Many times, along the trails, I have thought and rethought about how it would have to be a leader of a group in that exact moment: companion of other people in the heart of a world so precious to me, between shapes and colors of such a great passion.
It happened several times.
Mountain has always had for me the well-defined traits of a place of refuge, often of escape. From the routine, from the confusion, from the gray of an everyday life that, challenging every traditional definition, does not accept repetitiveness and monotony.
In this context, experiencing the mountains alone has always exercised its fascination on me and has clearly shown its benefits on my state of mind.
Yet something was always able to make it somehow incomplete. As if these feelings of well-being, amazement and admiration were too great to be confined only to me. Despite my independent nature, despite that selfish feeling that makes you feel genuinely different and luckier than others. Despite all of this.
Because all this natural beauty and its load of emotions will never have a single owner. And, at the same time, it can never be owned by all of us without distinction.
Among these woods, along these green slopes and between the cracks of these majestic rocks, much more is hidden. An encyclopedia of values and teachings that should be imparted to all of us, or at least to those who believe that they can really shape our character.
It has been like this for me since I was a child. Behind every panorama, effort or destination reached, much more has always been hidden than what appeared. This is how a peak turns into a sweet reward, gratification for an effort that tires the mind much more than the body. The climb becomes a fundamental and necessary part of a path to be covered in its entirety, without looking for a shortcut or a faster way to reach the top. A moment of suffering, even the most acute one, does not scratch the strong soul of those who are aware that every great achievement always has a price to be paid; just as, in the same way, a renunciation never represents a defeat or a dishonor, but rather a drive to improve oneself and prepare a new and more effective attempt.
I believe this is the most precious asset that the mountain transfers to us every day, even before any background or glimpse to be immortalized and cataloged as “memories”.
Values. To be owned and jealously preserved along our own path.
This, first of all, drove me to become a guide. On a smaller scale, exactly as my mother decided to become an elementary teacher. Not to repeat the same lesson day after day to different children, but to share with each of them moments capable of shaping a conscience. A spontaneous and genuine desire to pass on the best part of yourself to others, going further than what anyone else could say or do.
Likewise, in my field, I don’t want to be reduced to just appearing as a faulty or outdated copy of one of the many apps that name each peak or list toponyms chosen to describe plants and animals. I am not sure I have all these skills or competences. Without ever doubting a second of the fundamental value of each dissemination moment, I believe at the same time that this should have a less standardized function, because mountain and all its manifestations are able to teach much more, something that remains imprinted in the memory longer than just the name of a peak.
In my gestures and words, which only time and experience in this profession will make more suitable for the role of hiking guide, I will always try to share my great love for these places and what they are able to teach.
I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to do it. Not always maybe.
But looking at the tired and happy eyes of those who shared this first piece of road with me or listening to their words, aware and firm in stating they lived on their skin much more than a simple experience in the mountains, I find the answer to those many questions and reflections that crowded my mind during the long days of walking alone.
With the hope, finally, of really leaving something in the heart, mind, and soul of those who will walk with me.
Even if only on a smaller scale, exactly as it was for my mother.