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Our interview with

Get to know more about Off-Track Backpacking by reading our interview with

Tanya and Nara, please give my readers a background about yourselves. What made you want to start
We met at a hostel in 2005 while backpacking in Lisbon. After spending only a few days together abroad, we kept in touch once we got back home (Toronto & Montreal) and the rest was history. We started Off-Track Backpacking because we wanted to share our experiences/stories with others and encourage others to travel. We wanted to bring our tips/advice, and travel stories to life.

When you first started traveling, did your families support your decision?
Our parents were our biggest influence in reasons why to travel. They are still continuing to encourage us to travel to more destinations. Of course, it was difficult for them to let us go at first but they’re now used us traveling to random countries around the world.

Did you both always have a love of travelling or did you develop your passion for travelling as you both got older?
Nara: I believe the love for traveling runs in my blood. As far as I can remember I always enjoyed exploring new places and learning about different cultures.
Tanya: I started traveling at a young age but I must admit that spending a semester abroad in Italy while in University was the turning point for me. That’s when I really got into backpacking, and haven’t stopped since.

What impact has had on your lives?
Off Track Backpacking has been one of the most rewarding passions we have ever taken up. When we write about our experiences, give advice, encourage others, or even chat with fellow travelers our excitement always jumps to the next level! It’s rewarding to receive an email from someone looking for advice and help on planning their first backpacking trip!

What has been the least exciting destination you’ve traveled to?
Nara: It’s very difficult to say what destination has been my least exciting since all have different levels of excitement. But overall, I guess I would say Santiago, Chile. Only reason for that is because I felt that there wasn’t a whole lot to see that caught my interest.
Tanya: I try to keep my expectation levels low to avoid being disappointed but I guess the city that has been my least exciting was Milano, Italy. It’s such a popular upscale city but there isn’t much to it, other than the cathedral.

What has been the most surprising destination you’ve been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a different experience than you had imagined.
Sicily, Italy was completely different to what I ever imagined it to be. I had this impression that there would be little to explore and very little culture. I was shocked when I arrived, there was so much to see and in the end I wished I planned my trip so I could have stayed longer.
Tanya: I would say that Zanzibar turned out to be different than what I expected. Prior to traveling to Tanzania, I heard such great things about Zanzibar- the culture, spices & beaches. I must admit that I felt like it was a beach like any other I had visited. Of course, the people I met during my stay there made it a memorable experience but I was sad to see it was so touristic.

If you had to decide which destination has been the most influential in your lives, which destination would you chose?
Nara: This is a very hard question because each destination has created an impact on my life somehow. But to chose one, more likely I would have to say Ireland. It’s wasn’t actually the destination itself,but it was the experience that change my life. Ireland, was my travel, working, living destination. It was in that country where I learned to be an independent, smart, original backpacker.
Tanya: I would say it was my experience on Kilimanjaro. I feel like at the end of the day, a city is a city. But my experience on Kili was beyond amazing. I met wonderful and adventurous people with whom I created such a unique bond with because of our unique experience. The locals were phenomenal and reaching the summit is a feeling I cannot describe!

Nara, if you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose and why?
Nara: I have always wanted to go abroad and help children in Africa. I believe the best person to travel with and help others across the world would be Angelina J, or of course her other half!

Tanya, if you could travel with any celebrity for one week, who would you chose and why?
Tanya: I would love to travel with Shakira. I think she’s a phenomenal artist and I’d love to spend time with her volunteering in less fortunate areas of the world.

What advice would you give to a newbie traveler?
Advice to a newbie- Travel with confidence and be independent. Traveling alone is a wonderful experience. It makes it easier to meet fellow travelers, see what you what and feel free. Unless you have a wonderful travel buddy!

In 10 years, do you see yourselves still traveling or slowing down?
Nara: No matter where life takes me, traveling will always be by my side. It’s something that, no matter what happens I will continue to do and nothing will stop me! Plus my travel list is just getting longer, I need to complete most of it before it’s too late!
Tanya: I remember walking in the streets of Hanoi (Vietnam) and seeing young French couples traveling with a baby on their backs. I told myself that one day, I would want be traveling like them.

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