Sebastiano Ramello globe trotter, wine ambassador and Italian wine expert residing in the beautiful Piemonte region at the foot of the Alps in one of the most important territories of Italian wine, through the Turin publishing house Echos Edizioni, published his second book a few days ago in Italy: “IN VIAGGIO CON MANEKI” (Title in Italian, translated into English: “Traveling with Maneki”) a narrative of travel on a sailing boat in the Atlantic ocean between the wonderful Canary Islands.
In this online interview we first ask Sebastiano: «who is Maneki?»
«Maneki is a beautiful Jeanneau, a 9-metre sailboat from 1974, just one year younger than me. The sailboat which, thanks to its captain, an old dear friend (alias) Marianna, made me discover the beauty of traveling by sea»
Sebastiano has a thousand passions, a passionate photographer and videographer, a great lover of our planet, writer, he has crossed 4 continents often in the most bizarre ways. «Can we say that you have dedicated a large part of your life to traveling our planet?»
«Yes, it can be said, since I was a child my greatest dream was to discover the world, confront myself with different cultures and face many beautiful adventures. Which I then did.»
He traveled first as a “backpacker” and then for work as a Wine Ambassador. Life as a “globetrotter” saw him travel from America to Europe to Asia: in Mexico and Guatemala following in the footsteps of Subcomandante Marcos, in India since 1997, also as a photojournalist collaborating with an Italian journalist who lived in Delhi. In 2009 he crossed the Thar desert on a dromedary for over 650 km as the desert nomads did over 100 years ago; riding an old 1973 Royal Enfield he traveled the roads of India; many of his hitchhiking trips, (very beat generation), through the Himalayas climbing some solo peaks; on a wooden tribal canoe he crossed the Backwaters in Kerala alone for several days; he has traveled to Pakistan and several times to Nepal behind the Maoist movement; in Cambodia following the work of the deminers; he has been repeatedly in South East Asia, in China both for work as a promoter of Italian wines and for pleasure. Hitchhiked he’s crossed Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma and is on a canadian canoe over Sweden. A true adventurer. Lover of outdoor and extreme sports, from climbing to alpine kayaking. He has written for newspapers and magazines in the USA, Hong Kong, China and Italy. He gave birth to the first research in the world on wine and food intolerance “Low Histamines” (www.lowhistamines.com) which we have already talked about on “WineToday ” in the past. “LA MASCHERA” (In English: The Mask) was his debut novel published just over a year ago in Italy.
«Sebastiano, can you explain to our readers what your new book is about?»
«It tells of my experience, of a long sailing trip in the Atlantic Ocean, between the Canary Islands, in a historical period where traveling seemed increasingly complicated and fear often prevailed over freedom. In the book I report this adventure, illustrating not only the places I visited, but the emotions shared with my travel companion, who has been living on a sailboat for over 5 years, called “Maneki”. In the book I call my travel companion, a former Italian journalist, with the invented name of Marianna as she asked me to remain anonymous. Along this journey I undergo not only an external metamorphosis, from a man of the mountains to a man of the sea, but also an internal one that leads me to reflect on life. The boat not as a means but as a home, with the bare minimum available beyond what is given by nature, with reflections on pollution and recycling. A slow, sometimes adrenaline-pumping journey that teaches you to live with the marine environment, often bringing me back to reliving past journeys, mostly in North Africa and Asia. I describe many of the characters I meet: fellow travellers, sea gypsies, hippie communities or modern cave dwellers. For anyone who wants to embark on a sailing trip “In viaggio con Maneki” is also an interesting guide on a sailing boat through the Canary Islands. The Canaries are the most important crossroads in the world for sailing travellers.»
Certainly an exciting journey, many of us will wonder: «does it take a lot of money to make such a journey, an opportunity only for the rich?»
«No, traveling, at least as I travel, is cheap, often less than what is spent every day at home. In this particular trip, you travel carried by the wind, thanks to mother nature, therefore without travel costs. You stop at anchor in beautiful bays instead of expensive ports. The only cost is the expense you make in buying food, the same as you would at home, or rather less, since we eat less and then we are often able to fish. Furthermore, there are no electricity or water costs. The boat has solar panels and replenishes itself with water when springs are found. However, all this is also told in my book»
«Do you think your book will also be translated into English so that it can reach many more people?»
«I hope so, I hope one day to be able to be published abroad, perhaps in Asia or in America, but first I have to find a publisher in these countries who are passionate about my stories and tales»
«You already have in mind or are already writing a third book»
«Right now I have a couple of stories in mind that I’d like to tell, but I am waiting for inspiration. I’d like to write a novel, perhaps a travel narrative or both set in the territories and world of wine, I would have so much to tell about it. I would also like to tell something about my family since I come from a fantastic family, passionate and full of passions, very artistic. I have already set aside a few notes»
«As for travelling, do you have any new adventures planned?»
«I constantly dream of new trips and adventures. I will certainly go back to sailing, I would like to in the Mediterranean or perhaps in the Asian seas. I’m also laying the foundations for a thousand kilometer kayak trip»
We all wish we could read your book, “Traveling with Maneki”, in English sooner or later. And maybe read some of your new adventures in your next book with the hope that you will be able to lead us to discover new wine territories.
For you sailors, readers and travellers, keep your eyes open as you can meet Sebastiano Ramello in any corner, even the most remote, of our planet.