Current location: Beijing, China
1. Who are you and what do you do for living?
Hi there, I am Isabel from North – Italy. I am in my late twenties and have been a passionate traveller since the age of 15. I like to experience life the way it should be experienced, appreciate the small things everyday, travel to foreign countries and see all the beauty mother nature has to offer to us. Lately I have been loving everything which is raw, simple, pure & natural – because in the simplicity of the things lies the true essence. For living I work as a blogger for Idealism Prevails and right now I am also teaching Yoga and conducting Ayurveda workshops in Beijing.
2. Why did you leave home? How does your travel story begin?
I “left” home because it was like an internal call for me. During my studies I knew that at that I wouldn´t be satisfied and it wouldn´t be the right thing for me to start working right away, I knew there was more for me out there – I needed to go my way and do something different. I was “hungry” to experience life, I wanted to volunteer, I wanted to travel, I wanted to study, I just wanted to LIVE and to feel and to experience more and more. So in September 2016, after I finished my medical studies, I went to Lourdes, France to start walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage which crosses Spain. After that I did a backpacking trip to South East Asia, where I visited Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and when I came back home for some time I worked as a teacher in my old primary school and saved some money to later volunteer with Syrian, Afghani, Pakistani refugees in Greece – Lesbos & Idomeni -, then I booked a one way ticket to Nepal, hiked to Mount Everest Base Camp, volunteered at a Rural hospital and from there took a flight to India where I spend most of my time, travelling to places which are off the beaten track, doing different social projects and studying Yoga & Ayurveda. From there it took me to China, where I am right now, to study Acupuncture.
3. Where is home for you?
I think that many different places can be home, mostly it depends on the people we are with but not on a house or on a specific place/location. Hence when my family came to visit me in Romania, that was home for me, when me and my family visit my brother in Hungary than that´s home for me and when I meet my family & friends back in Italy, than that is home.
4. Is travelling something that you learn or something you are born with?
I could say that I was born as a traveller, since my parents also travelled a lot when I was very young but I wouldn´t say that you have to be born as a “traveller”. You can start traveling at any age, I know women who started in their late twenties or even mid/end thirties, so there is definitively no time/age limit for it. All it takes is the wish to experience the world & commit to such a lifestyle, the courage to believe in it and being okay to renounce on one or the other thing.
5. Who is the most interesting person that you’ve meet on the road and why?
I have met many interesting & amazing people throughout this time, as for example one guy who crossed Mongolia by himself on a horse, another guy who climbed to the top of Mt. Everest and who came all the way from Belgium with his bicycle to Pakistan, an Italian girl who learnt Arabic and went to volunteer in Syria, young women who have lost their mothers but turned that loss into helping others and making the world a better place, many health practitioners who commit their life to help others in need – full time, many refugees – women and man- who even though they went through so much are strong beautiful and kind, and many more. I can´t really decide on one person being the most “interesting” as I met so many.
6. What was the biggest challenge that you had to face while being a female traveller?
The biggest challenge for me was and still is all the staring and all the attention that I am getting when in India. I am always watched and it´s a crazy feeling. People are curious- kids, women and man-everyone. The worst is the staring of the man, when they really fixate you. Also the from time to time “harassment” of clicking selfies with you has been quite a challenge, as sometimes NO is not accepted as an answer.
7. How does an ordinary day in your life look like?
In my “travel life”, until now, there has not been such a thing as “an ordinary day “, as it depends whether I am studying, hiking, doing a bike trip or “just” travelling. When I am studying, as for example right now, I do some yoga in the morning, go to my classes and then study, write or teach yoga. Usually during this time I rent a place, and cook myself, as I miss that a lot during travelling and hopping from one guesthouse to the next. When I am travelling by motorbike then I do some yoga in the morning, mostly order breakfast or prepare some oatmeal with dry fruits, pack the bags and start driving to whatever selected destination, on the way have some breaks, visit things if there is something to visit, stop for lunch and then search a place to stay overnight and organize the pictures & write about the experiences of the day. Sometimes we stay in cities/places for longer time – then we do sightseeing, work and relax. When travelling by public transport than I would do some yoga in the morning, order breakfast, make a plan for the day- check what is there to see and how to get there and then act on it, and decide what is the next destination for that country – go and book the train or bus, and of course whenever there is time work on my laptop.
8. What hidden places have you discovered so far? Which are you most fond of?
I just LOVE hidden places, places off the beaten track because these are the places which bear the real essence of the country as they are still quite untouched by tourists. Recently during the trip to Sikkim, northeast India, we went to the land of Lepchas- the indigenous people of Sikkim, we had to drive on muddy roads into a protected area, then leave the bike and walk through the lake which was created by a landslide, then change to a taxi on the other side and drive for another hour. The place was amazing, only local people, very green, very beautiful and very peaceful. On our way back, since it had rained so much during our stay, we couldn´t walk through the lake anymore, so we had to cross on a self made bamboo bridge with all our luggage while trying to keep the balance, not to slide and fall down in between – it was a challenge and I honestly don´t know how I managed! Many other hidden place were in Ladakh- also called “Little Tibet or the land of high passes”, which we visited during our bike trip from Manali to Leh, Ladakh. For example the most stunning was a village right near the border to Pakistan, called Turtuk- an awesome peaceful, very different place- must visit if you are there :).
9. What is your traveling style?
Initially I was travelling by myself – although I feel like when I do travel by myself I am never really alone as I meet so many people and I kind of become friends with everyone really fast - as everyone is very open. This is one of the things which fascinates me. But since the last 2 years I have mostly been travelling together with my partner. We literally travelled by any means possible: train, car, bus, rickshaw, plane, boat, ferry, bike, walking... and mostly, since we are on a budget, we choose the cheapest option.
10. What do you read?
11. What do you miss from home?
Overall I would consider myself rather a person who doesn´t really miss, because whenever I am in a new place – and usually it´s never for a very long time- I just try to adapt and live accordingly and not crave for things which are very far away and not accessible since every place has it´s own beauty and its own things to offer. But if I have to name a few, besides “my people” my family & friends, I miss the nature, mountains, the solitude, the silence, the churches, the peace, the air, the smells and of course the food - especially pizza, all the good bakery stuff, chocolate, a good glass of wine and mostly the art of invisibility.
12. If I’d have told you 5 years ago that this is what your life would look like, what would you have said?
Actually, as weird as it sounds, I always have imagined this – I mean of course not all of it, but the big things – yes. So I do feel like I created this, it happened because I wanted this and I believed in it. Back then I didn’t quite have an understanding how I will do it and let´s say not everybody was agreeing with me at all times but I just knew and felt that somehow it will all happen. So just listen to your inner voice and believe in it and create your own path.