First blog post – RoadIsLife.blog

Genoa, August 11th, 2018 , 03:30 CET

Dear friends,

I decided to take inspiration for the title of my first Blog from a brief quote by Jack Kerouak, “the road is life“, who seemed to long for the journey as an essential part of life. “Road” understood metaphorically, as a practical reality of the journey. Air travel, in my case, but always travel.

The journey has been and is for me more a professional need that mystical as Kerouak, but I understand that its frequency is directly proportional to the knowledge of the world and of itself that you are brought to do during its development.

In just a few hours an air journey allowed me to drastically change landscapes and cultures and made me always unprepared to what I previously believed. And every new discovery made me open a little more to the next one and its loads of new Experiences and benefits.

My life in the last 5 years of travel has changed radically and I decided to describe in this Blog these changes to get some ideas of life that corroborate with my experiences of life lived after forty years the theoretical principles to which I had inspired the life of the first forty.

In these 5 years I have gone without really wanting it from a routine life based on the solid points of reference of a solid family with concrete objectives and life projects, to a life in which the only constant are the values ​​that as a father I brought inside and that have been tested by the Experiences.

I guarantee the genuineness of the contents of this space in respect of the confidentiality of those involved and I hope that the visitors with whom I will share these experiences will find a point for reflection in whatever state of their life they are.

As told by ancient Romans to say goodbye, “Ave atque Vale”.

Paolo

 

Here, always on the road

More than a year has passed since my last article on this blog and an infinite number of things have happened in the world and in my life, always on the theme “Road is life” and I’m glad to continue to note is that life is always a psychological and experiential journey in which it is necessary to remain alert, proactive, humble, curious and if possible …. calm.
For this reason, the image above represents a serene landscape, captured at sunset during a recent Tuscany trip this winter.

Professional experience teaches me that fortunes come and go and, no matter how hard you try, you are unable to control them, no matter how much you plan everything, sooner or later something happens that forces you to reconsider everything.
So I think we must always be confident and proactive, not be overwhelmed by adversity and be always ready to review plans, negotiating solutions always with a collaborative approach.

The financial situation can also suddenly change therefore, while it’s normal to raise our standard of living when things are going well, we must always be on the alert of possible failures and be ready to face moments of difficulty with optimism and even a good dose of courage, like an investor who bets on a good project in times of difficulty on the market.

Even the evaluation of historical and political events must be removed from all the extreme accents that lead to excessive trust or extreme desperation in ourselves or in our own country. We must get away from both the nationalist and populist drifts of these years and the eas readings of history as studied (unfortunately superficially) at school.

Flexibility, adaptability and optimism were the qualities that allowed the human race to evolve in history anyway, which allow companies to grow and overcome difficulties and these virtues must allow each individual to move forward in adversity, without being pleased with results obtained but without even breaking down in the face of the obstacles that life poses.simbolo

As exemplified in the concept of Yin and Yang, good and bad always mix, both in the history of peoples and in the individual history of each.
Just as life sometimes seems hard but then leaves space to recover colors and joy, so I think we must maintain a balance in evaluating ourselves, others and the events in which we live in our history.

Any of our guilt from the past can be compensated for by the good deeds we do in the present, just as we must not delude ourselves that people close to us are immune to defects or from committing mistakes and then realizing one day that we had overestimated them. We are all a mixture of positive qualities and defects, but if everyone is aware of it, it is easier to maintain a more objective judgment.

See you next time!
Paul

IMG_0031Lake Brugneto, Liguria, Italy

Moscow, a door to a unique land

Here we are in this mid-autumn afternoon finally arrived in the magnificent Red Square on the east side of the Kremlin Palace, the sun that is setting over the crenellated walls of the castle and its gothic Spasskaya Tower whose clock is ringing. Everything around us is full of history, art and majesty.

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If you have arrived you also means that you have done your homework as a good tourist by having a visa at the Russian embassy in your country, a procedure that will not be easy, given the complexity of the documents requested. But now the visa shows off in your passport so you’ve managed to gain access to Russia.

We are in Moscow. It is certainly not like experimenting Russia with the exterminating spaces that unite Eastern Europe with the Far East, a melting pot of different races and a country with the largest surface in the world. But it is still your first experience in this land.

