Born to be free
The journey as a life school
PIETRO ROSENWIRTH – TRAVELING BEYOND THE BARRIERS
20 July 2017
This interview was made by the traveler Alessandro Forni, who published it on his blog: http://www.borntobefreeitaly.it/interviste/pietro-rosenwirth/
- 10 july 2014, Santiago de Compostela
Today I went to interview Pietro Rosenwirth, a man of incredible strength. A person from whom I have drawn a lot of inspiration. Despite his moving’s handicap he has pursued his passion for travel and has built his modified scooter, which allows him to travel.
He is a man of extraordinary strength who alone traveled to Greece, Turkey, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc.
Let’s get to know this great traveler better.
- Where did your desire to travel originate? What were your first travel experiences??
I think that, much, it originated as a reaction to my motor difficulties: “I’m fatigued to stand? To walk? …?“. Okay, then I’m going to Top To The World, and Beyond.
Very little epic or profound: the first incentive is that of No‘s refusal, It is not possible, It is difficult, Maybe that happens..
For me, already waking up in the morning 9 times out of 10 is a trauma for just knowing that another day begins daring with sorrows, nerves, frustrations for things I would like, but, unfortunately, how do I do it, No today no… Traveling on a scooter alone, breaks the routine and faces problems whose solutions vary only because the people I interact with change and change their language, food, climate, and then the architectural barriers.
And on the road … wonderful: every Km, every Meter is a conquest and a 360° trip outside & inside of myself! Seeing with my eyes landscapes and cities only seen in documentaries… discovering that a city (almost) without architectural barriers is not a Metropolitan Legend… to communicate with other people without filters of cultural preconceptions and pre-existing-relationships.
It’s not all “wonderful”, but the Positive Aspects are – in my experience to date – more in quantity and quality than problems, hitches and difficulties that are always and in any case ahead of us.
As a young man I traveled with my dad, then with friends and, in the meantime, I followed and dreamed of the “Paris-Dakar”.
My first journey was in 1994, riding a Yamaha CT50s, after two weeks of camping in Zakynthos (Greece) I greeted everyone and I shot for the first time alone, all Peloponnese: to be back healthy and safe and with the Experience made … well, I realized I could dream, that I could travel alone, in solitary in fact.
- July 23, 2014, from Barcelona to Toulouse passing by the Tunnel de la Vieja
- To be able to build your vehicle, it will have taken time and energy, keeping up with the money. Have you ever thought about letting go? What gave you the strength to continue on this road?
Mine is a perpetual quest for a vehicle suited to my needs. Some years ago I made and registered in Italy the first scooterTrike: this is an becoming-project because, as my pathologies and limitations progress, so I work constantly to adjust the vehicle to my remaining mobility.
The most tough part, even beyond the dramatic economic factor, is clashing with the dullness of bureaucracy and the people who represent it making it all the more difficult, if not impossible.
To make it short, friendships and money are the only ways to extricate: the laws and the rules and the safeguards (the latter three things yes, real Metropolitan Legends). I often get angry, then frustrated… in the end, there is sadness to be born and live in this country, potentially one of the most beautiful in the world and where the quality of life could reach very high levels.
Traveling I realize the differences, things that we take for granted (services and assistance, roads, electricity, access to technologies…) while in some countries, reads in the newspapers and sees on TV, problems can be up to avoiding bullets and finding water and food: of course, I’ve always kept it from that, but experiencing different situations (both better and worse) helps to live the daily life with a different perspective.
As long as I experience this, I will do my best to continue to travel!
- Traveling, for you, is more a challenge with yourself or a desire to know each other? Explain how do you deal with who you meet? And why despite all the difficulties you keep traveling?
The Journey, for how I live it and I want it, is reaching its own limits, discovering them and trying to overcome them. A path that offers infinite possibilities and guarantees endless difficulties.
In my case, with all the needs of help for what I can not do by myself then is important the role of the Other: it is not usual and easy to ask for help, do it with people you do not know, with another culture, trying to understand and become understood by people who speak other languages and have different relational dynamics: all very fascinating but also difficult and often very tiring.
So I try to focus on the positive point of view, on what these situations give me. And it’s so much: hence the desire to continue, to always find the way to do it, to go on another trip.
- 1 January 2012, March for Peace – Trieste
- What was the most beautiful encounter you had, the most meaningful chat? Can you tell us? Why was it so important to you?
Fortunately, there have been many meetings that I will always remember as “special”.
There is one though that is the first I always remember: in the middle of Greece, at some point I note an indication to “Metamorphosis” (Metamorphosis = physical or moral transformation, real or fabulous. cit. Wikipedia). It is impossible to withstand such a recall: I have always dreamed that my body may be transformed (or at least my spirit and my mind that don’t find the meaning of my life).
