), these are some of the elements that unite the younger generations Z and Andrea, with whom we have dialogued.
This resulted in a different journey. We had fun (and reinvented) to make this new exploration. Some classic references have accompanied us, not for pure intellectual spirit, but for the guiding role they have always had. Are you there? Let's go then…
We are looking for a place of retreat, countryside, seaside and mountains; and you too usually desire such isolation strongly. But all this belongs to those who do not have the slightest philosophical instruction, since it is possible, at any time, to withdraw into yourself; because a man cannot retreat to a more quiet or undisturbed place of his soul, especially those who have principles within them that it is enough for them to sink their gaze to immediately reach full well-being: and by well-being, I mean nothing more than the right inner order. So continually grant yourself this retreat and renew yourself; and let the principles be brief and elementary which, as soon as they are met, will be sufficient to purge you of all nausea and to dismiss you without you being annoyed by the things to which you return. In fact, what bothers you? The badness of men? Consider the terms of the problem - that is, rational beings exist for each other; that tolerance is part of justice; who make mistakes without wanting to - and considering how many already, after having harbored enmity, suspicion, hatred, lie pierced, reduced to ashes, stop it, finally! Or maybe your annoyance is also due to the fate that, in the universal order, is assigned to you? He returns with his thoughts to the alternative: "O providence or atoms", and to all the arguments with which it was shown that the cosmos is like a city. Or maybe you will feel touched by the things of the body? He goes back to thinking that the mind does not meddle with the sweet or harsh movements of the vital breath, once it has isolated itself and has become aware of its own power; and then think of everything you have heard about pain and pleasure, and on which you have expressed your assent.
Or will it be the concern of a miserable fame to mislead you? Look at the rapidity of oblivion that affects everything, the abyss of eternity that extends infinitely in both directions, the emptiness of renown, the fickleness and recklessness of those who seem to pay praise, and the distress of the place where fame is limited. Because the whole earth is a point: and what tiny corner of the earth is this home? And, here, how many and which are the men who will praise you? Remember, then, that you can retreat to this field of yours, and above all do not get upset and do not give yourself too much pain, but be free and look at reality as a man, as a human being, as a citizen, as a mortal. And among the principles that will most have to be at hand when you fall back on them, there are the following two. The first: things do not touch the soul, but stand still outside, while the disturbances come only from the opinion that is formed inside. The second: everything you see will transform in an instant and will no longer be, and continually think about the transformation of how many things you have witnessed in person. The cosmos is change, life is opinion.
(Marco Aurelio, Memories)
A journey within us, so that that intimate (re) discovery brings us back to seeing the outside with different eyes. Today the journey is certainly different from the past, it will be for a long time; it requires more intimacy and empathy. New values. We reflect on these concepts to develop our own path. If Marco Aurelio was a great coach, as we would say today, with Andrea we shared that this new, more intimate journey is also such. That is, he becomes a coach himself. Traveling can teach you more than any university course or master, this eclectic influencer tells us.
Surrounding ourselves with different cultures, different people and different visions of life changes all of us a little. This is one of the most beautiful things about the trip as a whole, including culinary traditions. We find ourselves on a constant learning curve while we venture from Europe to the United States, to Asia. Sometimes it can be difficult, especially if you don't understand the language of the host country. In the end, however, traveling will be the best thing you've ever done for yourself. This is because travel broadens our minds and expands upon our worldly wisdom. We are forced to leave our comfort zone because we find ourselves immersed in a new country with a new culture and different habits. They leave behind, if only to take them back later, friends, family foods and languages. But entering new territory is always very exciting. The new horizons and endless new stories that are brought home will be part of us and of the renewed and changed self.
Our exposure to the different, which presuppose openness and acceptance, will feed that happiness of the individual that is represented by the essential, the same essential that is reflected in the light baggage that you carry with you, because, to learn to travel, we are enough, our intimacy and the desire for a meeting. In this Andrea admits that he started to appreciate traveling alone. Traveling alone gives you the opportunity to listen to your instincts and control the direction you want to go to. They allow you to reflect on your decisions and find out more about who you really are. Spending even a minimum time in solitude will allow you to embark on an inner journey of self-discovery. Probably the most important lesson that travel gives is to rediscover yourself more powerful than previously thought.
Importance of the journey ...
The survival of a city does not depend on the righteousness of the men who live there, but on the woods and swamps that surround it.
We should also take the shortest walk in a spirit of immortal adventure, never return, ready to get rid of our atrophied hearts as with relics from our desolate realms.
(Henry David Thoreau)
Personally I love walking, Andrea confesses, especially if surrounded by nature. For some years he has been practicing forest bathing, which is inspired by Japanese practice (shinrin-yoku). A beautiful point in common, we talked about it in the past. We all know how good nature can make us feel, we have known it for centuries. The sounds of the forest, the scent of the trees, the light of the sun playing through the leaves, the fresh and clean air, all these things give us an immense sense of comfort and serenity. Relieves stress and worries, helps us to relax and think more clearly. Being in nature can restore our mood, restore energy, peace and vitality, refresh and rejuvenate us.
All of this, taking advantage of the "energetic" patience that of Gandhi, active and targeted, that same patience that is also expected confidently that we have learned so much in the last period. We also asked Andrea how to use this patience, just to him who still cannot travel again today. He simply replied that in an era like today, characterized by speed and frenzy, where there seems to be no place for slowness, often painted as negative, he believes that life is a question of balance, where there is no real balance between speed and slowness. Without the latter, you cannot cultivate a gift that many ancient cultures have always associated with people in peace with themselves: patience, in fact.
