In my latest interview I caught up with two Italian travellers, Mark and Stefy of Born2Travel.it. Mark is in the Italian Military Air Force and Stefania is an educator who works with children with disabilities, foreigners and in a psychiatric area. Her real passion is Africa. Stefy has volunteered at a school in Kenya, since then, every time she goes back to Africa she returns there. Mark is a great photographer and together they have had some great adventures around the world.
When did you decide to start a travel blog and why?
We started our travel blog 5 years ago as we felt the need and desire to share our experiences, adventures and travel tips with all the people who share our same passion, or, who simply want to travel the world.
How do you fund you life of travel? Ever work online?
At the moment we fund our travels with our actual jobs. Mark is an officer in Italian Airforce, while Stefy is an educator. We wish we could travel and work, but still don’t know how to do this. It would be our dream to travel and work from anywhere.
Has being in the army helped you in traveling the world?
I’m not in the Army, I’m in the Airforce!… kidding… Well beyond some interesting trips and an English course in Scotland when I was cadet, the other experiences I lived abroad have been bad ones ‘cos I was sent for seven months in a war zone: Afghanistan… So I’d say that being a soldier doesn’t help me in travelling the world… unfortunately.
Do you always travel as a pair or do you go on your own separate adventures?
We try all our best to travel as a pair. After our meeting in South Africa, three years ago, we have become inseparable and can’t travel apart anymore. We really enjoy living all the adventures and misadventures together.
Have you ever had to bribe a cop or border security?
I can tell you three stories!
1. Border at Malawi-Zambia. Border Security Officers keep on saying that our visa was expired (it was clearly NOT) and told us to renew it SIMPLY by going back to the capital (1 day trip). After many useless discussions, it was made clear that a small tip (50 euro), could solve all the troubles.
2. Border at Israel-Jordan. One of the guys who came to pick us up at the Jordan border asked us to buy some bottles of whiskey the duty free for them. They were going to pay for them but I was almost arrested when border security officers opened my backpack!
3. Border at Guatemala – El Salvador. We hitchhiked in Guatemala and a religious Spanish guy gave us a lift. He was stopped at the El Salvadoran border because we was carrying many Catholics books. We had to go back to Guatemalan border and hide all the books in our backpacks… That time we were lucky.
Have you ever ran out of money while traveling?
What country had the strongest effect on your personality and view on life?
We have recently spent two months in India. Hate it or love it, India is great! After 2 days of confusion we started falling in love with it day by day.
It really changed us and made us see life from a different point of view.
Did you ever use HelpX, Couchsurfing or Woofer? Good – Bad experiences?
We have often used Couchsurfing and beyond a bad experience in Varanasi, we were to naïve at that time, it helped us met some great people who keep an important spot in our heart. Once again we have to thank: Carlos (Costa Rica), Mona, Kiruba, Aparna and Nitin (India), Dazzle (Singapore) and Zanif (Malaysia).
Has social media had a big effect on your blog traffic?
Well, we only started our Facebook page 3 weeks ago. You can like it here https://www.facebook.com/Born2travelit It is too early to say, but I think that in time it will have a good effect on our blog traffic. It’s all up to you guys!
Ever lost you wallet/passport or had it stolen?
Not so far. We have lost money but fingers crossed our passports are still with us!
What is next for you in travels and in life?
We are trying to organize a trip back to Africa in October. We still don’t know where but you can Follow us and you’ll find it out where we go.