“Follow Your Dreams. They Know The Way.”
This quote resonates perfectly with my guest today and her travel stories. Her appetite for seeing the world has taken her to 30 countries so far, and she’s just getting started!
My guest today is Ioana Stoica, an adventure-seeking, free-spirited explorer, born in Romania and based in Toronto.
She’s a traveler, storyteller, and animal lover with incurable wanderlust and a desire to learn about new cultures. Here’s her story.
What got you into traveling?
I owe it all to my parents. They had an insatiable appetite for traveling and they passed it to me! While I was young, we traveled every opportunity we had and it gave me a chance to discover the world, new cultures and new ways of thinking.
Those are still the reasons I continue to travel so much and why I still make it a top priority in life. It’s when I feel most alive and inspired.
What was your first travel experience like?
I was about 3 years old when I started traveling. My parents always traveled a lot (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree 🙂 ) and went hiking in the Carpathian mountains in Romania. They decided to take me with them.
Seeing how I was too small to hike for extended periods, I spent a better part of the trip standing up in my dad’s backpack and taking in the new sights around me. I was hooked! My first time traveling without my parents was when I was 10. At 16, I took my first solo trip and I have been traveling ever since!
How did you take up blogging?
I’ve been thinking about it on and off for years but I started taking it seriously after a recent trip to Greece.
After getting numerous requests from friends for travel tips and itineraries for Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos and having to retype everything each time, it occurred to me there might be a more efficient way of sharing my travel knowledge!
My travel blog is currently in development and launching in January of 2018 – stay tuned.
Which is your favorite destination and why?
It’s so hard to answer this question because I have left a little piece of my heart in so many countries! However, one of my favorite countries is Ethiopia. I spent three weeks there a few years back and I was amazed at how beautiful the country is.
We drove a lot throughout the Northern portion of the country and I’ve never seen anything more geographically diverse in my life! Not only is it a beautiful country, but the people are also incredible and really epitomize the meaning of human connection. I had an incredible three weeks there and can’t wait to go back one day!
Tell me about one of your most memorable travel experiences.
My trip to Greece last summer was incredibly memorable. I spent two weeks traveling solo through Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. It was one of the longest solo trips I have ever taken and it gave me a chance to really do some soul searching, experience it through my camera lens and just do my own thing.
I loved exploring Greece and really fell in love with the sights and the people. Every place I went to was more beautiful than the next and the people I met along the way had a profound impact on me. I had to return this past summer to continue exploring and I’m planning another trip there in 2018! I just can’t get enough.
What is your advice to people who wish to travel but think they can’t?
Travel is more accessible and more affordable than ever. I think if it is a priority in your life, there are many ways to make it happen and follow your dreams. Don’t wait for the best time, start small and take bite-size steps. Make the best of your vacation days. Have a goal, even if it seems unrealistic. Write it down and work towards it!
A year ago I had a crazy idea to see 33 countries before turning 33 but I was at 20. It seemed overwhelming, even unrealistic at the time. I didn’t know how I could do it, how I could pay for it or when I would travel so much. But I wrote it down in my Bucket list book anyway.
I just came back from my 10th country in 12 months and it’s not something that I would’ve able been able to do without making a priority and writing it down.
I haven’t reached 33 yet but I’m a lot closer than I would’ve been had I not done that. Those two things made my goal real and helped me focus on bringing it to life. Never underestimate your ability to make your own dreams happen!
What a lovely thought, Ioana! Thanks for sharing your story.
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