niente paura

Niente paura. Fear nothing.

These were the words of Alberto, a very dear Italian man I met on pilgrimage to Santiago, walking the Via de la Plata from Seville.

Alberto was in his seventies, overweight, and outrageously funny. One day we were walking past a farm and he made me stop with him because he wanted to look around. When no one answered, he took me around the property anyway. Para Mirar (to have a look) he kept saying. At another one of the stops he made a big family dinner for everyone in the albergue/hostel, about ten of us pilgrims and a priest, one of my favourite memories. He taught me how to use my walking sticks properly, how to walk faster, find my stride, and my confidence.

When the walk was over, I sat having breakfast with him in Santiago. After five weeks of walking and living the simple life, I was unexpectedly sad to be done, and scared to go back to real life. In a mix of Spanish, Italian and English, he told me to β€˜Don’t be boring, Stacy. Niente paura. Niente, niente, niente. There is nothing in the life worth being afraid of. We’re all going to die and none of us knows when. So the more things you try, the less boring you are.’

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