What do I say to my friends when they ask, “When are you coming back?”

“When are you coming back?”

A seemingly simple question, but one that is sometimes not at all easy to answer.

The first time I left Italy was September 2020 and now I’m on my second work experience abroad. In both cases, after a couple of months I started to get that fateful question.

I miss a lot of “home”, starting with my family and ending with my friends. It is precisely of them and my relationship with the friends that I want to talk to you in this article.

They, unfortunately or fortunately, know me so well that they know that there is no real answer to this question (and there never was), because I never asked myself when I would return. Surely part of the problem is the particular situation at hand, but in any case, between work and other things, it wouldn’t be easy to come back often anyway.

When I left for Brighton for my first experience abroad, I didn’t purchase any return tickets. That’s because I didn’t have, or even want, the slightest idea of when I would return home.

For the Christmas holidays or shortly after? Or would I not return until the following summer?

My intention was not to return anytime soon, so whenever my friends would ask, “When are you planning on coming back?” I would always be left speechless and with a dumbfounded expression.

In the end, for various reasons that I won’t explain here, I returned to Italy sooner than I thought, but not for long. Two months later, in fact, in February 2021, I got back on a plane with a one-way ticket, this time to Malta. Different destination, same idea in my head: neither Jacopo nor I have, in fact, a more or less precise return date.

We left with the spirit that Jacopo likes (and that I also adore on these occasions), that is, organizing only the departure, thinking “Then we’ll see what happens”. If you’re thinking that, it’s not a matter of irresponsibility or lightness, it’s simply that we both feel freer and are convinced that we’ll only get the things that are meant for us at that precise moment. In fact, over the past year, I’ve learned a stern lesson: what isn’t meant for you, won’t happen; no matter how hard you may fight or wish for that thing, it won’t happen.

It’s not a pessimistic thought, but over the past few years I’ve become more and more convinced that yes, you have to fight for your dreams, but in the end only the ones that are meant to come true at that very moment will come true.

Anyway, this was a “blow” that I experienced on my skin, but that’s okay. Life, understood as living without fear or regret, works this way and is special because of it.

Of course, it’s not for everyone to set out blindly and without any certainty. It is normal to search for certainties. However, it all depends on how important these certainties are to you. Jacopo and I, perhaps because we get bored easily, prefer to live more freely, or rather, more “lightly”. It’s not easy to feel free in this period, unfortunately, but the feeling of having only a ticket, a suitcase and a dream… simply has something wonderful about it, even if it’s difficult to explain.

When I told you about how I moved to England with very little money and only a room rented for 15 days, I meant it. I had no idea what I was going to do from day 16 on! I won’t deny that I was anxious, yes I was, but the anxiety was outweighed by the adrenaline for what I was doing.

It’s true, I like to be organized in life, to have the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly, but when it comes to traveling it’s different. I don’t want to have an expiration date, much less leave knowing right away when that adventure of mine, if you want to call it that, will end. It’s like having a watch on my back that tells time for me. Instead, I want to think that I can stay in a place as long or as little as I want, until I find something better or until I get tired of living there.

It’s a feeling that makes me feel free.

Of course, it also has its cons, I can’t deny that. These very cons are why, when my friends ask me when I’m coming home, I can’t give them an answer.

I would love to see them and my family again; as I said, I miss “my home” so much, even though I know I don’t want to live there, but it is my home. Despite this, when I left for abroad, even if I didn’t have any plans, I still had the intention of one day settling down somewhere else in the world, after having toured it a bit, so it’s normal that I don’t want a return date.

I still haven’t figured out my place in the world and I have few certainties.

However, my friends have one of them: ours is a love bet!

(Thank you Gloria, Tania, Stefania, Simona, Benedetta, Aurora and Gaia for being part of my life for so long and despite the distance; thank you for always supporting me in my choices. I love you, deeply, each one of you).

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