This week’s Travel Blog Interview:
Gianni and Ivana of Nomad is Beautiful
1. Who are you and where are you from?
We’re Ivana and Gianni, two digital nomads, eco-travellers and nature lovers who are passionately learning about new countries, their cultures, and their traditions, but above all we love immersing with locals on the road. Ivana comes from Presov in Eastern Slovakia and Gianni is from Martina Franca in Southern Italy.
2. Favorite thing about your hometown?
Ivana: A picturesque square and lots of hills around.
Gianni: The beauty of the nature and countryside of Itria Valley with its characteristic trulli (dry stone houses with a conical roof).
3. #1 Reason you travel?
Gianni: I can speak for both of us when I say that it’s the fact we can do what we love the most: travelling, writing full-time and taking photographs.
4. Job you left behind?
Ivana: Personally, my last official job was in a bilingual kindergarten in Frankfurt, whilst Gianni was working as a videogame translator. Aside from those two full-time jobs, we also organized monthly photowalks for small groups, where Gianni gave tutorials about photography.
5. What thing(s) did you give up to save money for travel?
Gianni: Definitely cigarettes, alcohol, eating out and buying unnecessary stuff.
Ivana: That’s right. We did a special “check-in” before buying anything, asking whether it was something we really need or just wanted. We still keep this good habit on the road as it’s a very simple and easy way to discover just how many things we’d buy without thinking twice.
6. What kind of backpack do you carry and why?
Ivana: Gianni carries the North Face Router Daypack (41L) and myself the same brand, but a different model – the Surge (32L). We contemplated our choice a lot before we finally made our decision and in the end we were confident that we wanted to travel light, i.e. only with carry-on luggage.
Gianni: A big advantage is that we don’t have to queue at airports, but we can also relax more when travelling with local transport, having our backpacks close to us, and not out of our sight. That way we also don’t accumulate redundant stuff. However, on the flip side, we cannot carry all hiking equipment that we’d wish to.
7. Funniest Travel/WTF moment?
Ivana: We didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when we saw our room near the Thai-Laos border, which happened to be a former prison which hadn’t seen much in terms of refurbishment.
Gianni: Another memorable moment was in the evening when we realized we’d missed our plane to Manila from Thailand. We were supposed to check in on the on the 31st of March to fly out after midnight when it would then be the 1st of April, but by mistake we arrived on the 1st of April to check in, several hours later. Our plane was obviously a long time gone. The best April Fool’s day ever!
8. Favorite ‘Off-the-beaten-Path’ place:
Ivana: Oh, there are a few of them that were very special to us. I’d mention Pandan in the Philippines, a small village where we interacted with locals a lot, and Finland’s forests which was an incredible delight for us whilst exploring the southern part of the country recently.
9. Your MUST HAVE(s) while on the road:
Gianni: Well, as digital nomads, our laptops and cameras are our most necessary working equipment.
10. Laundry: Send it out or use the sink?
Ivana: Well, it depends how big a sink it is and whether we have a soap, but whilst staying in Southeast Asia, laundry was so cheap that we preferred to save our time by sending it out.
11. Favorite book:
Gianni: “The Lord of the Rings” of J.R.R Tolkien
Ivana: “The New Earth” from Eckhart Tolle.
12. Stay out late or get up early?
Ivana: It depends a lot on what we’ll do during the day, whether we’ll stay in a guesthouse working or do an eight-hours hike; but we definitely like waking up early.
13. DSLR or Point & Shoot? What brand(s) and lenses do you carry?
Gianni: Mirrorless! I travel with Fuji XT-1 with only one lens (18-55mm). It’s a superb camera that allows me to take high quality photos whilst carrying only 800 gr.
Ivana: I carry a Nikon 5100 with me and also a kit lens, which I mostly use for short video clips. We also use a GoPro Hero 3 for unusual angles and for trekking, biking, or swimming, too.
14. Favorite kind of Pizza:
Gianni: If you put gorgonzola, red radicchio, porcini mushrooms and walnuts on it, we are more than happy.
15. What is your average daily budget?
Ivana: Obviously, it depends a lot on the country we are staying in. We do our best to live a frugal life on the road, although there are days where we do like to splurge in a restaurant instead of eating street food, or when we have unexpected expenses like a vaccination or paying a dentist.
In general, we try to set our daily budget to 45 $ for the both of us combined, everything included.
16. How many countries have you visited?
Gianni: Since we started our journey last October, we’ve traveled and lived for both the short- or long-term in 12 countries.