Moscow, however, is the gigantic monumental capital of one of the oldest states and has most played a part in the recent history of mankind, at least in the last three hundred years. Moscow is the access for all of us to a dimension of the experience of the world that could not be done otherwise.
150 million people live in the boundless Country of which Moscow is the Capital, enclosed in 5 time zones and two continents, the Country with the greatest geographical extension to the world and the endless natural resources and which contains the most potentially strong economic structure in the world. This is a Giant that sleeps and that is slowly waking up.

If we do not reach Moscow for the first time, we can not find the key to this world new for us “Westerners”, made of history, human and cultural experiences, socio-economic awareness, and then exterminated nature and spaces. Like entering the antechamber of a palace with many rooms to be discovered.

Therefore Moscow means mystery and research of new keys to the reading of the world and of history. On this Red Square where you find yourselves were victorious and defeated sovereigns, processions of prelates, deluded armies, invincible armies which  fortunately never entered into action and workers demonstrating for their rights. Where you are, the story has always passed powerfully and continues to hover. Why needless to say, Russia is the most powerful nation with the greatest economic potential in the world.

Before this trip, you had ideas and preconceptions about Russia given by having lived for many years in the West. But according to the ideas of this blog trying to go beyond our pre-established mental formats, you realise that, as each person can see positive and negative sides, even in this country you risk losing the many positives focusing only on the defects.

But Moscow has grown too fast especially in the last twenty years and not all that glitters is gold. Along the road that brought you to the Red Square you have met an incredible level of traffic on the gigantic 7-lane highways and the silhouettes of gigantic buildings where thousands of people live in silent hives. And among the people you met who live in these suburbs, depression and resignation reign. None of them will be able to participate in the benefits of this economic explosion because they are like the obscure stokers of the transatlantic who sailed the seas in the nineteenth century and they are needed only to move the Giant we were talking about.

So much history has passed on the Red Square. The images that are most vivid in my historical memory are those of the soldiers of Napoleon’s Grand Army who arrived there occupying the Kremlin Palace but that after a few days had to abandon it having finished the provisions that had been taken away by the inhabitants. Or those of the Red Army parades in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum in front of the hierarchy of the Communist Party.
Traces of the history of this city can be found in the Kremlin museums or in the History Museum on the Red Square. If you are also lucky enough to visit them with a kind local guide the visit will be even more appreciated!

Needless to say, this country will be back on these pages in the coming months hoping I will be able to document the other features and possibly the evocative corners of this majestic Capital.

Our first experience in Moscow, however, could not but conclude with experimenting the Russian cuisine in a typical traditional restaurant, an experience that will leave us pleasantly surprised. My menu of the day is obviously made of “Russian salad”, then the traditional beetroot soup of eastern Europe Borscht, “Vareniki” stuffed pasta rolls and chocolate pancakes as dessert,  all wet from the traditional cherry lemonad. Delicious!

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All around us the place exudes Russia, the skis shoes, the mural painting with Yuri Gagarin, the CRT TV and the old refrigerators that have to populate the past and the experiences of most of these 150 million stokers who keep the Mother Russia moving. People who will not participate in the success of this huge Giant and that day after day will be consumed in traffic, with almost no hopes for a better future and to whom we wish good luck while we redo suitcases to return to our world of security and illusions.

“Dasvidania” and “spasibo” for your attention!
Пол

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Surprises in the East

After various articles on my experiences in the metaphorical journey of my life in these crucial years of my forties, it is finally time to start sharing some of my real travel experiences, which by the way is the ultimate goal of my Blog.

Rather than talking about more common destinations that I have experienced, Id’ like to start from more peculiar destinations that have brought me suggestions such as those very east of the river Rhine, Eastern Europe and Russia, Countries culturally distant but very stimulating from a historical, political and social point of view given my roots in Western Europe.

I was born in the early seventies and grew up in the shadow of the American TV series broadcasted in the eighties in my Country and the Hollywood acclaimed movies of the nineties, largely oriented to highlight the qualities of the Western life system in the cultural battlefield between East and West that was the Cold War.

At the time “Russians” were considered all those who lived generically beyond the notorious Iron Curtain (whose the stylised map above refers to), whether they were really of Russian origin or they generally lived in Eastern European countries, sealed beyond the reticulates that marked the border with the European West. The “Russians” were generally seen as faceless peoples living in dark cities, ready to move like single-color armed forces to subjugate “our beautiful Europe”.

On the contrary, thousand opportunities awaited by looking at the shiny lifestyle of the “Americans” who lived in our West: national parks, enchanting landscapes, cities full of lights, endless entertainment and warm people largely descending from our European ancestors as well.

