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Travelling (By Bike) With Brina – Interview To Sabrina Steriti

Today, HUMANS paints itself with the colors of nature and brings on board a special protagonist, Sabrina Steriti. A plant-based self-taught chef and content creator (you can find her on Instagram and YouTube), who takes care of everything concerning a healthy and natural diet, and a lifestyle with low environmental impact!

What is plant-based? How and when did you approach this world?

Plant-based nutrition aims at the well-being of the individual (it is not a diet: I do not like to speak in terms of diet because this word brings with it a negative connotation of restriction/constraint). More than a diet I like to call it a lifestyle, a real way of living and feeding yourself!

As can be imagined, this type of nutrition is based on the plant world, which is rich and varied, as perhaps no one had ever taught us before. As children, we learn that vegetables are a side dish and fish is good for our health. The truth is that we are in 2021 and the things that were thought to be good for our well-being, years and years ago, now are not healthy at all. Just think about environmental and ethical health…

I approached vegetarian cuisine back in 2013, after approaching some extremely powerful documentaries (I remember Samsara in particular). It has been a step-by-step path that I recommend to all those who would like to improve their health, and therefore their lives, and/ or who care about the planet and sustainability!

In line with the values and knowledge that she promotes and disseminates, Brina is an aware and eco-friendly traveler…

What was the first place you visited and what trip opened the way for your life change?

I have no doubt, the Working Holiday in Australia in 2013, after my graduation! Making my first working experience in a place so far ahead, with many vegan and environment-friendly coffees, made me aware that I still had so much to discover and learn. There, I tasted the first tropical fruits and had the first encounter with avocado and the vegan cheeses… wow! In Australia, I also met bike couriers for the first time and I told myself: I want to be one of them!

This is how I developed my desire to experiment with new dishes, fresh ingredients, and more awareness. The kitchen has always been my comfort place since I was a child, I always loved cooking.

I was in Australia when I watched Samsara. I strongly remember I was pervaded by a feeling of awareness: from that moment on things would have changed for me. Finally, I could see with my own eyes that behind what I used to call “food” there is extreme suffering, waste of resources, and inadequate nourishment!

While waiting for more peaceful times, do you have any advice on how to travel with a careful eye on the environment?

Take your bike with you wherever you go, even on the plane! You will see that it is not as difficult as you think. In this regard, I am preparing a guide on Bali – where I currently live – which will also contain many practical tips on traveling and how to organize a cheap and environmentally-friendly trip!

Surely, there are infinite easy tricks to make your travel more conscious: take always a bottle with you and buy fruit in local markets when you’re hungry… Sometimes we don’t think about it, but nature gives us fabulous snacks, full of nutrition and plastic-free!

Until a few months ago, Brina owned vegetarian gastronomy in Turin, in my beloved San Salvario district. I remember that, even before I moved from Naples, I had noted all the “restaurants to try” and the Baracchino Itinerante was at the top of the list. Then, I discovered that it was 5 minutes from home and that place became my new obsession… I wish all the obsession were this lovely, colorful and healthy!

Would you like to tell us about your business path?

Everything began after a work/training experience in Indonesia, where I assisted two “improvised” Italian chefs (one architect, the other electrician!) who were running a restaurant by the sea. At that time, a light went on in my head! These two people started cooking at home for fun and they did it… why couldn’t I hack it?

I began to experiment with new creative recipes. With the money earned in Australia, I was dreaming of going back to Turin and opening a tiny place to give the city what it lacked: innovative gastronomy with many dishes from the world, not explicitly vegan, but based on healthy, fast, and genuine food offer.

I wanted everyone to feel welcomed, so I preferred not to give it the label of a vegan restaurant. I did not even use in my recipes all the meat substitutes that most omnivores do not appreciate. In this way, I think I managed to get to many more clients, just because there was no prejudice. So, I went back to Turin in April 2015 and, after a trial period with friends and family, dinners at home, “beta testing” and positive reviews, I decided to launch my project!

What difficulties did you encounter, if there were some?

