Vagabonding Case Study: The Siracusas

The Siracusas

Age: 35 (Emanuele), 30 (Romana)

Hometown: Siracusa, Sicily, Italy (Emanuele) and Torres Vedras, Portugal (Romana)

Quote: “Every place has a story to tell, you only need enough openness and intellectual curiosity to uncover these stories and delve into them. There are no uninteresting places, only uninterested travellers.

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

We read Rolf’s book a couple of years ago and then re-read parts of it from time to time a few months before the trip. It was a great, motivating read, it helped us bring out our adventurous spirit and put our ideas and thoughts about life into words. After reading the book we became more and more aware of the lifestyle we want to achieve. While on the road we checked the blog from time to time also.

How long were you on the road? 8 and half months

Where all did you go?

India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, California… and then back to Europe, back home…

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

Emanuele was an instructional designer, and spent his days designing eLearning courses, while Romana was leading a customer service team for a global brand. We both saved as much as we could during the couple of years before the trip – we basically made three different budgets: 1) pre-trip expenses, 2) travel expenses, 3) post-trip buffer. We also have a blog post with our 5 tips on how to save enough for a long term trip for those who want to read more.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

No, we didn’t, despite our good pre-trip intentions. However we kept our eyes wide open looking for location-independent (or at least non-office based) business ideas to implement once back. We are now working on these ideas.

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

I’d say we liked all the places we visited, each one in different ways, but if we have to pick one, then it has to be Bali. That place is so charming and intense (well, if you stay out of Kuta and the surrounding areas).

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

As our first stop, Delhi was a nightmare. We still remember our headaches and all the people who tried to scam us. But once we got over the culture shock and learned how to move outside our comfort zone (fortunately it didn’t take that long) we were fine. In fact, when we filtered out all the ‘noise’, India turned into an amazing country, and we have beautiful memories of Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa and Mumbai.

Did any of your pre-trip worries or concerns come true? Did you run into any problems or obstacles that you hadn’t anticipated?

We didn’t have any particular pre-trip concern, to be honest. We knew we would be out of our comfort zones from time to time, we knew there was a chance we could get sick, perhaps robbed, or scammed, etc… However our health on the road was pretty good, we did a pretty good job of adapting quickly to any conditions we found on our way, and, most importantly, we were safe all the time. Well, except that time that we had a sort of accident on a night bus to Mumbai

Which travel gear proved most useful?

Our iPhone. Seriously. Phone, maps, GPS, currency converter, email & Internet, notes, camera, you name it, all in one tiny device. Least useful? We did our homework before our trip and we got a fairly accurate idea of what we’d need based on our travel style, so we mostly carried things that we used and had a purpose.

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

The freedom. Being able to move from one place to another at your own pace, the ability to soak up a place before you move on, and the substantial absence of a routine.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Being physically far away from your family and friends, but Skype is there for a reason  Another challenge is that to be a vagabond you need to travel light – perhaps if you’re too attached to your stuff you could miss your ‘things’ while you’re on the road. Fortunately we are less materialistic than we thought and there was nothing we missed: when we were on the road we never thought of any the objects we had in our home, which we’d left behind.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

Every place has a story to tell, you only need enough openness and intellectual curiosity to uncover these stories and delve into them. There are no uninteresting places, only uninterested travellers. Well maybe that was kind of extreme, but you get the idea.

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

Vagabonding is not like taking a vacation; it’s just living your real life with a real income, as a location-independent person. Most importantly, the vagabonding lifestyle is not for everyone.

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

Go ahead, you’re going to have the time of your life and you will never regret your choice!

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

Your preferences may change during your time on the road therefore don’t plan too much. In relation to money, have a backup solution. For instance, as a couple we found it beneficial to have separate bank accounts with separate sets of bank cards. In Vietnam Romana’s card was (mysteriously) not working at cash machines, but it was ok because we could still use mine when we needed cash. A few months later my bank replaced my bank card before its actual expiry date and there was no way I could stop this process. So my new card was sent to my home address and the one I had with me stopped working. I was left with no debit card, but it wasn’t too bad because Romana’s card was now working again.

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

We’d like to visit Mongolia and China, but we’re not sure when we will make it happen. For now, we are staying in Sicily, at least until the baby is born.

Website: Twitter: Thesiracusas

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Posted by | Comments (4)  | November 30, 2011
Category: General

4 Responses to “Vagabonding Case Study: The Siracusas”

  1. barby Says:

    Non so perche’, ma quando ho letto di Bali mi sono emozionata per voi 🙂
    Bellissimo, grazie per lo sharing.

  2. FFF Says:

    nice travelling!

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