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Solo travelling : Exploring self while touching hearts

Binny Yadav

Solo travelling: Every solo traveller wants to understand and explore ‘own true self’ through solo journeys. This is one common reason why everyone chooses to go all alone and explore the world, but here is where the commonality stops. With the increasing trend of solo travelling, where neither gender is a constraint, nor age and money is a criteria, everyone travels solo with their own specific reasons.

Away from the trend of solo travellers there are also those who travel because that is what they always thought they should do.

Meet Carloa Scialdone, from Pignataro Maggiore, a small town in the South of Italy. Carlo, as a curious traveller, is always ‘on the go’, ever eager to move to the next destination, and he never wants to retire from this ‘job’ of travelling which he has assigned to himself for the past more than 35 years.

After travelling to almost the entire Europe and living in Estonia, New Zealand, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka Carlo is currently travelling in India and plans to cover the entire country before moving on to some other destination. By exploring India he says, “ he is touching India, by not only connecting with its people and their places but also discovering their lives and sharing their happiness”.

Coming from a small town, Carlo says he continues to carry that small town curiosity which motivates him as a traveller. Although he travels for himself but disagrees with calling him a solo traveller. He always has his camera and sometimes may be his wife or some stray friend as company but his constant companions in the past four decades of his travelling have been the people  he meets during his journeys which his camera kept capturing and the caravan of memories he has been collecting by meeting these people. Like every traveller,  Carlo too is excited by every new place but he is most excited in knowing and connecting with the natives.

His camera captures the people and their homeland, people with their culture and customs, people with their families and also their occupation and loves to explore these people by becoming one with them. “For me the best picture is where the scenery makes the backdrop behind the happy faces of the people,” says Carlo, insisting that exploring these happy faces is why he has been travelling around, “as that is how I tend to discover myself”.

For Carlo travelling came naturally from his trade unionist father who loved photography, and took him along for his shoots. Independent travelling started while exploring the places and people through his camera and then both-the travelling and capturing images of life became inseparable.

In spite of travelling across the world and meeting hundreds of people in the past four decades, India connects Carlo to his home in Italy. “ The simplicity of country life in India, the honesty of emotions in people and the old world charm of India away from the maddening rush of metros is too close to my small place in Italy”, and hence he feels absolutely “at home” in India.

During more than a year of travelling in India Carlo has touched much of the Indian territories and connected people with diverse cultures and languages. Why is he able to connect with people in India, especially in the countryside in spite of language problems?  “My quest for knowing people as they are. Being one with them and indulging in what they do, what they eat and how they live”.

So what is Carlo’s mantra of “touching India” as a traveller? “Be one with the people. They are too happy to see you as part of them. They give you space once you make them comfortable”, elaborates Carlo, adding that, “ you have to touch their heart and they will let you touch their life”. These, for him, are the extension of life lessons from his mother, to whom he always wants to go back to however far he would travel.

After India Carlo plans to continue travelling. “I leave a part of me wherever I travel and carry with me every bit of whom I meet”, that is what he says keeps him motivated. Even after over 35 years of travelling, He feels the need to explore every corner of Italy as well.

In his sixties he feels fit to continue travelling alone and says “ I am not afraid to die, what scares me is to lose my curiosity”, and travelling is what keeps this curiosity alive. He also wants to retain his perfect ‘pout’ which he makes sure to teach everyone before bidding adieu to them.

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