ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – When Matteo Ribecco was a little boy – “maybe three or four years old,” he says, the youngster told his parents he was going to be a world traveler when he grew up.
“I have wanted to do that for as long as I can remember,” Matteo said.
However, his parents were not sure how their son could fulfill such big goals. Born and raised in Reggio Emilia, a small city in Northern Italy, Matteo did leave his hometown to study contemporary history at the University of Bologna.
He also started satisfying his wanderlust and discovered a way to travel and earn money to fund it. Matteo started his career at sea seven years ago as a guest relations manager and immediately fell in love with the ocean.
Now Matteo is one of the newest team members of Oceania Cruises. He joined the Sirena staff three months ago as the ship’s executive concierge.
“It is the best company to work for,” Matteo said. “I get to meet thousands of people and everyone has an interesting story to tell.”
Working four months on and two months off, Matteo makes his home in Bali. When he isn’t working, Matteo visits with his family in Italy and then he hits the road, often backpacking.
“There is so much of the world still to see,” he said, adding that he also wants to learn as many languages as he can so he can converse with people he meets. I know that he is already quite fluent in English.
The three favorite places Matteo said he has visited are Namibia, Bolivia and Easter Island. The top three on his list to see are Antarctica, Timbuktu and the Northern Lights.
“My best friend and I have a saying that we try to live by – ‘Always live without regret.’ Why regret that you haven’t traveled or done something or learned something? You don’t want to have those regrets when you die,” he said.
“My goal is to visit every country in the world,” the 33-year-old said. “That is a promise I made to myself and I’m going to do it.”
Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch