Today in the backpacker interviews, I am pleased to introduce you guys to Claudia, the girl behind My Adventures Across the World. Claudia is relatively new to the travel blogging game but is already rising up through the ranks thanks to her unbelievably well organised site – seriously, check it out, it has information on basically everything. Claudia prides herself on getting off the beaten track and exploring destinations few others, myself not included, would consider! Read on and prepare to be enthused…
Tell us about yourself and where your from.
My name is Claudia, I am from Cagliari (Sardinia), the most incredible place on earth. I am obsessed with travelling. I think I was born with the wanderlust gene, and there is hardly a cure for that. I thought that travelling more would make me feel better, instead it got to bad to the point that I had to give up my career as a human rights lawyer and academic, after devoting my life to the protection of cultural identity, to pursue travelling on a regular basis. In November 2013, I eventually gave in to my biggest passion and started travelling around Latin America. I have hardly stopped since.
When did you first hit the road?
I was 8 years old, and my parents took my sister and me to Barcelona. It was a lot of fun, we went to a lot of adventure parks, visited the incredible city, tried foods that were new to us. They did transmit us the wanderlust gene!
Where are you in the world right now?
I am home, in Cagliari, where I returned after another trip to Latin America – this time I spent 4 months away. I am very busy building my blog – it is a tough business – but I don’t complain, because I have endless possibilities here to do some of my favourite things: hiking, biking, visiting interesting cities, and now that the summer is coming, going to the most amazing beaches in the world!
Why did you first want to travel the world?
Wow, what a question! I think curiosity made me want to go exploring. I wanted to see with my eyes the places I had seen in movies, or read about in books. I wanted to breathe that air, walk those streets, taste that food and live that experience. What am I getting out of it? I am learning much more about different cultures than I ever imagined I would. It is a real eye opener, if done in the right way.
What kind of traveller are you?
I am a backpacker. I actually love staying in hostels, in dorms, and meeting other fellow travellers. I like travelling alone – although really, even when travelling alone, I am only alone when I want to. I try to travel on a budget, for the simple reasons that I am not really loaded with money (quite the opposite, in fact) and that this way I can travel for longer periods of time. That means long and often uncomfortable bus rides and lots of local eateries and markets. I actually don’t mind to go to the tourist destinations. I think there is a reason everybody wants to visit the most touristic places, and I am not against going to Venice just because everyone goes there, or to Machu Picchu. They are simply gorgeous. But I also look for places that are more off the beaten path. Actually, I don’t even look for them. I just happen there!
When you travel, how do you get off the beaten path?
I don’t really try to get off the beaten path. I just end up there for whatever reason. I mostly travel in Latin America, and speaking very good Spanish helps, because I can communicate with the locals, who then can recommend me places to be that are not so touristy.
Tell us about one of your coolest adventures
At the end of March 2014 I was in Peru, for my second time. I found out through the owner of a hostel I was staying in Trujillo about a place called Marcahuasi, at about 100 km from Lima. Nobody I knew had even heard of it, and most Peruvians did not even know where it was. I made my way there. I was the only “tourist” in days, I slept in what is perhaps one of the most remote villages in the country, and I hiked the epic Marcahuasi in the company of a dog that followed me from the village. It was great!
Do you have any advice for others wanting to get off the beaten path?
Be prepared! Getting off the beaten path may imply long hours on uncomfortable buses, and having to sleep in random places. Make sure you carry at least some essentials with you, ie a clothes change, toothbrush and toothpaste, any medicines you may need. Also, be prepared to change your plans – off the beaten path in some countries also means that the bus schedule is not regular, and you may get stuck there!
What is your favourite country?
I’d have to say Nicaragua. I have been there three times. My first time there I had zero expectations, in fact I did not think there would be much to see and do there. I actually had a blast and it was the highlight of my trip across Latin America. Now, when people approach me for advice on travelling to Central America, I say they should visit Nicaragua.
10. Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I did not particularly like Panama. A combination of factors made me really uneasy about it. I was not in the right company, I kept being sick, and it was just difficult to leave because any time I seemed to feel better, something else would happen. I did not like the country overall, I found it too dirty and crowded for my taste. But I would go again – with a different state of mind I am sure it would be much better!
Do you have a bucket list?
I do, and it is so long! It is a combination of destinations and activities. Did you know I would like to take singing classes, and learn how to salsa dance and belly dance?
What’s the craziest adventure you have had to date?
A failed attempt to sail San Blas, from Portobelo (Panama) to get to Colombia. I soon realised that yes, I do suffer from seasickness. The 12 hours to get from the bay of Portobelo to the first island of the archipelago (Isla Porvenir) where pure hell. Everyone was having a good time, while I just felt oh so sick. As soon as we arrived in Porvenir, I announced I would leave the boat. I demanded to be taken to shore on the dingy. But it was night, there were no rooms available in the only hostel on the island, and camping was not allowed. I had to literally beg the chief to allow me to plant my tent! And then, when I thought nothing else could happen, it started raining. Looking back at it, it was pretty hilarious.
Do you have a favourite article, tell us about it?
I have a great guide on things to do in Cuba that I am very proud of. Writing it was in a way like giving back to that amazing country, for that really is what started me blogging, that’s where I met people like my friend Guiselaine who inspired me to pursue my dream, and it also taught me so much about travelling in general.
What’s your favourite travel quote?
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. It just means so much more to me, due to my international human rights law background. It says a lot on how travelling really opens up one’s eyes and mind.
Finally, tell us about the adventures you have planned for the next few years.
I would love to go to South East Asia soon, in particular to the Philippines and the Borneo. I don’t have a plan for it, yet – I need to save money. But I will make it, eventually. It is also not a secret that I must go back to Latin America. I can’t help it, I think I left my heart there and I may have to go search for it.
About Claudia: Claudia is from Cagliari (Sardinia) and is obsessed with travelling. A former human rights lawyer and academic, after devoting her life to the protection of cultural identity, in November 2013 Claudia decided to give in to her biggest passion and started travelling around Latin America, and she has hardly stopped since. Blogging came as a natural consequence, for Claudia wanted to let her family and friends be updated with her adventures. You can follow Claudia’s site, My Adventures Across the World, as well as showing her some love on Facebook and Twitter.