I was 14 when I realized that life in that inland Calabrian town was so suffocatingly tight. Yeah, I had friends and family, mostly just my mom since my dad worked abroad and I only saw him twice a year. They were there for me and I knew I could count on them. But life was slow, too slow for me, like living in a constant state of anesthesia. Every day was the same routine: wake up early, catch the beat-up bus to school (one hour of winding roads), walk to school, get bored for 5 hours learning stuff I already knew better than my teachers, walk back the same way to catch the same bus home and eat at 3 pm, do homework, and then... well, nothing. I felt there was more out there, a different destiny for me, so I decided to escape one May night without a plan. I stole my mom's white convertible 500 and drove off aimlessly. I had no money and only brought a backpack with a spare pair of undies and some other stuff. At first light, the car broke down. Smoke was coming out of the engine. I left it on the road and decided to continue on foot, without looking back. That's how I wanted to start writing my story, telling about discovering the world, meeting weird people, having adventures in the jungle, encountering ferocious animals, making lasting friendships, encountering aliens, love stories, canoeing entire rivers, building my own spaceship... but in reality, it never happened. I always stayed there. I finished high school and went to another school, moving to another town that felt even tighter.
Then, one day it hit me that I had truly taken that 500, I had run away, and I had met aliens, traveled rivers, and built spaceships. I had explored entire universes, universes without limits, without barriers, where I can escape every day, whenever and however I want, even if the country I find myself in is too small, even if it is so small that it suffocates me.