“Reflections From Cuba” by Manuela Vitulli

A Personal Essay About What I Learned From Visiting Cuba

(Translated from Italian to English)


What did I bring home from Cuba? Few souvenirs, but most importantly many reflections that matured along the 2800 km of ground I covered exploring the island.


We often take for granted what it means to live in a country that, despite all its problems, allows us to express our thoughts and opinions. A country that allows us to make choices. To travel anywhere. To have materialistic goods. That lets us be an active part of a globalized market, to receive packages from Amazon or simply watch a series on Netflix. To surf the internet and find any kind of information you are looking for.


How would you feel if the TV transmitted only 5 channels in which the information is completely filtered? Or having difficulty finding drinking water in your city? Or being forbidden to buy or rent a boat for fear that you might escape?


I, too, have been the victim of that sense of anger and common dissatisfaction that leads us to criticize our country, comparing it to others. You know, the neighbor’s grass is always greener on the other side. But after Cuba, well, I think a little less like this.


It is not about acceptance, resignation, or “getting something right,” but simply about gratitude. Because things can always get better, but a bit of appreciation for what we already have sometimes does good.


In short, day after day, Cuba reminded me that the place I live in is not so bad. And if the Cubans, despite everything, sing, dance, and smile … why can’t we do it too?

All Photos By Manuela Vitulli


Manuela Vitulli is Italy’s top travel blogger documenting her travel in her native language. Manuela has been sharing her lores since 2012, even winning awards for her travel content. She has been featured in Cosmo, Forbes, Vanity Fair, Elle, and many more others. She is a GoPro Ambassador and even shared her journey on a TED Talk stage. While she is always traveling the world, she loves going back to her home in Bari, Italy. Even if you can’t understand Italian, following her on Instagram is worthwhile.

Cigars! Vintage cars! Life in Cuba is just as lively as ever. We took a trip down to Havana and explored the various happenings nearby. Check out our Video Recap or our interview with Cuba’s tech start up AlaMesa, the food app for locals.