Vagabonding Case Study: Ivana Greslikova & Gianni Bianchini


Ivana Greslikova & Gianni Bianchini

Age: 34 (Ivana), 44 (Gianni)

Hometown: Presov (Slovakia), Martina Franca (Italy)

Quote: “Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R.Tolkien

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?

We read about the book on one of the travel blogs we were following and we bought it later on Amazon. Apart from some valuable, practical tips it encouraged us to start our long-term travel as soon as we could and ignore all the excuses we had been inventing before.

How long were you on the road?

Since October 2013.

Where did you go?

We’ve been living for in Thailand, Laos, Philippines and Borneo, both short- and long-term.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

We were saving for this long-term trip while working in Frankfurt, Germany; Gianni was a videogame translator and Ivana was a teacher in a bilingual kindergarten.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

Apart from three days volunteering with the foundation ‘Bring the Elephant Home’ in Thailand, where we helped to recreate the natural habitat of elephants and received free room and board in return, we have mostly been travelling using our savings.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?

We love Thailand the most so far, perhaps because it was the first Asian country we ever visited and we were wowed by everything we experienced there.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?

Laos is a country that we feel needs to get one more chance. The truth is, we visited the touristy places and did not give a chance to the more remote areas. Hopefully we can explore the south of the country one day to get more objective opinion.

Which travel gear proved most useful?  Least useful?

Apart from our ‘must have’ cameras and laptops that we use daily for our online work, we cannot imagine our travel without our carry-on backpacks and waterproof bag. The least used have been swimming goggles that we’ve only used once.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

The incredible feeling of freedom that we did not have back home while doing our regular jobs. The fact we can schedule our time, the number of wonderful people we meet and the number of new things we learn from our research and direct contact with new cultures and locals. One of the most rewarding things is to face and overcome our fears, some of which we even didn’t know about.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Above all what we sacrifice is that we don’t see our families and old friends so often. Also, we have to adjust to sometimes less than tasty food because there is no other option. Otherwise, we feel we are gaining more than losing by travelling.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

We’ve learned that everything is relative and we cannot compare the challenges we are facing on the road to our safe, comfortable life we lived back in Europe. Constant comparing and whining just ruins all the benefits the road offers you.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?

We are more aware of the fact that to be a vagabond is not all about the adventure and free lifestyle when you do what you want, as we imagined before. To be on the road has taught us to be more responsible, compassionate and to respect ourselves and others. And most of all, to be happier and more grateful.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?

Do not hold on to any of the information, prejudice or common opinions you have created or you have been told about the places you’ll visit and the people you’ll encounter. The road will give you the best lessons and exams.

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?

Make travelling a priority and put all your effort into achieving a full, rich life on the road and living in harmony and balance with it. Quit your bad habits  change your lifestyle and save money. There are many more things out there to do and to see than just a pack of cigarettes with a beer in your favourite pub.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?

The next leg of our trip will start in the middle of May, when we will set off to Indonesia, followed by Cambodia. From July to September we will visit our families in Europe and then back in Asia again.

Read more about Ivana & Gianni on their blog, Nomad Is Beautiful, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter

WebsiteNomad Is Beautiful Twitter@NomadBeautiful

Are you a Vagabonding reader planning, in the middle of, or returning from a journey? Would you like your travel blog or website to be featured on Vagabonding Case Studies? If so, drop us a line at and tell us a little about yourself.

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Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

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