Your story – from where you are born to today
I was born in Naples (IT) in a middle bourgeois family – the kind of family with catholic and strong ethics imprint.
If I have to place myself as I was in the past, I am the kind of ‘perfect girl from perfect background’.
The ‘right’ schools, the ‘right’ university, the post degree master courses either in Italy and abroad (Rome, LUISS Guido Carli; Bruges, College of Europe), working outside my country (at the European Commission in Bruxelles) and then in Naples (first in the Italian Industrial Association, Confindustria; then at the Council as manager). I left Confindustria even if I had a full time job. I had my first manager contract at 31.
So, to say, for many I was having a perfect carrier and a perfect life, also perfect earnings.
But, I was not feeling well. I felt suffocating among obligations, social conventions, conditioning. The work I was doing, the job for which I studied for, for which I learned a lot to be prepared and that I finally got, was tight to me. I was feeling a strong oppression and I was ‘perceiving’ that was not my life but the one others were expecting from me, the others starting from my family.
To have big expectations for a son is not wrong, especially because families love their sons and invest in their interests. And especially when families see the sons reaching those goals they were expecting.
But my job as manager at the Council was heavy, I was every day in contact with politics, and it was a bad politics. It was not having discretion nor values and I was not able to cope with, to accept it, to subordinate myself to it. I was not happy to be part of a system I was deprecating.
I was not tolerating that my time, my brain, my work were dedicated to an activity that was not rewarding me neither was creating nothing really profitable for the community.
By the way, I was also working too much and was not having time for me.
Little by little, this became an obsession.
I was not taking it anymore. And I was frightened to get used to that. There was something deeply wrong in it.
I was feeling very hard the weight to must continue that life forever.
I wished to get rid of it, to return free, to leave, to travel, to explore, to feel, to make some mad things for me. I wanted to LIVE. I wanted something different, I was having thousands of wishes but I was not knowing from which one to start with.
I started from my passions, from the lure the sea was always having on me and from ‘what else’ I was able to do.
My ‘what else’ was sailing and event design. I, so, tried to combine both.
And here I am, I am a skipper and a sailing trainer, then I organize sailing holidays. I provided myself with a website and a facebook page where I promote my activities and tell my story, where I invite everybody to dream with me (actually it is only in Italian but she will work on that very soon www.velaviaconme.it )
Many tried to persuade me to change and few understood this choice. The fear to change is often paralysing many people. And it has been the same, in certain moments, also for me.
After I abandoned everything (on 2011), I understood I was really needing to find freedom.
A deep, conceptual freedom. A responsible freedom.
To be free to choose, to put myself on the line. Also to mistake.
I was searching the freedom to change those wrong things. The freedom to answer no, even if no has always a price to pay. Freedom from fear, because you need to be resolute and brave to go through and leave the comfort zone that can become your lifelong prison.
Today I feel proud and strong. And today I know that it can be done.
How much has been difficult to start (and to continue) a self-initiated activity as yours, so peculiar, in your city?
The most difficult thing has been to leave everything and then remaining in the same city.
It has been very thorny to tell my family what was happening to me. I did not want to take them apart from my choices but I was ready to go on if they were not agreeing.
I have been very lucky. They were understanding, welcoming and helping me when it has been necessary.
But for me to shift from a manager to a freelance skipper and sailing trainer status has been hard: for the psychological impact and for thousand of practicalities. First, my earnings were drastically shrinking and this radically changed my lifestyle.
Money was very few at the very beginning. Also now, but for me is good like that.
Then, there was the fact to radically change the attribution and the job.
I was already having a passion for sailing but not yet solid skills to use them to work.
I had to create those in the years and I still continue nowadays. I had to build my credibility, also a job turnover between sailing schools and charter companies to work in the field.
It has been not easy and I struggled a lot. Also today is uneasy but is working.
Today I work mainly among Naples, Malta, Greece. I spend many months sailing.
Before I worked among France, Corsica, Eolian Islands, Spain, the Caribbean. I needed to leave and make my experiences and then to return.
