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An Interview with Iuliana from Authentic Travels
#1 Who are you and How would you describe yourself?
I am a person with a huge amount of curiosity. Since I was a little girl, I had to discover what’s there in the backyard, then in the garden of our neighbors, then in the street, and so on. If I relate to that, I can easily understand why I feel authentic when I travel or if I talk/write about my travels. Having the chance to discover unique places during my travels is a real blessing for me. Knowing that there are fantastic places in this world motivates me in the hardest moments of my life and one way or another, for the sake of travel, I find a way to move on.
#2 What got you into travelling?
I had (and I still have) a huge desire to discover new places, to see how other people live, to understand them, to live like them, to see a different way doing the same things I do back home but in a different environment. Or simply to do things I don’t do or I can’t do when I am in Romania.
#3 What is your favourite destination in the world and why?
Until I went to Petra, Jordan, I hadn’t had a favorite destination in the world. After arriving in Petra, I understood why it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. That moment when you exit the Siq (the narrow canyon you have been walking for 2 km) and enter the huge open space in front of the iconic Treasury, … that’s the moment when I fell in love with Petra. If I add the Bedouin people I befriended there, the reddish sandstone cliffs, the thrilling mix of Nabataean and Roman architecture …. then you understand why Petra is an experience you will never forget.
#4 What sort of a traveller are you?
A very slow traveler. And definitely not a tourist who takes selfies everywhere. I am that kind of traveler who wants to live for a couple of days in the desert with Berber and Bedouin people. I prefer to stop in the remotest villages just the see (and stay) in huts of indigenous people. I count a lot on talking and meeting local people – without them traveling is not a complete experience for me.
#5 What’s your most memorable experience during your travels?
I will refer again to Petra, but that Bedouin I befriended there, he made my stay. Khalil was one of the most generous people I have ever met. He invited me to have tea with them in their cave (Bedouin live in caves in Petra), then he invited me for dinner with his sister’s family in the nearby village. I will never forget that moment when we all sat on the floor and ate with our hands from the same plate. That means sharing!
Not to mention that the following day, Khalil took off a free day from his job and went with me in Petra for a whole day. We rode his donkey to the remotest corners of Petra and I am the happy one who can say I was showed Petra by a local Bedouin who loves this piece of land from all his heart. ‘You will find me in Petra when you come back’, Khalil said to me when we said goodbye. ‘I want to stay here for the rest of my life – Petra is my home.’
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Waiting for the clouds to go away from Kotor old town, Montenegro. Kotor is a small historic town, but it has a dreadful micro-climate. The town is situated at the very end of a fjord and all the clouds gather above it, on Mount Lovcen. This is one of the moments when the sun is shining for 10 minutes. Up the mountain, the fortifications go from the town to the hilltop. . . . #kotorunesco #visitkotor #oldkotor #kotoroldtown #kotor #worldheritagesite #unesco #montenegro🇲🇪 #montenegrowildbeauty #montenegro #montenegrolifestyle #montenegrobeauty #crnagora #crnagora🇲🇪 #formeryugoslavia #authentictravels #authentictravel #authentic #liveauthentic #solotraveler #femaletravelbloggers #dametraveler #travelgirls #girlslovetravel #instatravel #igtravel #livingtraveling #goandexplore #neverstopexploring
#6 Your take on responsible travel?
That’s a tough question – because, on one side, tourism is a growing industry, without pollution. On the other hand, mass tourism is not going to be good, especially in the small/medium towns/ villages. Responsible travel is when the local authorities understand that more tourism will harm the values they promote for tourism and create rules in order to keep the number of visitors under control.
#7 How do you sustain your travels?
I am one of the luckiest persons who has a house to rent. I can’t thank enough my family for taking care of me when I was a student and buying a house for me. Now I don’t live there anymore but I haven’t sold it either. The best solution is to rent it and that money go directly into my travel funds. I don’t have to stress and save extra money for travel, I just know that I can travel four to five months per year with that money (for more expensive destinations, maybe a shorter period).
#8 How do you manage your budget during your travels?
Well, we lived in communism for many years so we are used to not having everything. Even if now we can buy anything in Romania, I must admit I still have a limiting belief that tells me I have to manage somehow with a certain amount of money. I don’t know how I do it, I think is an internal knowledge and intuition that tells me what accommodations to chose and where to eat in order to not affect my budget.
I have never been one of those persons who spends infinite amounts of money on shopping neither needed luxury. I have always planned what I want to buy and when I can buy that thing, so it’s pretty easy for me to say ‘no’ when I know it’s too much and say ‘yes’ when I know it’s within my budget.
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Rafting on the Tara and Drina Rivers, somewhere on the very border between Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina. After waiting for a whole day for this trip, rafting on Tara & Drina has turned out to be a freezing experience – especially if you listen to your guides and wear a short neoprene when the water is only 8 C degrees. We have arrived at the waterfall and it's a bit of sun, so we are happy like five lizards. . . . #tarariver #tararivercanyon #taracanyon #taracanyonraft #raftingtaramontenegro #raftingtara #drinariver #rafting #bastasi #republicasrpska #hercegovina #bosnaihercegovina #hercegovinatravel #bosnia #montenegro #formeryugoslavia #authentictravels #authentictravel #authentic #liveauthentic #solotraveler #femaletravelbloggers #dametraveler #travelgirls #girlslovetravel #instatravel #igtravel #livingtraveling #goandexplore #neverstopexploring
#9 What’s the best thing you have eaten and where?
My thoughts go now to Etno House Shanceva in Kratovo, Macedonia. I stayed there for one night when I visited Macedonia, then came back at the end of my trip through the Balkans. Stevce Donevski, the owner of the guesthouse was so welcoming and his wife, Valentina, has literally cooked the best dishes I have ever eaten. I think that what’s most important is when you feel that the food is cooked with love. That’s what I felt there, in a simple little town from Macedonia.
#10 Best and worst airport story…
What comes to my mind now is when I left Kathmandu, Nepal. When I was boarding, one of the guards saw my little whistle with a thermometer I had hung on my backpack. She said that it was not allowed to take it in the plane although I had crossed all the security checks without any problem. When I looked back, I saw how she put it in her pocket. I just hope it was for her child …
The best airport story was when I actually wasn’t traveling but doing my master in Cluj Napoca, Romania. I had to come every three weeks from Bucharest to Cluj (600km) by bus. That day, a friend wanted to cancel her plane ticket and she has gifted it to me. I flew with a ticket that didn’t have my name on it and in less than one hour I was back home in Bucharest.
#11 What tip would you like to give to fellow travellers?
Travel at your own pace. I think it’s the most important thing. When you will look back, you will remember those moments when you haven’t rushed to see ten places in one week. You will remember those moments when you have offered yourself plenty of time to stay as much as you want in a place you like.