Informal biography of Matteo Tricarico

By Claudio Bussolino

Vietnam, April 2009

Vietnam, April 2009

[…] The personal story of Matteo is an unusual one. Born in Italy, first of three children on the 18th of June 1969, he started very well graduating from the Grammar School in his home town, Manfredonia in the south of Italy, and then completing his higher education in Political Sciences at the University of Siena with periods of exchange at the University of Leeds, Westminster in London and at the Catholic University of Lille in France. In 1994, he received from the European Commission the ERASMUS Price as best Italian student abroad in that academic year.

He started a promising professional career with a vocational training in the European public sector in Brussels where he lived for three years, before being relocated for one year to Oxford in the United Kingdom. It was in 2000 that he left Europe for Egypt and Sudan and himself explains why: “I realised that my dream of inter-nationality was fading away in an unbearable routine, despite working in a cosmopolitan environment.

So, Matteo dwelt on the Red Sea shore for three years running a tourist promotion agency. These years are of great change in his vision of life and in the silent isolation of the desert he refocused his priorities for his existence freeing himself from “the supra-structures of the modern western world, that sales us for material primary needs objects which in fact are just marginal in our life” as he puts it.

In 2004, for unspecified “sentimental reasons” he moved to Indochina living between Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos working as travel agent and tourist guide. I met him here and we started to work together on various projects.

His passion for the bicycle goes back to high-school time, when he used to cycle for a full day on the roads of north Apulia. The bicycle has been his primary transportation mean everywhere he lived, although the hobby of long trips, covering thousand kilometres, is a quite recent one. “All started in Cambodia” and he continues “when I purchased a bicycle in Phnom Penh and I had to bring it to Siem Reap 300 kilometres away. I turned to my employer for advice and he pulled my leg answering ‘Why don’t you cycle up there?’”. In that moment something clicked in Matteo’s head and that advise given as a joke became one of his strongest reason to live. The following day, he was pedalling on the way to Siem Reap, reached three days later exhausted but charged with a feeling of freedom. Since then, he has covered thousand of kilometres in Indochina, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Matteo goes on: “During these trips I was often asked if I embarked in such an enterprise with a humanitarian mission or if I had some kind of sponsorship. That is how the idea to have a humanitarian goal for my next long journey around the globe was born”.[…]

By Claudio Bussolino (
Extract from: Laos: l’antica Asia bagnata dalla Madre delle Acque, edizioni Polaris 2009 by Claudio Bussolino and Matteo Tricarico.

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