“Without Alaska my life would have been a different one. I don’t care which one, what I have is definitely the one I would have loved the most.”
Willy Mulonia talks about love, passion, and the demons of a land which is his home without borders.
Is the cold a metaphor for life? If yes, which one?
I don’t see it as a metaphor, but yes I place it among my deepest emotions.
I don’t go to Alaska in search of the cold. If I’m honest, I don’t even like the cold. But to experience all the emotions I experience there and to be able to learn so much, there are various tacks to pay and the cold is one of them.
I experience the cold as a feeling attached to very tangible moments. Once home, those feelings are processed and over time they turn into an emotion that, believe me, warms my heart.
Or are the borderless spaces of Alaska a metaphor?
I don’t remember when, but yes I do remember that I was along the trail between the cabin at Carlson Crossing and Cripple. It was early in the morning and it was cold as hell. At one point I stopped. I put my feet on the ground and just stood there, still! I looked around and I was in the middle of a really majestic valley and in the middle of Alaska.
Roberto and Tiziano were not far from me, but not in sight.
I paused and allowed myself some time, as long as the cold weather permitted me, but which seemed eternal because of the richness in itself of the moment.
There, alone, in the midst of nature I had not felt small. I had felt perfectly part of nature itself.
At that moment I was Nature. In perfect symbiosis with everything that was surrounding me. I did not feel like an intruder, I felt included.
At that moment, I was precisely the result of my choices.
I strongly believe that yes, Alaska can be a metaphor for life.
Or maybe in everyday life we are not the result of our choices?
How many times have you been?
I have been to Alaska eight times. Seven for the Iditarod Trail Invitational and one when I reached Prudhoe Bay at the end of the Dalton Highway. The last 700 kilometers of the 30,000 that were needed to connect this wonderful place with distant Patagonia, it was 2002. But that is the past!
If I look at everything I have done so far since 1991, I begin to feel a little old, and my body is reminding me of it. I’m honest, this feeling, it doesn’t leave me emotionless.
So you know what I do?
I look ahead and wonder, “How many times will I go back again?”
And that still makes me feel so young, inexperienced, that everything has to be learned.
Without falling into the cognitive distortion of ourselves and others, I prefer to stand firm on the fact that the more I think I know, the more I realize I don’t know.
The more I go to Alaska, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. And in these last three years I have to say that, again, on the University desks I have realized that to get back to learning requires so much humbleness. Something I had lost and I feel I have recovered in good doses.
Is it always “a first time”?
This is a beautiful question that I had already answered a few months ago for Alvento but I want to answer it again (is self-plagiarism allowed?).
“Woe if it wasn’t. Fortunately, not like the first time. I change and my emotions change with me. And so each time I get excited. Because my eyes are different from those of twenty-five years ago.
In life we change. The only certain thing there is in life is change.Life is change. Those who are open to learning and exploring the territory beyond the map will take hold of the future. On the contrary, those who live thinking they know it all will live in a world that no longer exists. An emotionless world.
And what did you see, each time, with new eyes?
A new part of me. Or rather, that same part but seen from another perspective. An extrapolation from reality during reality itself. If it is true that we do not see the world as it is but see it as we are, I can say that Alaska, therefore the World, helps me see how I really am.
To whom would you recommend Alaska?
To everyone, as long as they are humble. As long as they are strong but sensible.
To those who realize they need a “soul scrub” as someone very close to me said last March in Alaska, of all places.
To all who want to take a journey beyond the map by exploring an unknown territory: themselves.
In March 2024 I am going back there and, for the first time, I am ready to accompany you. Do you want to come?