My name is Sofia, I am not a full time traveller, I am not a nomad. I do not blog to earn money and sponsor my travels around the world.
But then who am I? I am the average person. I have my full time job from 9 to 6 and I earn my pay by sitting in an office. Which I hope it’s how I can connect with and inspire you.
It happens to be that I am fortunate enough to be able to travel. I do this, by setting my mind to what I want and by being frugal with my money. And when I say frugal, I mean seriously frugal. Friends don’t understand me, when I say I can’t join for some event because I “don’t have money” when they clearly know I do.
Ever since I can remember, my parents taught me how to manage my money. This started as little and 50 escudos a week, which converted, would be… around 25 cents of a euro, and evolved to a monthly allowance. I thank my parents, were it not for this, I would probably not be the well managed person I am today.
Daydreaming about travelling
My travels started when I was young. My father’s profession allowed me to see travel and as part of life. At around 12 I went to Macau. My best memory of this is diving into stores filled with figurines and DVDs in Chinese of my childhood favourite cartoons. I still remember the smell of Macau 15 years ago and those shelves filled with the most amazing toys I had never seen before.
When I grew a little bit older, I would catch the longer buses to University that passed by the airport. I just needed to see it as if to check if it was still there. To me it was a symbol of freedom. I dreamt that one day it would allow me to go and explore the world.
My first dream was to go to Egypt. This for me, was the mother of mythology. I loved it, the supernatural essence of it. The pyramids, the engineering of it. Perfect! I went there, again thanks to my father and his work. I was little, but there I was exploring the depths of the valley of the Kings.
But then the era of the Japanese anime came, and all my life changed. My dream was to go to Japan. I would read and read and read. I would save all my little money and buy these expensive travel books and read some more. I would admire the pictures and read about the culture. I would save all of my money to one day go to Japan. I knew I was going to go, there was no other option.
I got my first university work as a researcher and for 1 year and a half I saved 100% of that money to go to Japan.
An internship in Japan
Then one year, there was this internship program, IAESTE. I though, I’m gonna apply, I’m gonna get it and I’m gonna go!
For those who don’t know, IAESTE works randomly. Each university in each country gives away a specific number of vacancies and receives the same number back to send students. It also gets more internships for areas where the most students apply for.
My university received 8 internships, 6 for Biology, 1 for Chemistry and 1 for Physics. I was crestfallen. Since in my country Biology students don’t come across jobs that easily, it seems they apply for internships a lot! Which means, their course get the most vacancies.
The following year, the internships came again. I was a non believer, “I will never get it”, I though but… let’s play it safe and let’s apply.
Then, before I knew it there I was on that day in May sitting down against a wall on the 3rd floor of our university building, seeing the results of my application, I had done it. I was going.
And this is how everything started and who I am.
If you read this until here, I hope in some way this inspired you. Maybe not all of us can be that travel blogger who travels around the world and earns money from sponsorships but this should not dishearten you from traveling.
I want to leave here some details of my travels, who knows, it might be useful to someone. Even I have searched and found information in countless of existing blogs.