Home is where my suitcase is

LIVING out of a suitcase is a familiar experience for any traveller. Giulia Poloni tells us about the special bond she shares with her trusted travel partner.

Woman With Luggage At The Airport

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

This is probably the best travel tip, taken from one of my favourite writers, Ernest Hemingway. It’s very important to choose the right partner to share your journey with.

Her name is Queens, just like the New York suburb. She is my best friend, my daughter and my sister. We have a strong relationship from sharing many significant moments. Whenever I was going through a life-changing event she was there, by my side, and she never let me down. She is 77 cm tall and weighs almost four kilograms when empty, but she can easily go up to 50 kg when full, which is what I like the most about her. She is my suitcase and I love her as if she was a real person.

I’m only 21 years old, but have been lucky enough to have explored a little bit of the world already. I was born in Italy, so yes, I can cook, and no, I don’t like soccer. When I was 17, I left my hometown for the first time and moved to the United States for a semester.

That’s when it all began. I can remember the moment when, alone on a plane, I was trying to blink away my tears. Little did I know that six months later, those tears would be impossible to contain and that melancholy over saying goodbye to the States wouldn’t leave me as easily as it did the first time, when I left home.

I have been a gypsy since then. Travelling is an addiction, especially when you do it as a student. Studying abroad doesn’t simply mean going to school in a different country. It’s about living, feeling, experiencing and tasting a new culture, a new environment and a new group of people.

Needless to say, my last year in high school back home felt like the longest year of my life. I couldn’t wait to set off again on another adventure. During the summer, I spent a month driving a motor-home around Europe with two friends. But that wasn’t enough for my wanderlust.

I wanted to travel and study journalism at the same time. I knew it was better to think about it carefully, because this journey would last three years. Queens and I had a talk, as we often do, and chose our destination. She is a very thoughtful and wise friend and suggested we move to a big city, where exciting things happen, and where the media industry is alive.

In September 2012, I was ready to change my life again. Queens and I agreed London was the best place to start.

Photo: Giulia Poloni

Photo: Giulia Poloni

Describing this city is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do. London is too many things at the same time and everyone knows it differently. To me, it’s a weird, quirky witch. When you’re there, you hate it and can’t wait to get out. Once you’re out, you miss it so much that you feel like you need it like the oxygen you breathe. I totally fell under its spell.

In any case, after living there for almost two years, a sudden thirst for a new adventure grew in me. I was tired of my British life and I wanted, no, needed, to go somewhere else. Luckily, I realized I could apply for another exchange program.

Queens had to help me out again (poor thing, she can barely stand me by now). Together, we went through the list of partner universities I could choose from. One name immediately caught my attention: The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), in Melbourne, Australia. Going down under has always appealed to me and I knew it was my last chance to do it as a student. I packed Queens again and off we went, this time for the summer.

I have been in Melbourne for two months now and I feel like I don’t want to leave. But I know that time will come. I know I will be sitting alone on that plane again. I will feel my heart breaking, just as it did the first time I left my hometown or when I said goodbye to the States or when I threw one last glance at Amsterdam before heading south or when I walked out of my flat in London, leaving behind a bunch of wonderful friends.

Every time I leave a piece of my heart in a city, no matter how painful or sad that moment may be, there’s always the possibility of returning to pick it up. That’s why I love travel. In the meantime, lovely Queens has lived to tell lots of funny stories and amazing memories. She pulls one out every time she knows I need a laugh. They are my homes and she’s the best doorman I have ever had

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