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Hi, I am Iuliana – a travel writer from Romania. Traveling and writing are my passions so combining the two of them has become the highlight of my life. If I don’t write, I am not myself. If I don’t travel to have about what to write, again I am not myself. I can’t imagine the world without these two things, which I like to call the ‘passions of my life.’ In 2019/20, my travel plans include Thailand (2 months in spring) and Iran (2-3 months in winter). Blog name: My travel blog is Authentic Travels. There, I share my travel journals and photos, my latest published articles in different magazines, and interviews with other travel bloggers or worldwide travelers.

Click on the link above, to visit Iuliana website, to check out more on her travels.

Follow Authentic Travels via social media platforms at: Facebook,Instagram, Twitter Questions: 1. Where has been your best travel destination and why?

Visiting Jordan was my best trip ever. The country is fairly small and easy to explore as a whole during a short amount of time. In the same time it’s safe and even if I traveled alone there, I had no problem during my 5-week road trip. During this trip, I used Couchsurfing a lot in order to connect with locals. I ended up staying even with refugees from Palestina and Syria (who would seem dangerous, right?), but they turned out to be fantastic, well-intended, and intellectual people (of course, I researched their profiles in advance and talked with them beforehand to see what kind of people they are). To top it all, Petra – one of the New Seven Wonders of the World made me fall in love with it.

2. What’s your favorite thing about traveling?

My favorite thing about traveling is to discover new places again and again. Until you start wandering this world, you cannot even imagine how many different cultures and traditions people have. Yet, after traveling for a while in different places with different traditions, you will start to notice that people are the same wherever you go, only the image is different.

3. Can you tell us a travel adventure that springs to mind, be that scary, exciting, happy or sad? Etc

I will focus on a positive one just to send a good vibe to the world out there. When I was in Petra, I befriended a Bedouin – Khalil. He invited me to sat down with him and his friend and have a traditional tea near their cave in Wadi Farassa. Then, after a few hours, we met again in a different place in Petra. He invited me for tea again in a Bedouin tent of his friends, then to his house in the village of Umm Sayhoun (2 km from Petra’s city center). I dined with his family and tasted an authentic mansaf (rice with chicken), played with his sister’s children, and listened to them singing traditional songs.

The following day, he took off a day from his work and we rode his donkey throughout Petra in so many special places: the Treasury Vista, Wadi Siyagh Spring, Al Habis Mount, and Wadi Farasah. We visited a Bedouin family in a cave and witnessed how women baked food in a wooden fire. The most difficult part of all this fantastic journey was actually to say ‘Good Bye’. I remember Khalil holding his little nephew in his arms and waving to me as I was leaving the village.

4. If a traveler was to visit your country, what’s the one meal that shouldn’t be missed?

I would recommend trying one of our most famous street food (although you find it in restaurants too): mici cu muștar - grilled rolls of spiced minced meat, always served with mustard. They are delicious!

5. Do you get homesick, and if so how do you overcome this?

I do sometimes. If I travel for one or two months it’s ok, I am not homesick. However, after two months of moving from one place to another every 2 or 3 days, I start to miss the feeling of having a home. Sometimes, I miss my home too – that feeling of waking up in the morning and going to the kitchen to have a tea, no rush, no need to head to another historic monument that day. Traveling long term can be hard sometimes if we don’t allow our selves to have days for rest.

6. What is your travel style?

My travel style is pretty slow. For a small country like Jordan, I needed five weeks to discover many of its hidden corners. Even though I can’t say I saw everything that I wanted there, I only scratched the surface a bit. 4 days in Petra was not enough for me, I would have needed at least 3 or 4 days more to explore other surrounding mountains. 4 days in Wadi Rum wasn’t enough either. I would have stayed in a Bedouin camp for longer (not only two nights) just to get used with the feeling of sleeping in the desert, having an improvised shower, things like that …

7. Do you have any travel tips?

Travel at Your Own pace – this is my motto as well as my travel tip. When you find the travel pace that suits you best it means you’re connected with your true self. You’re balanced and authentic. That’s the moment when we feel at peace and fulfilled. That’s the sense of life, after all, so let’s discover it, reach it, or live it while we are traveling, why not?

8. What inspired you to travel?

I’ve recently taken part in a hypnosis group and discovered that in a past life I was an explorer in the desert. However, before having this memory of my previous incarnations, I was always attracted by discovering new places – especially the ones that are very different than the European culture where I live. When I travel or think of my past travels or plan a new trip, I feel alive, I feel I am honoring myself. I think that when we feel inspired by something, that’s our true self who inspires us after all.

9. What has travel taught you?

The take more care of myself. You cannot travel on a long-term basis if you ignore your basic needs, such as sleeping and eating. Then, I’ve learned I can have lots of fun without drinking alcohol. I had never been an alcoholic, but I used to drink a beer or a glass of wine when I wasn’t feeling ok, just to cheer up a bit. Traveling has put me in contact with my inner self so that I started to feel ok most of the time. Last but not least, travel has taught me to appreciate what I have at home in Romania. When you’re moving all the time from one place to another and don’t have a place where to cook your favorite meal, you appreciate so much that modern kitchen you have back home.

10. How does travel make you feel?

Considering everything that I’ve said so far, travel (or even only the thought of travel) makes me feel authentic. It gives me motivation, a sense of life, a reason to stand up every time I’m down (we are humans). When I think of being my true self, I imagine myself wandering the cobblestone streets of a medieval town – and this is the equivalent of travel to me. Explore and discover the world. From this point of view, Khalil Gibran has a very powerful verse in his poem The Prophet – “We live to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.”