Text and photos by The Pill Outdoor Journal
Eva Toschi, 30 years old (for a few weeks yet) aspires to be able to call herself a writer. Born and raised in Rome, where she studied law, she realized very early on that she didn’t like wearing high heels and suits but more like ripped trousers and climbing shoes. Author of the book “Per la mia strada”, “On my route”, five years ago she made an important decision for her life. We will tell you more about it as we go on with the interview.
This year you published your first book, in which you tell your story and your choice to live in and for the mountains.
During my university years I started climbing and as I spent my days in nature, outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare, I realized that this was the space where I could feel myself, where able to express myself. That seed grew in the years to come until I could no longer pretend nothing happened and I had to make a choice: I bought a van (although it wasn’t as easy as it might seem) and I started to live like that, pursuing my passions.
Tell us about a typical day in the van. What do you do?
It depends a lot on whether I’m alone or with friends. Although the friendships I’ve made over the years have been very important, the days that have marked me the most are the ones I’ve spent alone. When I’m alone in my van, I wake up calmly, have breakfast in bed, wash up in the kitchen sink, and go out to stretch. Normally I get right down to work, if there’s a connection where I slept, so then I’m free to do what I’m actually out and about in the van: experiencing nature in the way that feels most spontaneous at the time. Sometimes it’s climbing (not alone, of course), sometimes it’s running, sometimes it’s just walking and lying on the grass reading a book or writing. When I’m out and about in the van I generally only cook one meal, so as not to waste too much gas, so when it’s time for dinner I put on something warm, lock myself in and eat, maybe in front of a film. Obviously, this is if I have everything I need, otherwise the day is peppered with shopping, loading and unloading water, looking for a nice place to park and spending a few days stationary.
Which compromise exists between spending the days in the van or at home? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Being at home has undeniable benefits. You have everything at your fingertips. However good this may be, we tend to settle down and become lazy, even in our minds. Living in a van, with all the inconveniences it involves, leads to living life in a simpler way, and our souls benefit too: we start to value the little things we take for granted and experience everything a little more intensely, for better or for worse. Now I do both, living at home and in the van, but if I spend too much time in one way or another, I feel the need to change. But in the end. for me, the days at home are only enjoyable if they are the ‘holiday’ from life in the van.
The pandemic has taught us that you don’t need to go too far from home to do outdoor sports. What do you think about that?
It’s true. I think we have trained our sense of exploration out of necessity, because we couldn’t do otherwise. I think exploring our ‘backyard’ is great, also because you can have authentic experiences not far from home, but the fact remains that moving in unfamiliar environments is also very stimulating. I think the best thing is to keep doing both.
We imagine that life in a van is anything but comfortable, is there an “inconvenience” that you are now fond of and would not leave behind?
There are many, but one priceless inconvenience for me is getting out of the van in the silence of the night and taking a last pee before going to bed. This simple act, just because it is done in nature and not at home, makes me feel free, makes me feel wild. It makes me feel connected to the environment, like an animal. Ah, of course I throw the toilet paper in my basket in the van 😉
Is there an episode that has confirmed to you over the years that this choice is right for you?
When I wrote my book and retraced my story, I had many moments to reflect on the choice I made. In this journey backwards I have never had a regret. To have had the courage to write about everything, even the darkest moments, and to have been willing to share it is for me the confirmation that I did exactly what I had to do.
Writing for you means “going deep”. When does writing about the outdoors and sport help you to be in touch with yourself and the world?
Writing about what I see, what I feel, is everything to me. It’s no coincidence that my passion for the outdoors has grown along with my passion for writing: for me, experience and storytelling are complementary, one cannot exist without the other. Writing is my way of communicating to myself and to the whole world at the same time.
“When I wrote my book and retraced my story, I had many moments to reflect on the choice I made.
In this journey backwards I have never had a regret. “
What role does sport play in your day?
More than sport as a physical activity, I practice outdoor disciplines, activities that are not only good for my body, but also help me to have a more intimate relationship with myself and help me to grow. These disciplines play a central role in my days: if I am not practising them, I am planning them or writing about them.
Which sports do you practice the most? Which home resorts do you prefer to go to?
I go a lot depending on the season, partly because I like to get away for a while to regain my motivation: in winter I mainly ski mountaineer in my home resort, Santa Caterina Valfurva (and in spring in the Forni Glacier), while in the warmer seasons I climb. One spot I consider home is Val Masino but climbing for me is also an excuse to travel, so I practice it wherever my van takes me.
How important is it for people like you to be properly equipped, from underwear to gear?
It’s essential. I spend most of my days in nature, often in extreme conditions, and I always try to be equipped with what I need. The right equipment allows me to have the adventures I crave and almost always write about. In short, if I follow this reasoning, the equipment allows me to live, in all senses 🙂
What are your plans for this winter?
As well as continuing with the project I am developing here at home, of skiing all the Valfurva peaks and telling the story of the area through this medium (have a look at our website https://www.valfurvaallyoucanski.it/), I also want to ski in new places. I have never used skiing as an excuse to travel, and I would like to start doing so. On the writing side, I’m laying the foundations for two new projects: a new novel and something a bit special about nature and skiing. But I can’t tell you any more than that.