In an assimilated culture like ours, it seems as difficult as ever to be amazed by something. How can we awake that feeling again? Letting our curiosity lead us is the recipe to feel liberated and in harmony with the world
From cities that all look alike, where we can comfortably order fridge magnets from Machu Picchu, to forests lacking in biodiversity, our seventh sense is perpetually in danger of being forgotten. The standardization of our world comes with its own perks as psychological stability (I know exactly what to expect to find in a fast-food joint in Thailand) and economical security (more GMOs equals more food) but at the cost of wonderment being hard to come by. How can we bring it back to life? Explore, dream, discover: travel!
Wow Therapy is considered to be a successful way of increasing the extent of emotions we experience (emodiversity), and to attain the most important of all: amazement. The same feeling of Adam and Eve, of early humans in a rainstorm and of babies at the sight of colourful balloons. Wow Therapy is as easy as ever in Sicily. The land itself is emodiverse. Every small town has its own peculiar fauna and flora, its picturesque sights: ancient ruins and lava, high peaks and sea, sand and rocks, wastelands and forests. Every civilization that set foot here, every wave that washed its shores, every beam of light that kissed its slopes has left an everlasting mark. Even Sicilians can’t often help but erupt in a surprised “This does not look like Sicily at all!” upon visiting a place they hadn’t seen before. Goethe himself, who famously said that «Italy is incapable of leaving a mark on the soul, without Sicily», also believes that «the best a man can achieve is wonder». Sicilians know this so well as to have a phrase to describe it: «Appiddaveru?». It is tough to explain that the facial expression that goes with it is just as important and «really?» does not make it justice. However, English, is more versatile: “wanderlust” is the desire to travel and explore, the urge to experiment and to be exposed to different cultures to cure sadness; while “wonder” stands for “astonishment” it also means “to ponder”, the phonetically and graphically similar “wander” is a synonym of “moving about, going off the beaten path”.
Of course, travelling requires a unique effort. Accepting to be ushered into the world once again, just like when we were first born: alone, heart racing and heightened senses. But how many things we discover in our very first years on this planet! Granted, the experience is not quite the same and that is the point. We do not choose to be born, but to pack up and go, see somewhere new is entirely up to us. Just like it is to truly become a child of God by being confirmed; by starting to explore the world we fully accept to be its children. Travelling is giving ourselves the chance to be free, to live in harmony and to be amazed again. After all, just as dressing up differently changes who we are beneath, so returning home is like taking a piece of something different back with us. Sicilians have learned to appreciate his home after a long journey. They have experienced how diverse the world is, ready to welcome whatever new may come their way. Wow Therapy is truly easier in Sicily.
Translated by Francesco Raciti