1) Hi Joanna, and congratulations on being a globelle gal in focus! Where in the world could we currently find you?
First of all, thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your incredible project! I’ve been traveling in Australia since December and am currently living in Melbourne.
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
When I was 20 (OMG! Time flies! I can’t believe it’s been 8 years already!) I realized that I was living on “autopilot”. I felt like I was living someone else’s life... I was studying to be a nurse, without seeing a future for myself in the profession. I knew it wouldn't make me happy in the long run, but at the same time I didn’t have a clue what I would like to study. I felt so lost and decided that I had to leave my comfort zone and do something amazing with my life.
I’d never left Brazil before. Suddenly, the idea of seeing new places, learning a new language (at the time I couldn’t speak any foreign languages fluently) and meeting new people started to grow in my head. I was convinced it was the right move for me, but I couldn’t afford to move abroad just like that.
That was when I heard of Au Pairing. Through a website called Au Pair World (https://www.aupairworld.com/en) I found a family in Germany to work for. Within three months I embarked on the trip that changed my life completely.
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
That’s the hardest question ever! Taiwan is a country I would love to go back to. I love getting a good culture shock when I arrive at a new destination, and Taiwan definitely delivered it in a very nice way! The exotic foods, the night markets that sell pretty much everything from food to contact lenses and the Hello Kitty culture are just a few of the things that really stand out from my time there.
4) Who would you say has been the most influential person to your travels, and why?
To start with, myself! No one really encouraged me to leave Brazil when I decided to move abroad. My parents and I are very close and they were definitely not expecting me to leave Rio! (HQ: We loved this answer! Recognising your own role in directing your life is so important!)
My boyfriend Rich and I have been together for over two years now and he is the person that pushes me out of my comfort zone all the time and encourages me to do more, see more and be more!
5) What is the worst thing that's happened to you on the road? How did you deal with it?
I nearly kicked the bucket last year in Guatemala! I heard about a tour where you could camp at the top of an active volcano and I had to give it a go. Halfway through the very intense hike up Acatenango we decided to have a quick lunch break under a tree. We were sat there for about 10 minutes when rain started to pour down so heavily that we had to pack up and carry on to our campsite.
We hadn’t walked for more than 15 seconds when we heard a deafening “BOOM”. It was so loud that I felt it shaking my whole body! We saw chunks of wood flying everywhere and when we looked around, the tree that we had been sat under wasn’t there anymore. No one said anything for a while. We couldn’t believe our eyes! The worst part was that we couldn’t carry on, but we couldn’t turn back either as we were surrounded by trees. After about 45 minutes of huddling together in the rain, the storm calmed down a bit and our guide told us that we couldn’t complete the hike. I’ve never been so scared in my life!
6) Obviously life on the road is about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
My phone! I use it to take pics, write blog posts, message my family and friends and even as a mirror to check if I have food stuck in my teeth! (HQ: Always crucial)
7) You're fluent in English and Portuguese, and not too shabby at German and Italian either. How has being bilingual helped you on your travels? How did you go about learning and fostering your language skills?
I must say that being able to speak a foreign language is amazing! If I only spoke Portuguese I wouldn’t have made 1/3 of the friends that I’ve made on the road! I’ve never been a good student. I love learning new things, but I can’t stand the pressure that schools put on you. I decided that I wanted to learn English in a fun way so I started to watch Friends. I would watch the same episode over and over again. For the first time, i'd watch it with Portuguese subtitles, then again with English subtitles writing down the words I didn’t know and finally I would watch it one more time without any subtitles. It took me ages to finish the 10 seasons but it worked! Thanks Monica, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel and Joey! You guys were amazing teachers!
8) Since being on the road, you've recorded your adventures through your instagram @fitbackpacker. The response to this has been fantastic. What are your plans for the future with this? What message do you want to share for female travellers out there?
When I started the Instagram account @fitbackpacker I didn’t really know what to expect. I wanted to share my adventures and encourage people (mainly myself) to be more active. I’ve been getting so many positive messages and meeting so many great people through it that it has become a life project.
9) As well as being a globelle gal here at GT, you've contributed to other wonderful travel sites such as @blogmochilando. How did this come about? What advice would you give to our globelle gals out there also aiming to make headway in the travel blogging industry?
Blog Mochilando is one of the biggest travel blogs in Brazil and I’m really proud to be part of it! It all started with my Instagram account @fitbackpacker. I was already following Blog Mochilando on Instagram and I thought I had a few stories they might be interested in sharing on their website. I emailed them one day introducing myself and telling them a little bit about my travels and asked if they would be interested in posting one of my travel adventures and they got back to me saying that I was exactly the person that they’d been looking for.
My heart nearly stopped when I read their response! I had a Skype “interview” with the two owners and they welcomed me into their amazing project! So my advice is to really go for it! Email as many people as you can. Show them your passion and do it with all your heart! It may sound cliche but I believe the universe conspires if you have a clear goal in mind.
10) What does travelling mean to you?
Honestly, I can’t imagine what my life would be like without traveling. I think I might be addicted! After meeting people from all over the world, eating weird and wonderful foods and getting to know different cultures, I just can't imagine ever going back to what I used to consider a "normal life". Travelling has definitely changed me for the better!
11) If you could offer one piece of advice to those travelling for the first time, either as part of a group or solo, what would it be?
Trust your instincts, especially when traveling solo!
12) And finally, how can globelle gals get in touch with you?
You can find me on Instagram as @fitbackpacker and email me on firstname.lastname@example.org (I absolutely LOVE meeting like minded people and I’d love to hear from you gals!)
My website www.fitbackpacker.com will soon be live as well, i can't wait to share it with all the wonderful globelle gals out there!