Marisa Raoul: The Australian who didn’t get lost in translation
Writer, journalist, photographer and avid traveller, Marisa Raoul has come back and forward to Sardinia for over 30 years.
Born in Sydney, Australia, to an Italian father and English mother, she has travelled extensively to Italy since she was a teenager. Author of two travel memoirs (Ma Folie Francais, Club Mauranges), she is currently writing her third book, The Journey.
Besides her website www.marisaraoul.com , she runs a successful Instagram blog gallery named @sardiniamylove boasting more than 18.000 followers, which expresses her extreme passion for the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.
Marisa is also a published lyricist and has written the English version of the modern opera “Eterno Divenire” for the Sardinian composer/musician Andrea Cutri.
In her own words: “our genius lies in our capacity to imagine always greater than we are”.[/vc_column_text]
Tell us about your first encounter with Sardinia, when did it all start?
I was fortunate enough to be invited to stay in Sardinia for the first time when I was just 21 years old. I had just started working as an international air hostess for Qantas at the time and had met a lovely Belgian man who was dating one of my best friends. He mentioned his family owned a home in Sardinia and that I was welcome to stay.
Being young and adventurous, I decided to take up his offer.
To cut a long story short, I ended up spending an exciting week in his family villa at Torre Delle Stelle (a small village along the South-East coast, 20 km from Cagliari) and I felt like I had landed in heaven!
It was so far removed from my life in Sydney. The beaches I visited were spectacular, the food was amazing and I felt like I’d landed on some exotic film set surrounded by gorgeous people. My love affair with Sardinia started at that time!
You often describe your passion for Sardinia as extreme. What does this word mean to you?
I suppose the word extreme might sound over the top to some people, however, from the time I first visited the island I felt like I had been bewitched by some magical and mysterious force…no matter how hard I tried to stay away it just kept pulling me back. Sardinia is truly magical and I have always been under her spell. My extreme passion is a result of her magic!
Is there a remarkable aha! moment you had in the island, which you would like to share with us?
There have been dozens of those moments over the years but in more recents visits, my journey to the Golfo di Orosei would have to take the prize.
I am and have always been a lover of the sea. I have sailed and boated all my life and am passionate about marine life and water in general. The day we spent photographing and visiting the coves and beaches of that coastline, would have to be one of the most rewarding and memorable days of my life! As we floated offshore from Cala Goloritze, tears filled my eyes. The intense beauty and majesty of this extraordinary place totally overwhelmed me. Again the island had wrapped me in her spell!
You have travelled to over 30 countries throughout your life and have written several travel memoirs. How has travelling shaped your way of looking at things and your writing style?
I am an intuitive writer. I write what I truly feel and I have a conversation with my readers. I have been told that my style is very intimate and that the reader feels that are traveling with me. That is a great compliment to me as I have always loved sharing my life experiences and stories with anyone who cared to listen.
Travelling from a young age has enabled me to open my mind to the splendour of nature and the richness of the world around us. It has broadened my horizons and given me a wanderlust which I will never lose until the day I leave the planet.
You lived in many different places in Australia as well as Europe. You used to run a Bed and Breakfast in France and decided to become an author during that experience. Now you are back in Sydney. Was it all intentional? How did you approach change in your life?
My life in France was a major turning point in my journey as a woman. It was not only one of the best experiences I have ever had the joy to live through but also opened my mind to countless other opportunities. I had always loved writing stories since I was a child and have written poetry most of my life but until I came home from France, I had never before envisaged writing a book.
Telling my life stories in memoir form was never my first intention. I wrote my first book as a novel but when it was suggested to me that I should be more “honest” and share my true story with the world, I rewrote the manuscript as a travel memoir and that’s when my career in writing truly emerged and succeeded.
If you want to know all the true twists and turns in my journey, you’ll just have to read my books! Haha!
Tell us more about your passion for photography and the #sardiniamylove project. What is the most rewarding part of it?
I have always loved to combine my passion for visual beauty, art and photography with my words. I have been taking photos since I was just a child and have always been intrigued with the art of capturing a moment in time. My passion for Sardinia and its infinite beauty made a perfect muse for me. I have always taken thousands of photos whenever there and I started “Sardinia my love” as a tribute to the island and as a outlet for my passion. At the start I only posted photos of my own but people started asking me to share their photos too and suddenly it became a project rather than a simple hobby. It has grown so quickly and I love the impact it has had on so many people’s lives.
I know for a fact that many Australian, South African and American tourists have visited Sardinia in the past 2 years thanks to my online presence. They will often write to me privately and ask me for suggestions of places to go and things to do. I have become somewhat of a “go-to” person when it comes to Sardinia.
I am honoured to think of myself as a “virtual” ambassador for the island and will always endeavour to spread the love!
Your personal definition of Sardinia is...