Learning to be patient serves to eliminate stress and to have a more peaceful life, but it is also fundamental to find your own coordinates of happiness. Always treasuring the energy, or the force in action, the dynamic force of the spirit that manifests itself as the ability to act. That force that we must now find and rediscover and which, also for Andrea, means listening to oneself, rereading, rethinking, because the journey itself allows you to create that circle of energy that makes us feel part of something big and in harmony with the universe.
As we travel the world, and that of luxury that Andrea has long been frequenting as an influencer, now contacted by the world's biggest chains, our traveler pays ever greater attention to the balance with the planet. This element, however, does not escape the world of high profile tourism. We asked ourselves, then, how, in these contexts, we can do upcycling, a concept we like, an operation of reinvention starting from parts of discarded objects, where everything can be transformed into something new, useful and original (while recycling involves the reuse of the material after a passage - fusion, crushing - which brings the material back to the state of raw material, upcycling involves the creation of a new product by reusing the object itself, in whole or in part, through creative methods, for a purpose that may be the same or even very different from what it was made for). How to do this on the trip? Andrea reflects on it and immediately applies the idea to his journey. To do upcycling, he tells me, it certainly takes objects or materials, at first, but also and above all the ability to rethink a piece of the world, one's own or that of others, to discover that there are no bad or outdated things, but only things that deserve a second chance. The use of sustainable materials is highly appreciated by customers in the tourism sector. So even an extra effort is well rewarded and will give the added value of contributing to the well-being of the planet.
The "third intelligence"
Caring for the environment is not a movement or an ideology is our next evolutionary step (...) Because man is an animal with a particular ecological niche to be safeguarded: the entire planet Earth.
After Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman sends another strong message to the international community: there is an ecological intelligence that is part of our innate potential baggage, an intelligence that knows that we are part of life and that we work with its same laws. In a living system, each event triggers a series of chain repercussions, generating effects sometimes even far from the starting point but decisive on the functioning of the system itself (the so-called butterfly effect). Being a "child of life", the human being is spontaneously able to grasp the complexity and can develop an awareness of the impact of each of his actions on the systems of which he is a part. It participates in the evolution of life on Earth, we are part of the same process to which we emerged and we are now jointly responsible for it, co-creators is an increasingly used term.
With Andrea, we asked ourselves what role this third intelligence of ours can play in travel… In recent years, traveling in an ecological way has become a responsible choice. By now we should all be aware that any of our attitudes or habits has a profound effect on the now fragile ecosystem that surrounds us. Each of us must always contribute in all circumstances. Examples of drag. This is why Andrea has often decided to share his thoughts. It is essential for him to feel connected to the energies that surround him and slow down the pace when he travels.
Balance (not giving up) and rediscovery
In cities without Sea, who knows who people turn to find their balance, maybe the moon. (Banana Yoshimoto)
After the shock that we all received, where (re) to find the lost balance, in which places and how ...? Andrea was born in a city near the sea and always finds great emotions in it. Describing them in words is not easy, but the feeling of peace and well-being that you feel when you are in the water is total. When he leaves, he usually prefers seaside resorts because he feels particularly attached to it. During the lockdown, he also made rediscoveries of nearby places often identifying. This period of isolation has allowed many closed places to undergo maintenance and restyling, with the necessary care for sometimes even very delicate structures. If we think of Scipione Borghese, who wanted his gallery to be a place of hospitality, open and welcoming, we reflect on the fact that today, the Romans will be able to take back those spaces, in the absence of many foreigners who in the past represented 70% of visitors. It is a real invitation. We expect more local tourism, proximity, to the rediscovery of our values?? and our culture. If Andrea thinks of his Sicily, which he loves very much, one of the most beautiful and fascinating regions of Italy, rich in history, wonderful beaches and suggestive naturalistic landscapes, this summer he would like to deepen his knowledge and rediscover, perhaps together with the readers, the enchanting villages, such as Cefalù, Marzamemi, Erice, Salemi and Petralia Soprana. The lost balance is found in nature, perhaps within us and close to us. Closer than you think.
I love luxury. And luxury lies not in richness and ornateness but in the absence of vulgarity. Vulgarity is the ugliest word in our language. I stay in the game to fight it.
The pandemic changes the idea of adventure and the relationship with the world. This is an "urbanophobic" virus that hates cities and everything urban (Marco d’Eramo, The selfie of the world, Feltrinelli). Social distancing, as the removal of bodies, has turned into a gap between classes. As for the silence, isolating yourself before was a luxury (but where then?), Today it is even more (and where now?). Is this a form of cocooning? City planners create "infection free" places. We won't like it ... how to accept it? How to maintain equity and balance, if by luxury we mean the absence of vulgarity and not trivial wealth? We asked ourselves many questions ... But Andrea still follows me. Tireless and curious.
Our territory is characterized by large spaces, he says. We think of the many beaches, the pine forests, the salt marshes, the mountains, all elements on which to focus to guarantee those who choose us a good quality of life during their holiday. Every operator, from the smallest to the largest, will have to find a new identity. A study by global consultancy HVS London found that the future generation of travelers believe that luxury means having unique and enriching life experiences. Andrea shares this statement.
The most important thing is to make an impact on the guests' memories. The pandemic made him reflect a lot on the link between ecosystem protection and health. Many luxury hotels participate in a sustainability program that promotes environmental protection practices. Innovation and eco-efficiency ensure that customers perceive the atmosphere of the place better and enjoy a healthy diet, in order to make themselves and Mother Nature happy. Are we facing a new way of traveling?
Andrea Vetrano was born in Catania in 1990 and is a well-known luxury travel expert (and now influencer) for over 220 thousand followers on Instagram. For work, visit some of the most beautiful places and hotels/resorts in the world. Collaborate with some of the most famous and prestigious brands in the world such as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and Kempinski.