New frontiers

by Alberto Borghi

"Pushing a little further our own limits without any constraint."
This is Carla and Fabio's message of adventure in the Egyptian desert,
him blind and both loving life and sports.

Wind, sun. Silence, moon. Intense perfumes, confined spaces. And sand, so much sand. All over the skin, in the clothing, over the tents, in dreams and thoughts. In one word: desert.

Image - Map of the desert

Picture - Fabio Pasinetti Carla Perrotti

That nowhere place that has a precise place in the topography of our thinking caressed by the idea of solitude immersed in its natural element, where there are no known boundaries only those in our mind and heart. A destination turned down by many and chosen by a few during the course of one's life. The city of walls invisible inside which are developed alleys and paths crossed by the colour of our mood, the perfumes of nostalgia by the everlasting vacuity of hopes. The desert is the beginning and the end of the day, it is also the enlarged measure of the silent night, not a mere interval in the waves of light, but a precise existential dimension.
Goodness knows if these thoughts or others crossed Fabio Pasinetti and Carla Perrotti's mind when they walked their first steps in the white sand of the Egyptian desert in November 2008 or when they spent their 15 nights inside the tents put up in places where only animals could keep them company.
Knowing Carla Perrotti's resume one could think that this was another incredible walk across an umpteenth desert (the seventh to be precise). And yet, it isn't so. First of all because this time it was not a solitary experience since she had with her a companion during this adventure. Secondly, because that friend accompanying her is blind.
Of course, not one that is normal,

Picture - Guides stopping during the journey in the desert

if we can speak of normality without using empty stereotypes. Certainly a special person in love with life and sports, that athletic gesture, but also the expression of vitality that we all have inside and that too often and for too long is waiting to be imprisoned by listlessness. He is a sportsman working to involve disabled people in practicing sports, where there is too often little interest, and an active member of the Associazione Sportiva Dilettantistica Disabili Visivi of Bergamo (
Fabio, consequently, accepts with enthusiasm Carla's invitation, challenged without any hesitation by the Egyptian desert. And yet, there is no improvisation at all. He begins his athletic preparation in addition to his normal sporting activities, leaving nothing overlooked, convinced, justifiably so, that the extreme conditions he will experience deserve his full attention leaving out of consideration his own blindness. He arrived on that big day with his feet strong on the treacherous land walking regular and fast steps, after a year of training and daily walks in the fog and the rain of the valleys of Bergamo which have little to do with the gigantic African sand.
The accounts by the numerous media covering the journey reported a full and unconditional success for the two Argonauts who wished to conquer the desert of sand. Mission accomplished in 16 days, crossing 250 km in total solitude. Only water was provided by the support group, signalled by special references on the GPS equipment they both had (see the evocative photo section on Clara's website (
This experience was not over on the last day, it was part of a project with a wide scope initiated by Carla Perrotti called, it is not a coincidence, "New frontiers", designed for disabled people who have the desire to "push a little further their own limits without any constraint".
Sports as a means of freedom, yes, but also of affirmation of one's own personal dimension, set out to conquer the surroundings and "others", without having to place oneself in extreme situations. Even Milan like any other big city can present as many obstacles as a tropical jungle. So, Carla has promoted and organized, with the sponsorship of the City of Milan, a mini marathon for disabled people. A five-kilometre route, from the arena to the Dome, opened not only to disabled people, but also to their accompanying friends and to anyone who wish to share a similar experience. For those who instead wish to tackle the difficulties of the desert, the sand, and the climatic elements, Carla organizes the Desert Therapy: not really a living room and Freudian couch therapy. As a matter of fact, in a week participants will live the same sensations experienced by Fabio, though in a more toned down context, in a group setting and accompanied by a trusted friend to count on because in difficult times our true nature is revealed. The experience is limited to one week only with itineraries planned not to challenge the body, but to stimulate the soul.

Picture - Carla Perrotti

As the Tuaregs who have quite the experience of the desert say: "God has created land covered with water so that men could live there, then he created the desert so that man could find his soul".
Trying is understanding!