This week’s guest post comes from Nicoleta, travel blogger behind Favourite Words. She explains ‘I have two passions: travelling and learning foreign languages. For me, they go hand in hand and so far I have managed to visit 30 countries across 4 continents and speak 5 languages. And I am just getting started! When I travel, I like to experience the place with all my senses and when I write about it, I tell a story. While enjoying the local food and scenery, listening to the people speaking and following the images they create with their words, I quickly discover language similarities and peculiarities and find myself making word associations or puns. I experienced the places on my own terms, travelling really slow or really fast at times. Some places resonate with me and I end up staying there for years, living like a local; others make me want to leave after a few days. And I have the freedom to do all that.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Nicoleta Risteiu and I come from Transilvania, but don´t worry, I´m not a vampire. In fact, I even eat my steak well done.
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I´m a spontaneous traveler. Sometimes, I go backpacking for a few months (the way I did when I traveled through South America), other times I spend entire years in a country (about 4 years in Norway) and other times I really just want to fully relax, travel in style looking for sun, fun and beach (like when I stayed for almost two months in Cabo Verde and felt like I found paradise in mindfulness and simply being among people with a positive vibe).
3. How do you fund your travelling?
I have been working as a translator and interpreter ever since I was in University, being able to decide for myself where and when I´m working. Then I lived and worked in Norway and was able to save up to further fund my travels for my backpacking experience in South America. After living in Norway and traveling through South America, I found out that I desperately need to live in a sunny place, so I moved to Lisbon for about a year and I had an office job there, while taking every opportunity to visit the whole Portugal- Sintra, Porto, Geres, Alentejo, The Algarve region, as well as all the islands available around – Azores, Madeira, The Canary Islands and Cabo Verde.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Cabo Verde and it´s because of how I felt there. I wrote exactly why in my “Souvenirs from Cabo Verde”
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Lima in Peru. Unbelievably noisy, drivers honking ALL THE TIME and never stopping to let you cross the street, even at a green traffic light or zebra. Basically, everyone was risking their life every time they needed to cross the street. I felt like everyone just wanted money from me, the people in the service industry never smiled, even when I politely said “thanks” when they had performed a service THAT THEY WERE PAID FOR, they couldn´t even say “You´re welcome” or anything. Also, in Lima I had the worst Couchsurfing experience, a guy flat out lied to me about his identity and where he lived, leaving me literally on the street at night waiting for him at the address he gave me only to find out that I was being lied to. I still don´t understand what he gained from this.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
My lifelong dream is to experience the endless summer. I would like to live on a tropical island. To travel to Hawaii. To travel throughout the whole Asia and really take my time experiencing everything. I would also like to visit Australia, but I think Australia doesn´t want me (strict visa policy driving me away from even trying).
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
A good book
Sunglasses – if there is no sun, I´m not going to that place. ☺ Or at least I always hope there will be.
Bathing suit – I never want to miss a swimming opportunity because I didn´t take with me something that weighs basically nothing.
8. What makes you happy and why?
Learning foreign languages and discovering words or expressions that are special because they are untranslatable. Helping people understand each other in different languages.
Discovering a new place using no maps, just my instinct. The feeling of completely new; the feeling of deeply familiar; knowing that I’m seeing a place for the last time and being content with it.
Being out in nature. The smell of green grass, stepping on a moss carpet in the woods, finding the right mushrooms and berries. The taste of wild black cherries found only on a mountaintop.
Art; the way a painting can give me goosebumps; the way a song can make my hair rise and a book or a movie can make me reconsider my habits or beliefs.
Poetry – written, felt, found in everyday life.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I have had my blog for about a year and I started because a friend nudged me to do it. He kept encouraging me because he said that I have many stories to tell and a nice way of doing it and it would be a shame if those stories would never be told. He has been traveling the World and writing about it for many years.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
What makes my blog unique is that I approach traveling from a linguistic and cultural point of view. I think it is important when planning for travel to think about these aspects as well. After all, you do need to be able to understand each other when you arrive in a different country with a different culture. Also, my articles tell a story, they are not just about stating the facts, of the type “must-see things in x”.
From ESLT – thank you Nicoleta for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