In this edition of the Love of Travel series, we caught up with an inspirational Slovak-Italian traveling couple who chose to not only live a life of travel around the world, but to pursue an all around healthier lifestyle! By giving up things like tobacco and alcohol, and replacing it with yoga, meditation, and massage, their spirits have been awakened. Meet Ivana and Gianni from “Nomad is Beautiful” and be sure to check out their site at: http://nomadisbeautiful.com and learn all about healthy travel.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you are up to right now?
We are Ivana and Gianni, a Slovak-Italian couple, who after rekindling our relationship after seven years realized we wanted to live together and later on, travel the world indefinitely. We are passionate about photography, writing, meditation, yoga, self-development and we are hooked on sampling pizza in each country we visit. We have been carrying our small backpacks for the last 6 months, lived for five months in Thailand and did a two-week tour in Laos. Now we are exploring the awe-inspiring Philippines and looking forward to starting our next leg of travels in Borneo soon.
When did you know that you shared a love of travel and that you wanted to travel the world together?
We met on the road when Gianni took a birthday trip to Prague, and where I had a summer job while still living in Slovakia. Already at that time we probably subconsciously felt that being on the road would become inevitably part of our lives.
But the idea to travel the world started to grow after our week trip to Morocco, which enchanted us completely; since then we have done everything to start a nomadic lifestyle.
You talk about living a healthy travel lifestyle abroad, without smoking, alcohol, and having more time for yoga and meditation. Has changing your lifestyle and habits been more difficult or easier than you expected? How did traveling help that lifestyle change?
That’s a good question! So far, it was easier than we could imagine. Being alcohol and smoking-free has brought us an awesome sensation of freedom. We really cannot see ourselves ‘scheduling’ all our daily activities to appease our cravings and to smoke in the places where it would be definitely inappropriate, e.g. while volunteering at an elephant sanctuary with 27 pupils or after a soothing tea ceremony or during relaxing Thai massage. All these new visual surprises, new skills we are learning and old fears we are overcoming while travelling are a panacea for our past addictions and we are very grateful for that.
To linger on any bad habit just hinders your development. Moreover, we feel much better physically now.
You two decided to leave the normal everyday jobs to travel full time. Are you glad that you made this decision? What have been the highs and lows of Nomadic Life?
When we set our plan to save the money for our long-term travel, it was not all about excitement and joy. We did not have any doubts we had made the right decision, but many other questions started to crop up: is it going to be safe? Should we save more money first? How will we fund our travels? What if we like different things?
But then, when we started to live our dream, the disbelief subsided and we started to solve more practical, i.e. logistical things. When you take the first step forward to achieve what you have been dreaming of, you realize everything is possible.
Suddenly there are no excuses and nobody to blame for your failure, sadness or any unlucky coincidence. You become totally responsible for your acts and visions. And this pushes us and motivates us so we can work on our skills, learn new things, help others who need it and be better people. That said, the only low of our nomadic lifestyle is that sometimes we ask ourselves why we started so late!
You have a post entitled “12 Photos of People Working.” We love this concept and also enjoy witnessing normal life in other cultures. Is there one moment / photo that stands out in your memory and why?
Yes, there is. It’s Serhyi, a lumberjack, that we were hosted by for two days in his house in the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine. Serhyi works very hard and a few months before we met he had had a bad incident in the forest, but at the end it did not stop him from continuing with his job.
On that particular day he agreed to take us to the forest with him. We were amazed how fast, professionally and fearlessly he performed his job! Only back at home, when we were watching the photos and videos from that day, we realized how dangerous it was to take pictures from such a close distance without helmets, although Serhyi always made sure we were safe before he started to make the first cut.
What has been your favorite destination, and why?
So far it’s Thailand. Probably also because we have spent a relatively long time there: five months. There, we tasted a bit from everything: the organized chaos in Bangkok, a great location independent community in Chiang Mai, some serene time in Koh Lanta and a productive month in a not very famous town of Udon Thani. It has been kind of a break point of our journey.
In Thailand we were exposed to plenty of ‘first times’ when tasting new food, using new kinds of transport, caring for elephants, bargaining at markets or being ripped off.
What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your adventure traveling as a Nomadic couple?
That electronics are much cheaper in Asia! We spent a fortune on our pre-trip expenses back in Europe. We bought a new camera and a laptop without knowing that we could save a few hundreds of euros if we would have bought the devices in Bangkok, Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, we left our shopping for a GoPro and Gianni’s new mirrorless camera for Thailand so we didn’t ruin our travel budget!
** all photos were kindly provided by Nomad is Beautiful.
We want to thank Ivana and Gianni for sharing their Love of Travel story with us. We are greatly inspired by the way they have not only pursued their dreams, but how they have managed to transform their health and well-being through their travels around the world. We wish them well on their continued journey, and be sure to check out their blog Nomad is Beautiful.