How would you describe yourself in 5 sentences?
I’m a digital geek and love to learn and keep track of the latest advances in technology and gadgets. I’m a logical thinker and try to find efficiency in everything I do. At the same time, I’m a daydreamer and very skilled in imagining useless hypothetical scenarios in my head. Crazy busy cities are a delight to my eyes but I was born on an island and I feel that nature is my element more and more. Oh and I love animals, even more than some humans.
Why didn’t you sell all your belongings to travel the world? Are you a “real” traveler?
I don’t think one needs to sell all their stuff to be considered a legit traveler. Each person has their own motivations and priorities in life and the key is to add traveling into the mix and try to balance everything. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. In my view, a real traveler is somebody who is able to immerse oneself in the local culture and try to live a local experience as much as possible, regardless of the number of countries visited.
Can you imagine traveling without technology?
Ironically and despite my blog’s name (Geeky Explorer), I can! As a matter of fact, I now am at a point when I’m considering going on a digital detox holiday. Maybe it’s turning-30-me speaking?
Don’t get me wrong, I think technology has made traveling easy and accessible for everyone. My phone is a very powerful tool abroad, enabling me to navigate properly and efficiently, communicate and find amazing value restaurants and places. But at the same time I’m more aware this can become a huge dependency. And being dependent is never a good thing. Technology is present in our daily lives at all times. It’s good to log off once in a while and explore the world “off the grid”, too.
It says in your blog that you travel smart. What does it mean?
Travel smart means to travel efficiently, making the best decisions possible. I’m not a fan of extremely thorough holiday planning, but I definitely do research that allow me to make better choices while I am abroad and overall improve my travel experience. All because I hate to waste time and money, specially when I’m traveling.
This is what I try to convey to my readers in my blog. I put myself in their shoes and try to help them with detailed but easy-to-digest guides, itineraries and advice that can save time, money or both. These are supposed to be the building blocks of their trip. The rest is completely up to them and I emphasize that is essential to allow some improvisation and flexibility on the go. Figuring out the giant puzzle of your next destination is part of the beauty of travel ;)
What is so special about your travel articles?
Most travel bloggers focus on themselves and on sharing their own personal experiences. They’re the stars of their own blogs. That’s fine, there’s a market for that.
But my focus is on my readers. I’ve never been a huge storyteller or had the desire to be in the spotlight and serve as a role model for anyone. I like to help people solve problems; in this case travel-related problems. That’s what I really like to do and I think this comes from my background in Engineering.
The overall feedback I’ve gotten from my readers is that my content is detailed and useful but simple and easy to read at the same time. That’s exactly what I try to achieve in each new post. Create something as original as possible that has an added value for the reader and improves their travel experience.
What do you love the most about traveling?
The cliché that traveling enables one to explore new places, get to know new cultures and meet completely different people is true. But I love traveling because it’s an inner journey too. More than people think. Each trip is an opportunity to peek into the unknown that challenges you, pushes the limits of your own life perspective and overall opens your mind and makes you grow tremendously as a human. I think that’s why the people I enjoy having long conversations with about the most varied topics (not only travel!) are frequent travelers.
What is it you don’t like about traveling?
All the airport hassle. It’s a weird, stressful and consumerist place where people don’t behave naturally. If you think about it, the whole check-in > security > gate > airplane > picking up the bags process is so inefficient that it makes me crazy. I’d much rather take a train!
What is the most common misconception about being a traveler or travel writer?
There are 2 huge misconceptions in my opinion. The first is that’s expensive to travel. Even though we’re are in the 21st century and you can literally hop on an international flight for less than $10, people still repeat this to exhaustion. Flash news: this is false. Airfare is cheaper than ever and affordable hostels are now available anywhere - and I’m not talking about those dodgy ones with bedbugs and 20 bunkbeds per room. Still many of my friends think I’m rich which is hilarious (I wish!). But when I tell them what my budget for the past trips was and ask them how much they spend on alcohol, smoking and eating out every month, they eventually start getting how to do it, too.
The other misconception is that travel blogging is an easy thing to do. “Oh so THAT’S what you do: you just travel somewhere, write a couple lines and profit!”. It’s so much more than that, at least for the ones like me who do everything on the website on their own. To have a truly successful travel blog nowadays, you need to combine a lot of different skills: content marketing, social media, copywriting and user experience. A bit of coding doesn’t hurt either.
Do you personally visit all the places you are writing about?
Yes. I would never write an article about a place I’ve never been.
Which destinations are at the top of your bucket list right now?
My bucket list doesn’t stop getting bigger which is both frustrating and exciting. Right now my eyes are on Japan, Iceland and Peru/Bolivia.
If you had an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, what would your itinerary look like?
My rational side is saying to pick the most expensive place I can remember so I’d probably put together a busy itinerary in Norway or Switzerland. However, my adventurous side just says fly me as close to Antarctica as possible and I’ll figure out what to do there for the rest of the day!
What is the most overrated country or location you’ve been to?
I have to pick Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a beautiful place but it’s impossible to overlook the impact of massive tourism there.
What is the most underestimated country or location you’ve been to?
If you had ask me this question 2-3 years ago I’d definitely say my home country Portugal. But all of a sudden it has become the trendiest travel destination in Europe. So I’ll go with Ninh Binh, Vietnam. Everyone talks about Halong Bay and Sapa, but this place took my breath away!
Thank you Bruno!
Simona from Sygic Travel