None of us at the time would have ever imagined only of comparing these two lifestyles, one made of freedom, nature, monuments and moral values, the other in fact described by the only term “communist” or “red” and of which one was also uninterested in wanting to know anything more.

In reality this was the political goal for which the Cold War had fought from the West, much more culturally than militarily , for the goal to make our liberal model prevail over the communist one.

I do not mean here to debate the pros and cons of these two economic and social models, even if in the end history has decreed the victory of the liberal one.

In the past, a trip to Eastern Europe would have been impossible due to the inviolability of the borders but, even when the barriers fell in the late eighties, there was little incentive for an average citizen of the West like me to discover something more of the East if not of the old Austrian and Russian kingdoms’ capitals of Prague, Budapest and St. Petersburg, or places impressed in the history of man as the infamous Auschwitz camp.

With the end of the communist oppression of Eastern Europe, this “undercover world” gradually opened up, first offering Companies production opportunities at infinitely lower costs than in the West, then slowly tourism began to touch even lesser-known places and states, starting from the Baltic countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, also favoured by the entry of these countries into the European Union.

As part of this new phase of my professional life, I began to make myself aware of how much Eastern Europe has to offer from the point of view of opportunities for doing business, the possibility of visiting surprising natural places or observing civil and religious monuments of the highest quality and the pleasure of meeting interesting people whose past is in many ways more stimulating as they couldn’t enjoy  the freedom as we did.

Despite the shortness of my business trips and the fact that their primary purpose is purely professional, I always leave a couple of free hours in my agenda to savour some of the places I visit and immortalise them in photographs that become a sort of my travel diary .

Places of particular interest that I have so far discovered and that I would like to tell you in the next articles more about, were the surprising and vital Czech Republic, the proud and luxuriant Lithuania, the “Parisian” Budapest, the monumental Bucharest and the elegant and historical Moscow, which has been my latest destination in chronological order. Of course the more my discovering, the more my reports will be shared in the Blog.

I would like to start from Moscow in the next article, to tell of the place where I have most breathed the weight of history and its incredible growth potentials.

So we’re gonna meet in a few days in the middle of the Red Square, in front of Lenin’s Mausoleum. Do not forget to get a Russian visa otherwise you can not keep me company!

Paolo

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“If you build it they will come”

This quote is at the top of the list of the most relevant quotes in the history of cinema and comes from a late-eighties film titled “Field of Dreams” directed by Phil Alden Robinson and starring Kevin Koster and Burt Lancaster among others, a film about the crazy idea of ​​the protagonist (Ray Kinsella) of investing all of his resources to build a baseball field in his farm by removing all his corn plantation as inspired by dreams and visions of former pro players willing to come to play on it. But in the process Ray discovers himself and his own values. A film therefore talking about dreams, hope and madness in believing in the impossible to achieve the incredible.

This sentence has always been special to me because, as in the film from which the protagonist was faced with the need to embark on a mad enterprise for which he felt an intuition that led him to firmly believe in his business despite all adversity. So the idea that there is no limit to our dreams if not in our mind is a suggestive element of my reflection today.

Dreams almost impossible but in which it is believed and for which it has persevered are often those of successful entrepreneurs in innovative sectors that have created successful global companies and brands. The most shining examples are John Rockefeller (who revolutionized the oil industry at the end of the nineteenth century), Henry Ford (first large-scale car manufacturer), Thomas Edison (the inventor of modern electricity), Sam Walton (Wal-Mart), Walt Disney, Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple and Pixar), Richard Branson (Virgin), Elon Musk (Tesla), Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google), Jerry Yang and David Filo (Yahoo!), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Niklas Zennström (Skype), Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA).

All these successful entrepreneurs have in common boundless courage, huge confidence in themselves and the ability to focus their efforts to develop ideas that have revolutionized the world and the market despite no one believed them even though they started from nothing.

Without people who looked beyond the then know reality and knowledge the human race would not have progressed. Of course one can judge the quality of this progress according to one’s own convictions. Without the cars invented by Ford, there would probably be less pollution, without Iphone and Mac there would be other products on the high-tech market, without Tesla’s electric cars, we could have certainly having cars as we could definitely have had coffees without Starbucks. But undoubtedly progress such as that brought by innovative and visionary entrepreneurs such as those above have certainly elevated the human race.

