Becoming a hiking guide

Diventare guida: bussola, carta, matita

This is not exactly a journey in the strict sense, like others.
There is no real starting point and not even, I hope, a finish line.
Just as I like to think, this is also a path, made up of many moments, different stages, many new destinations and, I hope, an incredible number of experiences that I would like to make it worthy of being remembered and told.

I wanted to become a guide from an early age.

The first times I went out into the high mountains, driven by the decisions of my parents, I did it together with guides, mainly Alpine. I immediately admired many aspects of them. First of all, the physical one. I have always felt so much curiosity (and a touch of envy) to see their skin, rough and wrinkled, marked by the wind, which has so often lashed their face, and from the sun, the mountain one, often hidden in the clouds but always present in every corner of scree and trail. I imagined and, within myself, I romanticized all their past experiences; the charm of the mountain seemed clearer looking them in the face.
I was attracted by their technical skills and by their lifestyle marked, as for everyone in those places, by the rhythm of the nature that surrounds them. Deep connoisseurs of their job and their land to respect at all times. Perhaps this was the most fascinating aspect in my eyes: to recognize in them the figure of someone who, in perfect symbiosis with the surrounding environment, knows and faces every characteristic, without ever advancing in any way the right and claim to be able to control or manipulate it.

The luck and privilege of being able to touch with the hands the beauty of what surrounds us, without even thinking for a moment about owning it.

A precious teaching that I still carry around today and to which I try to follow up daily: nature, in whatever form presents itself, is there to remind us to enjoy every moment, every occasion, every experience, even if it is short. Beyond any motivation that, humanly, we try to find; even beyond faith. It is infinitely more beautiful and rewarding to be amazed at what is provided to us, without pretending in any way to be able to understand or justify it.

Something that, personally, I find much easier whenever I am in a natural environment, in fact. Where every agitation finds peace and every doubt dissipates: let it be a rocky plateau, looking at a carpet of clouds at my feet; both the peaks of a Dolomite massif, from where it is difficult to identify the horizon; is the bay of an island on the Adriatic Sea, admiring the sun falling behind it, while I am lulled by the waves of the sea.

Scenic view from Mesules – Sella Group
Vis Island – Croatia
Clouds and rocks, Rif. Cavazza al Pisciad├╣ – Val Badia, Dolomites

This is mainly the reason that, some time ago, reminded me, overbearing, of the never dormant desire of becoming a guide. To transform my days, which have become too repetitive and unsatisfying at my age, into something different, far and so close, until now considered always and only as an escape from reality.
After all, I have always kept alive the dream of making all this everyday life. Already at the end of my high school studies I had matured the same idea, abandoned too quickly, in a hot summer marked by removals and university ambitions, a watershed, in my adolescent head, of larger future programs.
Now, the contingency of the moment, the outcome of many different experiences and above all the awareness of who I am and want to become, have brought me back here, in front of that door always kept in a jar and never really opened.

This is how, a few months ago, I started the research that would have introduced me, formally, to this path. In my head becoming a hiking guide represents the first step in shaping everything that I have only dreamed of and to date, too little often, shared with others. For many guys who attend my same course, it can be said that the journey has been reversed. They didn’t have to wait long before voicing their wishes. Whatever it is, there is no right and wrong way. As in the matter for which we are all training, there are many different paths.

I am learning a lot from each of my course mates. Realizing, consciously, that you still do not have all the tools to be able to do what your head and heart desire, was not a shock for me: I had already experienced this feeling when, after university, I specialized in the field of sports. To believe, driven by ambition and best intentions, that one’s passion is enough to transform a desire into something concrete, is wrong and misleading.
This time, however, it was first and foremost a real spur, an extra motivation. The same that today pushes me to write these words, to publish them on this blog and to prepare the next itineraries. I can say that I stepped outside that door thanks to this course and the people I met. A training course that is giving me much more than the curricular program expected. I absorb technical aspects, deepened to date only superficially, but, first of all, I investigate myself each time much deeper.

And if the desire to share every moment of wonder and amazement in the face of every natural manifestation was something strong and clear inside me from before, the same could not be said of the perception I had of myself, believing that I was already ready to to do it. From every shared moment or teaching I learn something more, aware of the value that this has for my choice.

It does not start a new path for me, if anything, a more conscious way to face it. Without setting a time horizon or a point of arrival this time, but telling myself what I often repeated to those friends I shared an excursion with who asked me how much was missing to the end.
Without knowing it, I was already replying as a guide: “a little more“.

After all, what’s the hurry to get there?