Mariana Colombo is a Portuguese traveler and writer who has just recently become a journalist for a popular newspaper in Lisbon, Portugal.
With a strong passion for writing, humanitarian causes and traveling, Mariana strives to combine all three through taking trips abroad and volunteering in places such as Mozambique.
We got in touch with Mariana to talk about the strategies she uses to combine this love for travel and writing…
Travel And Writing: How This Girl Combines Her Two Biggest Passions
Pin this to your travel inspiration board >>
Hi! I am Mariana Colombo, a newly licensed journalist for Diário de Notícias, a newspaper in Lisbon, Portugal.
I am adventurous, curious and I also fight for humanitarian causes.
My dream is to “change the world”(even if it is cliché), making a difference little by little!
1. When did you first start traveling and where did you go?
My first trip alone was in 2012, when I went to study English in London.
A traveler must know different languages, it’s mandatory to be able to explore the world, so this is the reason why I went to learn English.
It was this two-month stay in London that sparked my passion for travel and made me realise how much I loved my independence.
I learned to walk the streets without a map…
I learned to make friends without someone else being the intermediary…
It was this sense of independence that made me want to travel more and more and more…
The freedom to treat myself to alone time, cook, wash my clothes and manage my money without anyone to control me.
Obviously going out at night without having my parents there to control me as well (lol).
I think that after we take that first solo trip, we continue to grow forever.
When I returned to Portugal after those two months, I was more grown up…
I returned to Lisbon and began walking a lot to get to know my city. I began to explore the streets, restaurants and nightlife.
I became a tourist in my own city.
2. What then inspired you to travel more and start writing about it?
People inspire me.
The culture, customs and people all over the world makes me want to travel and document what I see, sometimes even to the smallest detail.
During my trip to Mozambique, I had to take a bus for 17 hours straight, with only one stop.
At the beginning of the bus trip, we stopped in traffic for just a second, and I saw a woman outside with her son sitting on her lap… An African woman with dark skin and clothing typical of Mozambique.
I was holding my camera at the time and was in the perfect position to shoot, so she smiled at me and held up her sons head to feature him in the picture too.
When I find myself in moments like these, my eyes sparkle and I form an even deeper urge to meet the whole world and photograph everything I see.
3. What is your favourite travel destination to write about so far and why?
Out of the places I have visited, the countries I enjoyed most were Morocco and Mozambique.
The African continent has such warm, beautiful colours and the people are so welcoming and eager to get close to you.
As there is a lot of poverty in these countries, the people learn to help each other and you feel that when you go there, even as a tourist.
While I was teaching in Mozambique, the boys were calling me ‘sister’ after the first week.
It truly shows the affection people have for each other there… This is what really fascinated me.
The next destination that I would really love to visit is India…
The smells, the colours, the clothes, the streets … from what I’ve seen so far, everything there inspires me, everything there awakens my curiosity, so I hope to go in 2017.
4. Where do you draw inspiration from when you write and how is the process of putting a story together?
During my travels I keep a logbook…
Every day I write, even if it’s just a sentence. Then, when I get home to Lisbon, I go to the computer, make a selection of the pieces that I consider important and then I write several columns on each experience.
Usually I write about what I’m doing during the day: Where I am, the streets I walk down, what I’m buying, where I visit (museums, shows, shops, etc).
Sometimes I write about the people I come cross, the new friends I make, and even about the market vendor who may have offered me a souvenir.
I also write down how I’m feeling at the time too…
By writing about the sensations and feelings I have while traveling, it helps me to realise the impact that my journey’s have had on me. I do it to remember my experiences later on down the track.
5. After you’ve written a piece about your travel experience, where do you publish it?
I was invited to write a travel blog about my experience in Mozambique during 2015.
When preparing the articles, I didn’t need to work too much, because I already had my logbook full of ideas.
Within these blog articles I would connect various sensations and feelings I had during the trip and narrate it in an interesting way. I wrote comprehensive articles on one hand, and very specific on the other.
Moreover, outside of the travel blog, I write for myself and keep brief chronicles to eventually publish a book.
6. Where have you you found traveling to be most challenging? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
As always, I travel alone so for me, the biggest challenge is the security in any country.
As I am a woman, I do fear being kidnapped or raped, for example, because there is always a higher risk involved for females (unfortunately!). I do know of stories where this has happened.
Unfortunately, many parts of the world still can’t see women in the same way as men.
That said, I try to overcome this fear by preparing my travels in advance, avoiding what seem to be dangerous places, and blending in with the local people.
To understand the safety level of a country, I talk to people who have traveled there and also follow the news regarding the current issues around the world such as war, violence and protests.
I try to avoid the countries that are in less peaceful situations.
7. What is your travel style and how does this impact the way you save and earn money before and during your travels?
I travel in a simple way, saving as much as possible.
When I’m away I buy food at local supermarkets and sleep in the cheapest places I can find.
I usually take as little as possible in terms of material goods. The only things of value that I always take with me are my camera and phone.
In regards to money, I work part time – usually in cafes or night clubs – to make an extra living…
So because I spend more time working, I spend less money, which helps me to save months in advance.
For example, before going to study English in London, I worked in a café and saved nearly a thousand euros in three months.
To save in a very intensive way, I avoid eating out, going out at night, and making material purchases.
If you want it enough, saving the money is easy.
8. What are your future goals as a traveler and writer?
To continue to be nomadic throughout my life, integrate this with humanitarian causes, help others through volunteer work, and never stop writing – whether that’s for newspapers, websites, blogs (like yours :)), and travel chronicles (books).
9. And finally, what is the most important thing you have learned through travel and writing and with that in mind, what valuable advice can you give aspiring travelers?
Anything is possible… Believe in this.
Traveling is the best way to see the world, truly get to know ourselves and grow in a healthy and active way.
Don’t be afraid, go for it!
Mariana, thank you so much for sharing your travel and writing insights and experiences!
To follow Mariana on her next writing adventures, remember to check out her Instagram: @marianacolombocurato and you can also find her on www.marianacolombo.weebly.com/.
Now it’s over to you! Leave your answers below…
- Are you considering combining your passion for travel and writing and looking for more advice? Ask away!
Comments are closed.