Several years ago Fiorella Bertola, aka @globetrottingblonde, took a leap of faith; switching careers from floundering journalist to full-time travel blogger. It wasn’t an easy decision. With very little money and not enough resources, traveling the world for a living didn’t seem like the most realistic option at the time, but this was her dream, so something had to give. After some internal debate and plenty of research, she felt confident enough to set out on a backpacking trip through Europe.
A few years later, she’s been around the world and back, sporting a passport that boasts an impressive resume of jaw-dropping destinations only an expert nomad could compile. Beyond the fairytale lifestyle featured on her social feeds, her travels have also brought their fair share of unfathomable real-life experiences, like the ‘monkey apocalypse’ – a reference to the time she and a friend were chased by a band of monkey bandits in Thailand. These are the moments you can’t make-up; the stories we all wish we could tell. For Fiorella, what was once a dream has now become a life; a life she wants to explore to the fullest.
Q: When someone who doesn’t know you comes across your social media, what if anything, do you want to convey to them? What would you like them to know?
In the simplest of terms, I hope they’re inspired. Social media has a way of making things seem unattainable, so I try my hardest to lay the groundwork for people who are interested in doing the same. I decided to take my first ever budget-backpacking trip after seeing a ‘how-to guide’ from a blogger I followed at the time, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I strive to motivate people in the same way and show them that you don’t need to have a lot of money to be able to follow your dreams.
Q: Instagram is filled with lifestyle and travel bloggers what separates your profile from the rest?
There’s a lot of us, but I think everyone has their own unique style and talent. I would say that mine is a little more realistic than some. I strive to share exactly what got me to a specific place at that particular time, and how others can visit that same place as well.
Q: A lot of people would like to travel the globe until they realize just how hard it can be, how did you get started?
I’d dreamed of traveling the world my whole life, but it wasn’t until I graduated college and worked a ‘big-girl’ job at a news station that I realized how much I craved it. I had little money and even fewer resources, but after researching how to travel for cheap (hostels instead of hotels, groceries instead of restaurants and hella flight alerts) I took the jump and decided to backpack Europe for three months – for a lot less than I would’ve spent sitting at home. I took a ton of pictures, and that’s how Globetrotting Blonde got started!
Q: You’re a journalist by trade which means you’re also a storyteller. Tell us the craziest story you’ve seen or experienced on one of your trips.
There’s this little island in the south of Thailand that’s known for its beaches, mountains, and monkeys. A friend and I were walking down the main path one morning when we noticed hundreds and hundreds of monkeys coming down the mountain at a pretty fast rate. At the same time, all of the small-shop vendors started yelling and slamming their windows and doors shut, and arming themselves with slingshots. We had no clue what was going on, but we took cover and were told that every once in a while the monkeys will band together to ‘rob’ the stores and the locals try to fight back. That ‘monkey apocalypse’ morning was definitely one of the wilder ones.
Q: Now that’s a go-to dinner party story. Speaking of food, out of all the places you’ve been, what’s the best meal you’ve had and why?
I stayed in a hostel in Brazil once where the whole floor got together and pitched in to make dinner one night. We made pizzas from scratch, and I’m not sure if it was because of the cook or because of the communal aspect of it but they were the best pizzas I’ve ever had.
Q: Who or What inspires you?
Anyone that spends a little bit of every day doing something they love. Sometimes it’s hard to get caught up in the daily swing of things and before you know it a whole day or month, or year has gone by. So whether it’s camping, cooking, working out or traveling, if someone is dedicating the time to do something that makes them happy, it inspires me. Work-wise, there’s also a ton of travel bloggers that I’ve met through Instagram that inspire me to put out better content.
Q: On most days, you can be found________?
Researching destinations, reading or freelancing.
Q: Living in the moment seems to be a big theme for your life, what’s the most spur of the moment thing you’ve done on a trip?
Switch destinations. The best thing about backpacking is that there’s no final destination in mind, so you move as you deem fit. I changed courses halfway through booking a trip once and ended up going to southern Thailand instead. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Q: What does it mean to you to “stay tru” and how do you “stay tru” on a daily/weekly basis?
For me “staying tru” means striving to be the person you want to be. If there are things in your life you’d rather be a little different, then you should strive to “stay tru” to yourself by doing something every day that puts you a little closer to that.
Q: Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I was reading a book by Aidan Donnelley Rowley once and came across a line that has stuck with me since: ‘There are times in our lives to travel in a straight line. And then there are times to ramble, to explore what might be as we accept what is.”
Q: You can only choose one place to spend the weekend anywhere in the world; where would it be and why?
There’s a ton of beautiful places in the world, but nothing compares to my hometown – Montevideo, Uruguay. I’d spend the weekend chatting with my grandparents and visiting old friends.
Q: Traveling should_____________?
Open your mind.