Sunday, 17 April 2016
Travelling Solo - An Interview with Giorgia Ori
Giorgia Ori is an Italian photographer and storyteller currently in Los Angeles. With a passion for travel, she has backpacked through four continents already, and now is using her experience to teach a four class workshop all about 'How to Travel.' Ori explains: "A few days ago I came across the letter of Guadalupe, regarding two girls killed while travelling in Ecuador. I felt the need to do something, as woman, and as traveller. I know that on social media you’re bombarded of beautiful images under the hashtag “travel”, and everything looks easy and beautiful. But it’s not.
To travel means much more than a Valencia filtered photo. It requires a lot of pre-planning, mental preparation and physical training."
Ori's classes focus on teaching people how to plan the trip of their dreams, step-by-step, in a four class course. The first class covers planning and budgeting, the second safety, the third is a hands-on photography workshop, and the fourth a writing workshop.
The letter Ori mentions to have been motivated by is one that addresses the victim blaming and sexist culture that women often face, definitely not excluding those who travel. When two Argentinian Girls were killed whilst travelling in Ecuador, people asked, as women, why they were travelling alone? Ori disagrees with this. "I would say that women can do whatever they want. Women can have the same strength, passion and motivation of a man. And most importantly, women should realize that to be a woman is a power and for sure not a fault."
In fact, she is a firm believer travelling solo is a good experience for everyone. "Travelling alone completely changes your perspective of life. It makes you realize there’s no distance between places -which is a very pragmatic way of realizing that there’s no distance between what you want and what you can have. When you travel you understand that everything is possible. Travelling alone gives you fundamental skills -such as a great sense of adaptation: you will come back and be able to adapt to a broad spectrum of environments and people," she explains. It's clear she is very passionate about the seeing the world and what it has to offer.
It has been like this since a young age, with Ori naming her first solo trip to be a very cheap one to Spain, when she was 15 with no phone and $50 worth of savings. "I remember getting off the plane, around 9pm, and thinking “Okay Giorgia, now what?!” So I took a bus to the city, and I was a bit a scared, but mostly I felt pure excitement. I walked to the hostel with a map someone gave me, and I really didn’t know how to use it. Everyone around me was so kind though; while I felt like a newborn opening my eyes to the world for the first time. When I arrived to the hostel, there were many guys on the balcony singing “Father & Son” by Cat Steven. I joined them, and from that moment on everything followed."
From then on, Ori has continued her journey across various countries from that moment onwards, taking with her a lifetime's worth of memories. One of her best, she says, took place in the desert landscapes of Patagonia. "The landscape around us was magnificent. The guy sat in front of me, on the opposite side of the road. And we looked at each other for several hours, and never spoke a word. But I will forever remember that guy, and forever wonder where he went, because for few hours, on the roads of Patagonia, he helped me carry the weight of loneliness." It's a vivid scene, but you can't help but wonder about the bad experiences too. After all, there is never a shortage of travel warnings.
To this, Ori replies, "I've met thousands of people while travelling. Many of them picked me up while I was hitch-hiking, many of them opened their door when I needed a place to sleep, and many more gave me food or a good laugh. Out of all of them, I only met two bad guys. So know that 99% of people are good people. And when someone asks me “Aren't you afraid of travelling alone?” I always reply “would you ever hurt me?”. They say “no!”, and suddenly realize that most people would say “no” as well."
Her outlook is a breath of fresh air compared to the normal attitudes to travelling, particularly when travelling alone. Yet despite her positive attitude, she still proceeds with caution. "Think positive, but trust your guts," she says, "I strongly believe in the law of attraction: you attract whatever vibes you’re giving out. Of course, you have to find balance. And always protect yourself from what could happen. I trust my “fears” a lot! If a situation is 90% safe, I trust that 10% that says “no, it’s not safe!”.
Ori doesn't let any doubts detract from her love of travelling. She has been travelling for about ten years now, and still feels the same. "My favourite thing about travelling is that when you come back home -no matter how long your journey was- it all seems like a dream. The whole trip is blurry in your memory, and it feels like nothing ever happened, it feels like you never left home. But at the same time, it feels like it changed everything, because you changed. It’s magic, trust me!" she promises. If you ever need someone to convince you to take the first steps in a journey, let Giorgia Ori be that person.
You can find out more about Giorgia Ori on her website, giorgiaori.com , or you can sign up for her four class workshop here and begin your adventure!