I said, I arrived between these few houses under a burning sun. Looking around, the only thing that attracted my attention was a small verandah with three tables and some customers, including a pope.
I approached and, as if nothing were, I found myself chatting with him in a mix of English and German of who I was, of Metamorphosis, of God, of the Journey, of Life… then, before I left, he donated to me a small wooden icon to the Madonna and he blessed my scooter “so that it brought me where it was written that I’m going to, so that to allow me to experience these and a thousand other experiences“.
Even today, just remembering it, I inspire.
- I think people like you who, despite the tremendous difficulties, have managed to make great experiences, are to be admired, do you think that you somehow inspired someone else to do things that he would not have done otherwise? Would you like to be an inspiration to others? If so, why?
I thank you even if I do not know if I should be admired or even taken as an example.
Certainly, even if a single person succeeded, drawing on something I did, to face one his fear, to overcome one his limit… then he/she is to be thanked by me because he/she has given me something extraordinary: a pinch of that Sense-of-(my)-lLife I still seek and that, my only certainty, has to do with others, with their lives and their well-being.
- 7 July 2014, Cabo da Roca, “target” of this trip
- Do you think your physical disability has influenced your way of seeing the world? What mental and psychological aspects have made you the traveler you are today?
My physical disability that, in the present world, makes me the phisical handicapped which I am (plus all the emotional and mental scathes) has certainly influenced and, unfortunately, determines more and more importantly my perception of the world as well as my entire life.
So, even the Traveler who I strive to be is influenced in a number of ways: where to go, how to do it, what I am looking for and for what purpose… everything constantly counts with my condition and with my perception, with my “lived” of it.
I would like a super-enduro and instead I travel either with a standard Burgman 150 or with my scooterTrike; I would like to start at this very moment the World-Tour and instead, after the 2010-11-12-14 trips across Europe, I am trying to adapt the scooterTrike with the hope of departing at the 2018 spring for another itinerary anyway, predominantly, european. Health permitting.
That being said, I’m glad I can at least dream and try to plan all this: I still have not removed the battery and not covered my trike with a sheet.
There is still a little flame of hope. And as long as it will be, I will still be a Traveler!
- You have overcome enormous difficulties in getting your trips done, how do you live this condition? Do you think these difficulties have made you a stronger person? If yes, how did you grew up?
I perceive myself as a paradox. To an external image, often that of a “strong person” corresponds to my “feeling of frustration and weakness” (I would do but I can not).
Certainly, however, thanks to the education I received as a young man before and from meeting with the New Humanism of Silo, I am also a very reactive person (often quite vehemently): when I am sick, when faced with a difficulty… a part of me categorically refuses to give up, to surrender, to resign myself.
So, somehow, so far, I’ve been gone ahead and I’ve been tried to pursue my goals.
I’m very tired. But I don’t want to let it go.
- 9 July 2012, Berlino
- Quali sono gli ingredienti per perseverare sugli obbiettivi? Quali sono quei fattori che ti danno la forza di continuare? Che cosa consiglieresti agli altri ad essere tenaci nei propri sogni/obbiettivi?
Oltre a quello detto prima, quello che ha spesso funzionato per me è stato l’ascoltare gli altri, ma decidere poi sempre di testa e soprattutto cuore miei!
Così come vale per la mia vita, ognuno deve vivere la propria. Questo richiede assunzione di responsabilità, credere in quello che si vuole ottenere, coraggio per andare anche contro il Mondo intero quando serve, umiltà di riconoscere l’errore commesso (e l’accettarne le conseguenze) e tentare di riparare per poi continuare a cercare ciò che ognuno di noi crede che lo renderà felice.
Non so se c’è un consiglio, una chiave. Penso però che se una persona non ci mette tutto di sè per riuscire è assai improbabile che qualcuno lo faccia al nostro posto. Perciò…
- Qual è quella cosa che avresti voluto che ti chiedessero, ma non hanno mai osato chiederti? Cosa vorresti poter raccontare della tua vita o dei tuoi viaggi, ma nessuno ti ha dato l’input giusto per iniziare?
In realtà, le domande che mi hai posto sin qui, nel modo e nella forma, mi hanno permesso di accennare a molto di Pietro, il suo scooterTrike e i suoi handy-Viaggi: www.handytrike.eu (Viaggiare per un Sogno: oltre le barriere” onlus)
Grazie per l’opportunità che mi hai offerto.
- 2012, Rotellando a Trieste: Adotta 1 Km di Sogno