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It was while crossing an ancient stone bridge over the River Tiber on a recent European holiday that our Senior Content Writer, Mike Tuckerman, realised he needed to get back to work.

My wife Ashton and I were two of thousands of football fans crossing the Ponte Milvio in Rome en route to the Stadio Olimpico for Lazio’s final home game of the Serie A season.

The club has earned an unenviable reputation for its right-wing support, with a minority of its notorious Curva Nord embracing – shall we say – a less than inclusive ideology.

But it was also the club I became obsessed with in the mid-1990s when the electrifying Giuseppe Signori finished top of Serie A’s goalscoring charts in three out of four seasons.

I was mesmerised by Signori when I first saw him on the old Football Italia highlights show and vowed – however long it took – to one day watch a Lazio game in the flesh.

But it still felt surreal to be crossing the Tiber some 30 years later to watch a club go around that had long only existed in my dreams.

Why Work, if Not to Live?

Why is it that we work, if not to enjoy our lives?

Sure, our jobs often provide us a sense of well-being – particularly when we enjoy what we do. 

And that’s especially the case when what we do helps out others who benefit from our expertise.

But realistically, many of us work to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. And for a long time, that’s all Ashton and I had been doing.

Which wasn’t necessarily by design. 

In 2020, after the Socceroos had been invited to the Copa America and were set to face – among others – Lionel Messi’s all-powerful Argentina at the Estadio Monumental, we had our flights to and accommodation in Buenos Aires booked.

But then the pandemic hit, and like a lot of Aussies, we had to put our travel plans on hold.

Four years later, we realised just how desperately we needed a holiday. A European holiday, to be exact.

A European holiday is a rite of passage for many Australians.

Lazio fans inside the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

We Crossed That Bridge When We Came to It

It was crossing the bridge over the River Tiber that ultimately made me stop and think.

We’d done a lot of cool things on our weeks-long romp through Europe up to that point.

We’d visited the British Museum. We’d spent some time with Vincent at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. We saw countless Impressionist paintings at the fabulous Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

And we watched a lot of football – both in the stadiums and on TV.

It was surreal to see Crystal Palace smash Manchester United in front of a febrile atmosphere at Selhurst Park on a Bank Holiday Monday.

And the noise when Marco Reus curled home a flawless free-kick for Borussia Dortmund in his final home game against Darmstadt was unbelievable.

Meanwhile, a trip to the Parc des Princes – where Paris Saint Germain’s notoriously hard-to-please supporters were incensed to see their side go down to the aptly named Toulouse – was as chaotic as it was memorable.

But it was strolling over the Ponte Milvio that really put things into perspective.

They Do Things Differently in Rome

We heard the massed ranks of Lazio fans before we saw them. 

As we stepped off the northern end of the Ponte Milvio, tentatively following the crowd, we could hear the low rumble of Laziale congregating in the streets around the Olimpico.

Then as we swept towards Via Flaminia, it soon became apparent why the noise was so loud.

There were tens of thousands of Lazio fans drinking in the roadside bars and cafes en route to the stadium.

Every single fan was wearing sky blue – we spotted thousands of Immobile and Nesta jerseys, and even a few vintage Signori ones – and everyone was chatting amiably and soaking up the late autumn sunshine.

More than 53,000 fans ended up piling through the gates of the charmingly shabby Stadio Olimpico for what was a relatively meaningless clash with already relegated Sassuolo.

They were there to farewell guest of honour, Sven-Göran Eriksson – the Swedish coach who memorably led Lazio to their last title in 2000, and who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer – just as much as they were to enjoy the final game of the season.

And they celebrated every second of it like it was the last football game they would ever attend.

Remembering Why It Is We Do What We Do

So, what was it that made me realise I needed to get back to work as I strolled towards the Tribuna Tevere along with thousands of other Lazio fans?

It wasn’t the fact that after almost a month into our European holiday, Ashton and I were feeling a bit fatigued.

Nor was it the atmosphere inside the Olimpico – which after visits to Selhurst Park, the Parc des Princes, and Westfalenstadion, was by far the loudest stadium we visited.

It was simply the stark realisation that I didn’t want this to be a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that offers flexible working arrangements and is happy for staff to use their annual leave.

And if the goal of a holiday is to come back to work feeling refreshed, then mission accomplished.

Evidently, a five-week trip through Europe was exactly what I needed to recharge the batteries and come back to my job as Senior Content Writer for Hunt & Hawk feeling re-energised.

But it also lit a fire inside me to do it all again.

After all, we can all say that we work to live. But actually doing it is so much more fun.

Dreaming of Your Own European Holiday?

We know our clients are busy. That’s why we have an in-house team of sales, marketing, and branding experts at your service.

We take on the heavy lift of getting your brand in front of the right people at the right time – so you can spend more time doing what you love.

Drop us a line to find out how we can help… and start pencilling in that European holiday.

Simply email hello@huntandhawk.com or book a meeting to chat.

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