Luca and I went to university together. We spent 1 summer working away in the G.I.S lab trying to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial data. It was as hard as it sounds (it was hard for me). After that class, I spent my days digging in mud and exploring and Luca was working towards his engineering degree.
We’ve kept up with each others’ adventures and pass travel tips along to help each other out.
What was a defining moment/situation that made you decide to travel/be adventurous?
After spending 6 years in university, focusing on paying off OSAP and obtaining a good job in a career in engineering that I am so passionate about, I still felt something was missing. I felt like I was sinking into the routine of working long hours and not experiencing enough new things. I ended up changing jobs, thinking that was the solution. However, that still did not satisfy me. At the same time, I encountered many people who focused all their life on working and paying bills, getting married and having kids at such a young age, thinking they will be able to do the traveling and adventure once they retire. Yet, once you get old you do not have control over what health implications you will encounter, hopefully, none. Unfortunately, no one has control over this. Therefore I decided that since I have the energy and time to do these things now, so why not change the way society tells us to live life. It was then when I confirmed that traveling was my passion. Visiting new countries, trying new food and creating new experiences was what I wanted to do. Since then, I changed jobs yet again to a company that allows me to both travel and have a career at the same time.
Where have you been/lived?
I was born and raised in Malta, at the age of 17, my family and I moved to Canada. I have lived in Toronto and Hamilton.
I have been to 4 continents and planning to visit all 7 within the next 3 years. I have visited 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces (Newfoundland I will catch up with you soon). 11 of the 50 US states and 15 countries. A big percentage of this traveling was done in the last 4 years.
Can you share a memorable/funny travel story?
In June 2017, three of my friends and I were traveling in Ecuador. While we were in the small town of Banos, this Venezuelan guy with a guitar came up to us and told us his story about how he was traveling countries and creating music. Then he proceeded to tell me that I look like a Venezuelan politician. I jokingly tell him: “I hope he is a loved politician” (knowing the turmoil that Ecuador is going through). We left Banos that day, and made it to Quito. We wanted to enjoy our last night at Plaza Foch (This wasn’t our first time to this place). We get to a bar and while entering the patio, this group of locals start smiling and cheering at us. We thought, oh, they are just very friendly people. We grab a seat and then they proceed to our table and start taking pictures with me. With whatever broken Spanish I speak, I tried to understand what is going on. Then I learnt that they were Venezuelan and they thought that I looked like Leopoldo Lopez, a loved Venezuelan politician. This explained what the guy with the guitar from earlier was talking about. My friend jokingly told them that he was charging them money to take pictures with me.
Share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling
I don’t really let instances like this affect my trips. If something does not turn out as planned, my friends and I have always been good at improvising and being able to make things work. Especially when it comes to weather. Rain or shine, we are still going to go about our ways.
What has traveling taught you about the world or your life/ or changed your perspective on something?
Traveling has changed my perspective on the way I live and look at life. I could not really explain why I enjoyed traveling so much. However, I kept doing it. Recently I came across a video that has really put things into perspective. “The routine is the enemy of time. It makes it fly by. When you are a kid, everything is astonishing. Everything is new.” However “once your brain establishes a routine, the alertness goes away.” Traveling does the opposite, it makes your brain young again, you start learning again, you become alert again and you avoid getting stuck in a routine. Your conversations with people about your experiences become more enjoyable, your life becomes more enjoyable, you make more new friends and you learn from their experiences. That is what traveling has taught me. That is how traveling has changed my perspective on life.
The video mentioned earlier was the following: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUTL4Op56CM
How do you balance travel with work/relationships/family etc.
I get a decent amount of vacation from work and I always put in a lot of effort at work so I have not had any issue with getting vacation approved. I also try to take vacations when no one else at work wants to. With respect to friends, I travel with them, so I get to share my experiences with them as well. My immediate family encouranges me to travel therefore, traveling does not have an impact on my relationship with my family.
What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
Just do it.
Do not think twice about how it is going to turn out or all the what ifs. It’s all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. While you are away from home, try new food, immerse yourself in culture and make new friends. Do things that you otherwise would not have experienced at home. There is no fun in going to a place and sticking to the same routine you would have done at home. I also always recommend going to new places. Places that you haven’t been, places that are going to challenge you in your own ways, whether it being a language barrier, lifestyle, culture, food, customs, transportation etc.
Do not listen to the people who tell you that you cannot be career focused and travel at the same time. It is possible to have it all.
You just have to have the ambition to make it work.
Where can people learn more about your adventures?
It has crossed my mind about starting a blog however at the moment I only maintain an Instagram account to log my adventures @wandering_luli
Want to learn about more ambitious adults? Sign up for the weekly newsletter to get more stories and free resources for financial independence and adventure.