The biggest difficulty was to find the right place. I wanted it to be in a central location to allow us to get anywhere by bike for delivery. Moreover, it didn’t have to require a start-up investment higher than what I could afford and it had to be a small place to keep prices “popular”… the perfect 7-8 euros lunch break! I was about to sign a contract for a place in Corso Principe Eugenio… I often wonder how it would have gone if I had undertaken that path.

Another difficulty was that of reconciling work with the rest of my life. Since I completely trusted my project, I have sacrificed many aspects of my personal life. But I do not regret any of this and I am sure that things should go exactly this way!

In the beginning, I did everything on my own: menu, shopping, cooking, and deliveries. But soon I realized I couldn’t do all of this alone. So, I had to face the difficulty of recruiting staff. Initially, I struggled… it was very challenging to understand how to recognize and relate with people who could be truly passionate about the project. Luckily, I met extraordinary friends who have accompanied me in my personal and professional growth, being by my side in time of need. Together we created much more than a restaurant, but a place of exchange and mutual growth.

When I watched Brina announcing in a video that she would leave the Baracchino, I was incredulous but, at the same time, I felt a surge of pride and esteem for her. I heartily admire those who decide to pursue their passions and indulge their instincts, facing all the fears that change inevitably entails.

How did you land this choice?

I realized I wanted to do my job differently. Cooking a meal was no longer “enough” for me, I felt I had something else to give. I know it’s not the same thing, but I was dreaming of creating social media content to help people in their daily lives. Many people ask me whether this jump into the void was scary: certainly, it was, but when my instinct speaks so clear and strong I just have to listen to it.

The good news is that Il Baracchino Itinerante is far from ending its life! I wanted it to continue the adventure. Now, the enthusiastic and creative Cristina and Martina are carrying on the legacy!

And so, after a while, I could dedicate my time to writing the first guides, and I finally regained some of my lost freedom! I’m still learning, finding my balance, and creating along the way… The most exciting thing about this new job is that it can be done remotely, allowing me to travel again.

Besides her super active, interesting, and extremely fun Instagram profile, Brina has recently created an account on Buy Me A Coffee, where she publishes many beautiful mini-guides to accompany anyone who wants to take a path towards environmental sustainability and food awareness.

I discovered this platform thanks to you but maybe many readers still do not know about it… Can you explain how it works? Are your ebooks available only there or is it possible to find them in an alternative way?

Of course! Buy Me A Coffee, as well as Patreon and other platforms, are useful tools for artists, creators, bloggers, etc.

Buy Me A Coffee allows the creators to monetize their content in several ways: there are symbolic “donations” (start from a coffee to higher amount); there is the opportunity to upload and sell extras (such as ebooks, videos, consulting, etc.), and it is also possible to pay a monthly subscription to have access to specific content.

Moreover, thanks to these platforms, followers can show their gratitude and affection by supporting the work of creators. So, I took courage and I threw myself into it from January 2021!

Now, I am satisfied with my work because I feel I’m giving my contribution, and it is inspiring and pleasant to see it “recognized” through purchases and donations. Moreover, the opportunity of genuinely interacting with supporters is interesting and constructive.

The world we live in leads us to a distorted perception of happiness. We feel happy after buying something but that feeling of well-being vanishes shortly after because we adapt immediately to the new condition of ease and the temptation to have even more becomes unstoppable. Happiness linked to material goods, therefore, is transient and will tend to fade quickly. This is, in short, the so-called Easterlin paradox, formulated in 1974 by a professor of economics at the University of California, Richard Easterlin, who showed that people’s happiness increases as wealth grows but, at some point, it starts to decrease following an upside-down U-curve.

Already two hundred years before, the economist and philosopher Antonio Genovesi wrote: 

“It is the law of the universe that we cannot make our happiness without making that of others”. 

An eternal maxim, which adapts to every historical and cultural context. And, at present, the level of happiness spread within a community certainly cannot be separated from greater attention to promoting more sustainable lifestyles.

Brina, what is happiness to you?

Good question… But I don’t know, I have no idea!

Follow your instincts? Listen to each other, actively choose your destiny, get in the game. I don’t know other maxims, I’m sorry! I’m still trying to understand what happiness is for me : )

Photo Credit: Sabrina Steriti

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