On Being from Nowhere
The diary of an adventure from Italy to Chinaby Giulio de Osis
On Being from Nowhere – travel narrative about a 23,000-km road trip from Venice to Beijing. Three friends drive east, retracing the ancient Silk Roads and their modern parallel in China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. Along a route followed by great travel writers from Marco Polo to Nicholas Bouvier, and populated by a varied cast of characters, their journey becomes as much one of self-exploration.
About this book
It’s 2017. Three friends in their twenties decide to take a year off, shunning the career ladder to drive from Italy to China, following the ancient Silk Roads. On Being from Nowhere relates their 23,000-km-long journey, which lasts over a hundred days, traverses sixteen countries and fulfils a childhood dream of exploration.
Sponsors provide the trio with just enough money to cover the journey between Venice and Beijing, in exchange for news on China’s modern-day Silk Road-type initiatives, such as its ‘One Belt, One Road’, a trillion-dollar infrastructure project seeking to improve the connections between Chinese and European markets.
The debut of Giulio De Osis, On Being from Nowhere, is more than a travel narrative following in the steps of great writers such as Marco Polo and Nicolas Bouvier. As the friends venture east, they find themselves contemplating their identities, the responsibilities that come with travel and what it means to travel at a time when borders are closing – when, to quote former UK Prime Minister Theresa May people who believe they ‘are a citizen of the world’ are actually ‘a citizen of nowhere’.
Individual chapters relate experiences and encounters in Italy, the Balkans, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China. The friends are interrogated by the authorities, deal with a broken-down car and fear for their life in a storm in the Kyrgyz mountains. The friends’ own stories weave around those of the varied cast of characters they meet along the way – providing opportunities for the protagonists to think about their surroundings, their own identities and the meaning of travel.
On Being from Nowhere merges the story of the Silk Roads, with those of its modern inhabitants and the adventures of a group of three friends indulging in the journey of a lifetime. It is part travelogue, part adventure story, part cultural history and part self-examination. This is a book for people who love travel writing, for travel buffs interested in the Silk Road regions and their history, and for anybody who has experienced a young adult’s wanderlust and the drive to explore.
About the Author
Giulio De Osis is a professional economist who decided to take a brief detour from his career to satisfy his childhood dream of becoming an explorer. After all, he judged, economists and explorers were bound to have more in common than an ‘e’. On Being from Nowhere is his travel-writing debut.
Additional InformationTable of Contents
II. THE BALKANS