We first met Ivana and Gianni while we were living in Chiang Mai. We ended up travelling with them into Loas and spending about 3 weeks together having a few adventures along the way. They travel extremely light – with only 1 small backpack each (weighing 8kg each). You can follow their journey over at Nomad is Beautiful.
But for now, you can read their travel tales story below!
Tell us where you’re from, and a little about your blog?
Ivana is from Prešov, a picturesque town in eastern Slovakia, Gianni comes from beautiful Puglia, a region in the south of Italy. We started our blog shortly after we hit the road in October 2013. We quit our bad habits back in Europe so that we could start travelling. Our blog is a fusion of travel stories, experiences from different countries and tips for beautiful places where you can take care of your body, mind and soul.
You’ve been travelling for quite some time now, where did you start your journey, and where are you currently?
The first stop of our long-term travel was Bangkok. Now we are staying in Udon Thani in Thailand.
You’ve stayed in some cool spots along your travels – which one stands out the most for you?
In the Sahara desert close to Merzouga in Morocco.
What’s your country count at the moment?
For Gianni it’s 23 and for Ivana it’s 13.
If we count only the countries where we travelled together, there are nine of them: Morocco, Italy, England, Ukraine, the Czech republic, Slovakia, Netherlands, Thailand, Laos.
Is there any country you’ve not yet visited that’s a must see destination for you?
Yes, Mongolia, Portugal and New Zealand and we are looking forward to visiting them.
What first made you want to travel?
Ivana: It looks like it was not my choice to start to travel. I was only three months old when I crossed the foreign border to visit my mother’s homeland with her and since then, apparently, I have been on a perpetual journey.
Gianni: It has been an overall desire to escape a daily routine and to develop and enjoy the creativity that is an inevitable part of our lives.
If you had to choose your favourite destination so far, what would it be and why?
It’s very difficult to pick only one. Each country we have visited has something that gives us the reason to come back. We have been in love with Thailand because of the food, weather and culture. Gianni’s unforgettable experience is Iceland because of its wild and unspoiled nature, Ivana’s favourite is Italy as she loves its amazing landscape, food and language.
Name two personal items that you can’t live without while travelling?
Ivana: not counting something to wear and the passport, it’s a toothbrush and a laptop.
Gianni: a camera, a laptop… and earplugs!
What’s your most epic travel story to date?
The unbelievable moon rise in the Sahara desert in Morocco. One evening we were climbing up the sand dune almost for one hour, while local bedouins could run up the hill in 10 minutes. We tried it barefoot, with shoes, with socks, pushing and pulling each other, but all seemed just hopeless as we climbed half meter up and slipped one meter down. But we managed to arrive there, breathless and exhausted. All the other guys from our camp had been already gone from there, and we were the only people on the top of the dune. We were sitting there and watching the stars that were so close that we could almost touch them. Suddenly we stayed just speechless when we saw the moon slowly rising just behind the dune we were sitting on. It was really like an epic movie scene!
Is there one post on your blog that you prefer over all the rest? If so, then why?
Yes, it’s our post about quitting alcohol on the road. It is a part of our story as we became alcohol-free before our trip and for us it has been one of the biggest and valuable decision in our lives.
Was there a specific moment when you realised that travel was a lifestyle you wanted to pursue?
Yes, it happened during our trip in Morocco in 2011. At that time Gianni had a regular job and Ivana just left her job in London before she moved to Frankfurt in Germany to follow Gianni there. While being together on the road for one week, we realised how awesome it is to see new countries together, to explore forgotten villages or to laugh over the repetitive meals we had there. And these were the moments when we wished to travel full time and to enjoy our passion for photography and new adventures as long-term nomads.
What motivates you to keep travelling, and do you have days where you think a more settled life back home is more attractive?
We are both curious people with eternal desire to explore new countries. And that is what is behind all this crazy moving from one country to another, sleeping in weird places, tasting awkward food, trying to learn new languages and being happy where we are. To answer the second part of the question, both of us have left our homelands 10 years ago. We changed location many times since then, without any serious intention to settle in our own house. Now, when we are on the road, we can see that the world is a fantastic place to ‘settle’ and we are happy with that.
During your travels, what’s the best travel tip you’ve received?
Not to argue with Asian people and just let it all go and forget. In general, Asiatic people do not like conflict or embarrassing situations and they do not argue on public because this means they are not able to control their emotions and therefore the whole situation. From our experience so far, we can only agree.
Connecting with locals can be one of the most rewarding things about travel. Do you agree?
Absolutely! When you start to approach the locals, you are already creating one of the most memorable moments of your travels. Without staying in touch with the locals, you will never know how to prepare the best national dish, how to greet properly, where is the cheapest veggie market in town or where to look for villages with the people who still preserve the hand craft.
Is there any one country that you’ve been to that you didn’t like, and would make you not want to return?
Yes, there is, but we always give a second chance to a country again, with different places to visit so we can see a country from different perspective.
In order to sustain a life of travel, you need to have some sort of income stream. How have you funded your travels?
For now we are using our savings but we are working on that so we can earn money by using our photography and writing skills and from our blog.
What are your travel plans for the future?
For the next month we are staying in Thailand, we wish to visit more places in the south of the country. Then we will visit Cambodia and maybe Vietnam. In summer we plan to visit our families back in Europe.
Favourite travel quote?
“Not all those who wander are lost”, a line from the poem ‘All that is gold does not glitter’, written by J. R. R. Tolkien for The Lord of the Rings.
Biography: We are Ivana and Gianni from Nomad Is Beautiful, a digital nomad couple who broke their old habits to live a new, healthy lifestyle on the road. On their journey, through their stories and photographs, they show you places where you can replenish your spirit, take good care of your body, eat and drink healthy, local food and beverages and live mindfully while being on the road.
You can follow Gianni and Ivana’s journey on their following social media channels:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nomadisbeautiful
Twitter name: https://twitter.com/NomadBeautiful