Vanni arrived in Perth on January 4.
The 64-year-old’s career allowed him to travel constantly and visit 76 countries, and retiring wasn’t going to stop his from seeing the world.
After enrolling at the University of Milan, Vanni began planning a special trip to visit his daughter Gabriella, who’s lived in Perth since 2014.
“I like travelling; it’s always been my biggest passion,” he said.
“When Gabriella moved to Australia and I retired, I realised that boarding a plane in Milan and landing in Perth was absurd.
“There’s an entire world in between ... it seemed crazy to ignore it.”
So, Vanni asked himself: “Why don’t you try and travel at the slower pace of yesteryear?”
He also wished to debunk the myth that people of a certain age should not embark on such ventures.
“I decided to not use planes, only buses trains and a cargo ship,” he said.
“I slept in hostels and met many people who inspired me along the way.”
Vanni sponsored two little girls in Asia and decided to raise funds for the same organisation during his travels.
He then planned his itinerary: Eastern Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and, lastly, a cargo ship from Malaysia to Australia.
“Once I’d made the decision to travel, then came the fun part: choosing the destinations, applying for visas and booking tickets,” he said.
More than four months and 25,000 kilometres later, Vanni is now in Australia, reflecting on his journey.
“I went from the Mediterranean to the Germanic world, followed by the Slavic, Mongolian, Chinese and Indo-Chinese worlds,” he said.
“I observed the intricacies of each culture along the way.
“China amazed me ... I’d been there in 1993, but today it’s a completely different country and so futuristic.”
While Vanni made many good memories along the way, Mongolia now has a special place in his heart with its open spaces and hospitable locals.
Malaysia also inspired Vanni, with its colonial cities such as George Town and Malacca.
The last adventure before arriving in Australia was the journey on a cargo ship from Malaysia to Fremantle, which proved to be a unique experience.
“Luckily, I write and had things to read ... otherwise the hours would have never passed,” he said.
“I was the only passenger aside from the crew and there was nothing to do, scarcely a TV in sight.”
Despite this, the cost of the trip was fairly high: around $230 a day.
Vanni spent New Year’s Eve on the cargo ship, in the middle of the ocean, without knowing where in the world he was and without a Prosecco to celebrate with (given that alcohol is prohibited on the ship).
Having finally arrived in Australia, Vanni is now enjoying spending time with his daughter without having to worry about losing his passport, money or phone.
“Fate brought me here to see my daughter get her citizenship in a very emotional moment for her,” he concluded.
Vanni will return to Italy at the end of the month, where he will sit his final exams before getting his degree in history.
And finally, the most important lesson Vanni learnt on his adventure:
“I learnt to be patient and take my time without getting flustered.”