So the concept of believing in the vision before everyone and with the utmost conviction is the basis of any successful initiative in the professional field.

But I believe the same concept can also be applied to interpersonal relationships, when believing in the value of people and persevering can create the best and long lasting relationships: “perseverance” or “consistency” are the keywords I would use.

Demonstrating that one really cares about someone through concrete, constant and continuous actions really gives people the sense of affection we feel for them. So it all starts with getting to know ourselves first and what we rally want, shaping our “vision” like the entrepreneurs above, but in this case having clear values ​​that we intend to pursue and reward with our time and our efforts. So if we believe in friendship we’ll have to show that we hold to our friends, if we want to pursue a professional career we have to choose the paths that allow us to fulfil our aspirations, if we believe in love we have to prove it with concrete and constant gestures.

As in the case of the baseball field of the film mentioned above, the great achievements the human will has reached are therefore the results of the process in which someone believed he could achieve something unthinkable and applied himself with all his means to do so.

I wish you to be on your way to fulfil your boldest dreams.

Paolo

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Sunset from Camogli (Genoa, Italy)

 

Surprises beyond the horizon

The horizon has always been synonymous with the unknown. In the middle ages when people did not have the geographic knowledge of today they even believed that beyond it there was nothing but the border of the Earth as flat as a coin!

Beyond the horizon, however, there were peoples with incomprehensible languages ​​and different habits, climatic conditions completely unknown. Even civilisation as ambition and as invincible in their time as the Roman Empire or the Napoleonic Empire failed to govern for a long time as they conquered by force expanding beyond of their natural environment. Neither the “commercial” expansion granted the British Empire a lasting dominion but a false expectation of being able to control the majority of the countries of the known world until the nineteenth century with the largest colonial system that was the Commonwealth. And then history reduced its ambitions.
Human ambitions to dominate what is beyond their natural horizon have always failed in the long run because their approach has always been to forcibly bend the less developed peoples to their own cultural models.

I do not intend to take any position in favor of or against imperialistic economic policies, because they have also had positive effects from a cultural or civil point of view, but I would simply demonstrate that, also if the world has evolved making distances much  shorter  and traveling much faster, people is today objectively much more mentally isolated as it’s much more attracted by the routines of life within local communities where rules are known and in general has ensured comfort (at least mental).

The habits consolidated for generations, the comfort of the linguistic habits, the proximity to the original “family cores” are all elements that favor remaining anchored to their communities and live lives as within “mental prisons” boundaries even without realising it how limited these lives can turn into.

The concept of traveling most people have seems to be to “rest” from the stress of everyday life, “exploiting” the natural beauty of remote places that are visited for the sole purpose of escaping from the routine, in order to capture a moment of that feeling of discovering the unknown beyond the “mental horizon” allows.
Something similar as the feeling of spectators going back home after a very engaging movies that took them of the routine for a couple of hours the theatre.

Yet the horizon as a “mental concept” opens up the possibility of having new opportunities for life, work, experience, knowledge, being in contact with new people, routines, realities different from the usual ones and being able to rediscover the pleasure of the almost endless new opportunities the world offers.

Mental horizon can therefore also be only one’s own city or local community, whose limited opportunities are satisfied, but also the circle of people around us, limiting their possibilities to be fully realized as individuals. Or the social rules created by generations of cultural models that have imposed extended families as “clans” almost impermeable to external influences.
The nationalist political movements that are taking root particularly in Europe and in the USA are nothing more than the defensive response of this “looking-backward” scheme that should protect against the fear of the unknown.

But if we really open your minds and hearts to what positive can be beyond the horizon we might really reborn and improve our little world and leave a mark through a life that is so short that it makes no sense to protect our own comfort which is as short as the blink of the eyes in the economy of History.

The best period of my life is  the one I have been living since I expanded my mental horizons thanks to a very stimulating job that allows me to test on my skin on a daily basis the benefits of these increased exchanges of experiences with the world, and which I am sure are enriching both myself and the people I meet.

I wish you could also find the strength to break the mental barriers and to open up to discover the surprises that await beyond the horizon.

Paolo

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Are all our efforts worth? Yes

In a life full of personal and professional commitments like my life and that of millions of people in the world, it often happen to feel lost in the apparent disorientation of a negative answer to the question in the subject.

Yet everything we do brings consequences in the people around us. Consequences positive or negative, but anyway we leave a mark even if we do not think about it. Often we do not understand that that extra word or that smile left on the face at that moment has brought positive consequences to the people who we were close that day.

