I’m nearing the end of my journey now and feeling ready for the stability of home. I had a couple of days in Bologna, which is a beautiful city with lots going on. Everywhere you look there’s amazing food and people enjoying themselves.
I have the growing sense of being on the periphery of everything, partly as a result of three weeks of travelling alone but also because moving from one place to another is a ‘Tinder’ approach to travel. You find it harder and harder to settle, always anticipating the new fresh place.
I have become more aware of other people on the periphery and on every street corner an African man is begging for money. I talked to a few of them to find out what the story was. They are from Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria and on the move either because it’s dangerous at home or no work. We read about this in the media, but it’s heartbreaking to see young men looking so defeated by life. Desperate times living illegally in a strange country where you are far from welcome and no real prospects for the future.
It’s easy to sympathise but harder to empathise because we can’t ever imagine our own lives being this way or even intersecting with the lives of disenfranchised people.
As they say, travel does open the mind especially when you look beneath the surface.