One of the great things about traveling is meeting new people as well as other travelers. For me, I especially enjoy meeting young 20-somethings that trade in their mundane and draining corporate lifestyles for the more robust life of travel.
I met Bernadette while working as a volunteer for an event in Madrid. She is also living in Spain working as an auxiliary through the Ministry of Education. Her passion for her future/current travel plans were exciting to hear so I asked her to share them with TravelingNatural.com readers.
My personal philosophy for travel can be summed with this equation:
“Travel = Desires on paper + set budget.” And she is definitely proof!
My hope is that her story inspires you to travel and set your travel budget goals!
1. Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Bernadette. I am Kenyan. I enjoy occasional naps and days punctuated with cups of coffee.
2. How did you end up living in Spain? How long have you lived there.
I was awarded a postgraduate grant called by the Spanish Ministry of Education to teach English in a bilingual school in Madrid. I have been living in Spain since September 2013, a total of 10 months.
3. What motivates you to travel?
A lot of different things: new adventure. Taking myself out of my comfort zone ergo, challenging myself. Discovering myself while on a quest to leave a positive impact on the world.
4. Are you a full time traveler or do you have a full time job as well?
The grant was my “full time job,” though calling it such is too generous as I worked less than 20 hours a week.
5. What are your travel plans for the summer? Year?
Its quite easy to travel around Europe from Madrid. Since I moved here, I have been to Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, and Morocco. For 5 weeks during the summer, I am planning on traveling to Barcelona, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Prague, Greece, and Turkey.
6. How did you plan your trip? How do you stay organized?
Microsoft Excel has been my bread and butter through this whole process in terms of organization. I planned this trip as if it was a project. I developed an excel sheet with imbedded formulas. The following are the headers: Day, Date, Destination, Form of Transport, Transport Cost, Transport Hours, Lodging name and details, Lodging Cost, Food allowance, Total projected Cost. As I did research, I filled in the blanks accordingly, until the whole excel sheet was full. This made the planning and organization more manageable.
7. Have you considered moving back to the USA?
Of course, all the time!
8. What are some tips you can share with readers who want to save money to travel?
- Book your flights early. I recommend STA Travel if you are under 26 and/or a student. Drungli.com is pretty great if you want to take a spontaneous trip. If you input your departure location and the date you want to travel it will give you a list of places ordered by ticket price.
- If you have a student ID especially if you are traveling to Europe, carry it! It can save you a lot of money.
- General rule of thumb for cheap and delicious eats, look for restaurants that are not situated near boardwalks, main plazas, and main squares.
- A lot of cities in Europe offer free walking tours by a local guide. They are usually a great way to get to know the city. Don’t forget to tip your guide, don’t be that person!
- Airbnb.com is a great and cheap way to rent an apartment in a different place especially if you are with a big group.
9. Do you have natural hair? What are your must have products and where can your readers buy them?
I have been natural for as long as I can remember. My all time favorite product is Jamaican Black Castor oil. I have very dry hair but the castor oil penetrates right through the dryness. It can be found in American hair stores or in amazon.com/usa.