Of course we can affect people’s lives also in the negative but, apart from rare cases where we really have responsibilities, I believe that anything negative can be compensated when we leave a positive mark such as mentioned above.

When we find ourselves overloaded with responsibilities, deadlines and commitments it seems that everything around us is negative but it is enough just to pass the moment of difficulty and then things improve. As in a scale, the plate sometimes hangs from one side sometimes from the other but you can easily find a way to balance it.

In my life I experience this condition of despair sometimes but I realize that I have to just look a bit further to find all the elements that can show me that there are so many good gifts around me.

The family, understood as those ties carried forward in good and evil by a life and that anyway represent the testimony that we can go on and overcome every negative moment.

The world around us, understood as the nature and the people we can observe everywhere we turn and we should always thank Life every day for. We take for granted the act of having all this around us every day just because we have not experienced losing ourselves in the desert or at sea and risking not to see it again.

The positive gestures of people towards us. Maybe we think that they are due but we should appreciate them more without considering them due. It would be like making a positive recharge!

The health. Sometimes taken from the frenzy of life we forget how incredibly important a gift is the health that is given to us every day. Around us people get sick, even our dearest loved ones, and we can not but take advantage of what we have more than them, trying to balance the moments of despair thinking that things could also go (much) worse should we been ill.

In general, from my experience of the last 5 years I must say that I thank Life for what it has brought me, either positive and (perceived) negative experiences, ,as they have shaped my character making it probably more aware, open to new and able to not give up in front of negative moments.

In the future I will talk about my experience with religion and how this also contributes to the flow of thoughts referred to in these reflections of mine.

In conclusion, therefore, in answer to the question of the title, Yes, I really believe that Life, with all the difficulties and efforts that we must profuse every day, it is worthwhile to always be lived enjoying every moment.

Paolo

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London City view from northern suburbs

An helping hand in the storm

In these notes I want to talk about the positive experiences that have happened to me in the last few years when someone has believed in me even in the most difficult times.

When you are over 40 and you have a career made up of routine work you naturally tend to consider the stability of work and the financial security that it entails, without thinking that this could stop at any moment. You think that by now the risk phase has passed and you can maintain such a stability for a long time, probably up to retirement age.

It is common in human nature to forget that everything is temporary, from health to financial resources, to the success achieved. Everything can really collapse quickly, just as an earthquake destroys within a few seconds everything that has been built sometimes in hundreds of years.

But what has to remain also in the hardest times are the values ​​with which one has lived and the personal relationships that have been built over time. If everything collapses around us, we remain here, with our unique values ​​and with what we have “sown” over time, and that sooner or later will be returned to us in the form of appreciation and support and sometimes, even unthinkably, new ways will open up because of that.

I am not referring only to the principle of reciprocity for which we tend to give back to someone what we have received, but in general to the fact that systematically practicing the habit of helping creates the conditions for which we will be returned sooner or later what we gave.

In general, everyone would do better to have a Plan B that contemplates the actions to be taken if things were to stop abruptly. It is not just a matter of stipulating a life insurance policy but of already contemplating the possibility that one finds oneself suddenly on the ground, mentally preparing oneself.

Needless to say, I speak from experience of what happened in the last years when I unexpectedly received a concrete support from those who believed in me in the most difficult moments. I do not say that I had previously practiced widely this theory of free help but I must say that, if my career has been able to continue and start even more satisfactory, all this is due to extraordinary people who believed in the “Paolo-person” even before “Paolo-professional” and from whom I have certainly received much more than what I’ve been able to return so far.

And since then I have a sense of debt that leads me to try to support people who are in difficulty, both in the working envirnomnet and not.

The image I have is like that of the castaway to whom a helping hand is stretched to be pulled aboard the lifeboat during the storm. It is this hand that I believe everyone should continue to lean out of the lifeboat of their lives to collect the “castaways” that we meet every day. Not only professional castaways, but also those shipwrecked in their soul.

We can really have a positive influence on people’s lives without even doing anything extraordinary,  just by giving them listening, trust and hope in their moments of troubles. And it’s nothing extraordinary, but it becomes so because in the world it is very rare to find all of this.

And I am sure that life can have an even truer sense as many times as we put our lifeboat at sea to meet our shipwrecked. The mere fact of doing it will change ourselves first.

Ah, do not forget to bring the oars if the boat’s engine breaks!

Paolo

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