After four years things are taking their place with lots of more awareness, the mind is free and the hearth is curious. I feel more serenity and more fantasy than before.
Many people (who knew me also ‘before’) link my story only to a sort of carefreeness, the side of the venture depicting the sequence ‘sun-guitar-friends’. They see a fantastic life. And, mostly, they start to speak with me with a ‘Lucky you!’
Behind the ‘lucky you’ there is the lock of the fear. The lock of ‘I would not be able to’. Now I know it. Does not matter if it is a sailing boat, the bar on the beach, another bucolic dream or a simple outing, a change of job or a strong opinion – every time is the dream of freedom that people are haunting. Most of the times, none is enforcing some change to reach it.
I needed braveness, perseverance, determination, spills, dents, delusions, dark moments, fear to do not get what I am today. There is no change free of pain or of pitfalls.
You have been driven (conducted) by such a large passion to change your life and now you ‘conduct’ people toward the richness of emotions like only sailing can do: what do you hate and what do you love of this strong, often uneasy to compromise, lifestyle?
I love the sense of freedom and independence.
The taste is in travelling not in reaching the destination. The best is driving slowly, not only to arrive.
I love the autocracy only a boat can give to you. The self-sufficiency. The fact that you can leave the anchor and go, by having your house with you and, inside, the small things you need.
I love to moor in new places, as I was just discovering them – a modern Argonaut; I love to tour around, to know a country. I love the lyricism of the sunsets when in natural harbours, the waves of the hull under the sail when it slides on the waves, and the starry nights.
I love to see the brains of the people switching on when they realize that what they’ve wearing for a week is reduced to two swimsuits and some sarongs. And I love to see their hearts burning when they achieve that the sea will bring them back to simplicity. That they do not need any frill, the beauty is to be with your swimsuit all the day and just wear a jumper on the night to do not chill when chatting in the cockpit.
I love to convince them that they can wash themselves with one litre of water and being smelling good, with perfect hairs because they just need few fresh water after the day spent to swim.
I love to see them when they disembark with serene faces and free mind, because I recall them when they embarked.
I hate all that I love, because it is hard to renounce to all this freedom, independence and beauty. Because the other side of the coin is to be gipsy, with no anchors, ready to leave always and to go always – this craving does not help in bonds with places and people.
It became hard to compromise in any field, also in love.
A beautiful encounter in recent times?
A sort of ‘shaman’ who works on the energies where I’ve been brought in Paris. Incredible. I will come back as soon as possible.
And a very important personal happening?
A nice, unexpected and not searched love that I am living with astonishment and incredible joy.
And a stunning milestone you felt to have reached in your work?
Just the fact I am doing it, this job, for me is a milestone. As for instance to have website, a facebook page and people who come back with happiness on my boat.
What do you give to your city, we presume 100% Naples doesn’t matter your city can be also the liquid sea, and viceversa?
The sea gets me leaving, Naples (at the moment) gets me back.
Naples is my roots, my loved and hatred city, the escaped and recovered one, it is the Vesuvio that I tattooed in my mind, it is the yellow of Castel dell’Ovo at the sunsets when the north-east wind blows, it is the smell of the sea when there is sirocco, it is the blue glimpse among the roofs when I walk through the neighbours, it is my family and my loves.
The sea is who houses me when I escape, when I need air and space and horizons to fly. It is the stage of the challenge with myself, never with him. It is a travel companion, wise and old, at whom I never disobey.
It is the soundscape of my sleep, the nest of my dreams.
Your favourite food and drink?
What a question 😉 Pasta and red wine.
The music (and the book) with you now?
Varied music, but I am a true jazz lover.
I am reading back Oceano Mare by Alessandro Baricco (they gifted me recently a very yellowed copy, dating 1992 and resting on the shelf by waiting to be picked, I found that very poetic).
A talent you have and the one you miss?
I learn very quickly foreign languages. I love to be in touch with people.
I do not know what I will pay to sing well with the guitar.
What have you learnt, so far, from life?
That we shape our own life everyday.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I really do not know…