Monday, September 8, 2014

Marta-Chan's Travels: Live the Dream and Travel the World on a Micro- Or No- Budget

Traveling the world is The Ultimate Dream for most, and we tend to put it on the back burner. We say we'll wait until we're old and retired, have more time, or have more money. I say, EFF that. I have severe wanderlust and want to see every corner of this planet. This why Marta-Chan (originally from Portugal) who blogs about her world travels at Shanti Free Bird is such an inspiration. She's does what I daydream about at least once a day; adapt travel as a lifestyle. 
Today she's sharing her tips for traveling on a budget. 

1) When/How did you start your budget world travels?
Traveling as a lifestyle? Three years ago when I decided to leave my job and go backpacking alone in India. I was thinking [I'd] stay 2 months and ended up backpacking 7 months in Asia.

2) What was your favorite place to visit?
India stole my heart, it's the only country so far I wouldn't mind going back every year. It's pretty spiritual and many mysterious things happen there. Also I love Indians, women wearing colorful saris, the food, lassis, different landscapes.

3) How about a favorite sight?
I can't choose one. When I was trekking in Annapurna (Nepal) circuit I've seen many stunning sights. Also in Lago Atitlan area (Guatemala) you can find secret spots with beautiful nature and this huge lake surrounding. I also love to go up high buildings to watch the cities from a different scenario and so far New York and Melbourne are among my favorites. 

A Flea Market in Amsterdam 

4) Favorite activity?
So far, riding a camel in the desert! But there's soooo much I wanna do still, like diving in Philippines, jump from a plane, explore the Amazon...

5) How long have you been traveling?
The first long trip was 7 years ago in Europe, then I lived in USA for a year. I tried to settle in Portugal but the travel itch was getting out of control :P

6) What's your long-term goal for your travels? Are you going to settle down one day?
I don't have a goal. Right now, in this moment, traveling is what makes me happy, it's the way I wanna live. Traveling gives you the real freedom to be who you are and to do exactly what/when you want. Plus, when I travel I spend less money then when I'm living in Portugal because I don't have to pay an house or bills. I'll probably settle for a while soon, maybe not more then 6 months? hehe

7) Tell us a little about yourself, please!
- I love simple things in life like a sunset on the beach or read a book in an hammock.
- I'm never satisfied, that's the reason why I couldn't see anymore documentaries on National Geographic channel, I wanted to see with my eyes these magical places in this planet, to feel it, to touch it. 
- I'm a Social Worker and one of my (thousand) dreams is to start an intervention project in one of Brazil's favelas. 
- I'm passionate about any kind of music: bossanova, drum and bass, acid jazz, 60's rock, ska, reggae, hip hop. Anything goes! I just want to dance :) 
- Pizza is my favorite food, I could eat pizza every single day. 
- My first and last names are animals: Marta is mink and Coelho is rabbit.

8) How about some favorite hobbies?
Anything to do with handmade or crafting, reading books and blogs, going to the beach, hiking, play with pets, dance, attend workshops, go to concerts and flea markets...  

9) About about 3 honorable mentions for favorite places seen?
Besides Sahara Desert, Himalayas, Hampi (India) and Foz Coa (Portugal). There are manyyyyy more!

10) Weirdest encounter/story?
When hitch hiking you collect many funny and weird stories but I'm going to tell you a story that happened when I was in a village in North India where I was the very first tourist ever seen! I spent all day drinking chai and talking with locals when the police came and asked me for my passport. It was in my room so I said I would bring it later to the police station (or mini office?!) but they reacted pretty nervous! At some point there was 30 indians talking with the police in Hindi and I couldn't understand a word! Finally a lawyer who knew English helped me out... I just had to sign up a paper and show the passport later. What a relief *phewwww*

11) Best encounter/story?
Not best because I cannot name one but best for that exactly moment. We were traveling in Honduras for 3 days and didn't stop raining, we were sick of the weather so decided to move to Nicaragua. This time we were asking for a ride for less then a minute when a man pulled over. Besides being the Honduras Red Cross Director, he was also the Pizza Hut Director. In the way he invited us to go to a Pizza Hut restaurant because he had some papers to sign and eat all we want! You should see our table full of pizzas and deserts and we still brought food with us for the week :))

12) How can anyone get started on a vagabond journey like your own?
Anyone in the world, any age can do it! First of all you need to get rid of your fears especially of getting out of your comfort zone. Then you need to make sure you don't leave nothing behind: all bills are paid, your family is healthy and agree (more or less) with your travel, that issue with that friend is solved, etc. etc. then you are completely free to travel.

Besides fear, money is other common barrier. If you are an artist you are all set! You can perform on the streets or you can sell your crafts in the way. My advice is to save as much as possible and depending on your budget travel to certain countries. If you have a budget of 20 dollars a day I suggest you to travel in Asia or South America. Europe, Australia, Canada can be extremely expensive. I say don't worry too much about money because people out there are cooperative and sensible, they will offer you a meal or to stay in their places. There's always someone who will give you a hand ;)

13) Any budget traveling tips to share?
I wrote How to Travel on a Budget and you can also read this post explains how I organize my tips.

Van's Note: Had to share a good one on Minimalist Packing

We're all envious of your travels, Marta! I can't wait to see the world and take exactly 1 Million photos of it, too! Thanks for sharing your tips with us! 

Anyone else have travel tips to share? Stories? Fantasies? I'd love to read them in the comments. I'm starting with my area (so much to see in your own backyard, State, and country) but can't wait to travel more! 
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  1. I love travelling and one day would like to sell everything and go live in another country for 6 months a year. I am not sure hubby could handle that but I definitely could do it. I fear doing it by yourself might be a bit lonely at times though, not sure I could do that. My favorite travels were to Egypt and Portugal. I definitely want to go back to Egypt - this time take hubby as last time I went about 15 years ago when I was a travel agent and hadn't met him yet. So many places to go, so little time:)

    1. I have the same dream. :D Hope I can bring my bf with me when the time's right.

    2. You are very welcome in Portugal =) if you need any travel tips or information drop me a line. Even though I consider myself as a world citizen I born and grew up in the beautiful Portugal ♥

    3. Thank you Marta, will definitely keep that in mind :D

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  3. I'm An arm chair traveler with all my pets thanks for this post
    Retro rover

    1. Same here with all of my projects o_O but I'm working on minimizing everything so I can feel more free. Her photos are definitely great travel porn for the rest of us.

  4. Replies
    1. She has balls of adamantium for sure, very admirable.

    2. I just follow my heart and soul =) balls balls have my friend who is cycling from portugal to south africa and back for a year or those girls who hitch hike by themselves the whole planet, oh boy!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Yes indeed, you guys are brave. You don't travel alone Marta, always with partners? I often dream of selling everything I have and backpacking the world. Every time I bring in a new item I'm like, "Well, damn, am I hindering my world-travel dreams and putting down too many 'roots'?"

    5. Do it Van, if it's something you really want to! If you ever come back you will start from zero and do exactly what makes you happy, the life you've been dreaming about. It's worth it the risk!

    6. Thanks for the encouragement, Marta :D

  5. Awesome update! Here's to a successful round the world trip with everything falling into place and experience even better than you dreamed.

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