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Category: Interviews

Interview with Trisha Velarmino of P.S. I’m On My Way

I’m happy to welcome Trisha Velarmino to the latest interview session of EuroTribe. She’s the main person behind P.S. I’m On My Way blog and in this session we’ll talk…

I’m happy to welcome Trisha Velarmino to the latest interview session of EuroTribe. She’s the main person behind P.S. I’m On My Way blog and in this session we’ll talk about volunteering, productivity, jobs and other interesting stuff. Before we start you can also follow Trisha on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy!

1. Hello Trisha, tell everyone about yourself!

I am from a small town in the Philippines called Subic Bay. When I was 20, I left home to study in Italy at the same time, do my internship. Living in Europe triggered my love for traveling. I used to have a fashion blog, because of my work but it slowly transitioned to being a travel blog. I realised I didn’t want to write about Fashion Week in Paris anymore as I had more interest in learning French, eating and being culturally involved. I spent most of my time doing this than focusing on my job. When I came back to the Philippines, my studies in Milan really helped me land good jobs. I was offered contracts left and right, from the smallest to the biggest fashion companies in the country. I did not have any difficulties getting a job so I picked one. I stayed for a year and again, realised that I wasn’t happy despite the salary and lifestyle. Though I thought it was “the one” for me, it turned out it wasn’t. I quit, packed my bags and left last year. Up until today, I am living a life of travel for almost 20 months, covering all the countries of South America.

Trisha Velarmino

2. What was the main reason to leave fashion industry and pursue the life of travel?

It’s superficial. I made friends of course, but this industry is the most tedious in the world. I have no regrets of at least trying to fit in but I didn’t want to force myself to be happy. A lot of people get trapped with their current lifestyle but I had to break the barriers no matter what others said. I followed my heart and it led me here. Do you know that feeling when you are literally forcing yourself to get up in the morning to work? I didn’t want to do that anymore. I just woke up one day and said, “I’m done. I’m leaving.”

3. As many people associate travel with being rich, I wonder how do you debunk that myth? How do you fund your travels?

I get that a lot. I am from a country where people look at travel as a luxury activity. I think you’ll get used to it as time passes by. I never wanted to explain myself but when I came here, I learned a lot of ways to keep myself on the road. I do a lot of things, actually. I volunteer in exchange for food and accommodations, Couchsurfing, house-sitting, au-pairing and stayed with local families. Of course, I need money too! I get a regular income in teaching English and working as a social media marketer online. Both of these jobs allow me to work from anywhere in the world.

4. Which jobs are the best if you are constantly on the move and how difficult it is to actually get them?

I would highly recommend online jobs. To avoid overhead expenses, most start-ups in the United States look for employees online. You can be a Virtual Assistant, Graphic Designer, or anything that needs computer skills. All you need is a laptop and you’re good to go — whether you’re in front of the beach in Copacabana, chilling in an island in Thailand or on a Carribean cruise, you can do this. We call these jobs location independent. Of course you need wifi too!

Trisha Velarmino P.S. I'm on my way

5. What are your favorite budget accommodation options and which one do you recommend the most?

B&Bs, I guess. It’s cheap and you have a place for yourself. I’ve been living in dorms for over a year now because of my volunteering jobs and believe me, I am tired of it. B&Bs are bordering luxury and cheap travel so I am pretty sure everyone can afford it.

6. So you do freelance work and you also volunteer in hostels and bars. How do you manage all that without going crazy? Explain your ideal day and how you deal with productivity.

Oh my God, you have no idea. I cannot believe I am able to manage all these in 24 hours but I guess time helps. I wake up really early to walk, do yoga and eat breakfast. Food is very important for me. At 8:00, I start working on my blog and social media platforms. My online work is based in the US. Since I am in South America, I am 4 hours ahead of them so I can work around midday or after lunch. Most of my English students spend their whole day at school and work so I only do classes with them after work hours. During the night, I’m just dead and want to sleep but of course, I still have time for some beers with friends. Crazy, right? But as I’ve told you, when you are out here, you have to find ways to survive. I definitely shut off from my laptop or any work over the weekend. This is where I get to explore places and give myself a break.

7. I imagine traveling with A Philippine passport is not an easy task. What are some of the difficulties that you face? Did visa requirements keep you from visiting certain countries?

Well, yes. But in South America, Filipinos can travel in 6 out of 13 countries visa-free. Fortunately, visa applications have been easy too. Everyone believes that applying outside their home country is difficult but it’s not. I was able to do some last minute visa applications here (for example, Argentina and Chile), hassle-free. At first, I didn’t think it was possible but it’s all about how you present yourself. The idea is not too common to everyone but you need to try it first before you say “no. It’s not possible.”

8. Do you exercise on the road and how do you find time for that? Do you have any tips to share, any great website or app?

I used to believe that it’s not doable but I realised, if I wanted to travel more, I have to take care of my health. When I stay in one place for a long time, I do running every morning and the afternoon. If I am on “vacation” (short trips), I make sure I find time to do yoga and meditation. Nothing hardcore really. Oh, I also do spinning classes when staying in one city for more than a month.

Trisha Velarmino P.S. I'm on my way

9. You’re a big fan of volunteering. Why? Why would you convince someone to do it? What are the benefits?

A genuine cultural experience. I am very fluent in Spanish now and I didn’t even take classes. I just volunteered and put myself in situations where I don’t have to speak English. Volunteering will also make you humble and appreciate the worth of other people’s jobs. I was a receptionist and a bartender for a long time now. I even cleaned and fixed hostel beds for the duration of my Volunteering. I realised that these jobs are not easy and more often than not, most of us take them for granted. I also learned about the importance of tipping. I am not from a tipping country but after experiencing these jobs, I developed a habit of leaving at least $1-$5 for service. These people are hard workers and you wouldn’t realise that not unless you’ve been in that position.

10. Mention one book that inspired you to travel.

On The Road Again – Ernesto “Che” Guevara

11. What blogs do you like to read?

I admire those blogs who are true to themselves and write about what’s really happening when you are out here. I like blogs which are honest. There’s a quite a few but you know, in the travel blogging world, adventure and destination posts are the one which sells. I love those blogs who would not compromise their dignity to earn money. I love travel bloggers who keep on writing despite the low traffic they have. For me, being true to yourself is more important than selling what you write.

12. What’s one advice that you’d give to a girl wanting to embark on a solo travel adventure?

Like most of us, we will always start with fear and that is perfectly normal. I highly recommend to start traveling in your home country — somewhere comfortable. Go on a weekend drive and make it a habit. Try eating in restaurants or drinking in bars alone. This will enable you to meet other people and learn from their experiences. Build your confidence at home and slowly drift from the normal activities you do with friends and family until you become really independent. As soon as you feel the confidence, do not delay, book your ticket and never look back. The more you wait, the more it will never happen.

Trisha Velarmino

13. And to finish off our chat what’s the most valuable lesson you learned from your travels?

To be comfortable in my own skin. I learned that I don’t have to please anyone to be happy. I figured that it’s easier to live with no pretentions and by being yourself. On top of that, the greatest lesson of all? Traveling is easy. It’s just us who makes it complicated.

4 Comments on Interview with Trisha Velarmino of P.S. I’m On My Way

Interview with Francis Tapon

I am happy to welcome Francis Tapon again, this time to the latest interview session of EuroTribe. He’s an author of Hike Your Own Hike and The Hidden Europe: What…

I am happy to welcome Francis Tapon again, this time to the latest interview session of EuroTribe. He’s an author of Hike Your Own Hike and The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us. Enjoy!

1) Hello again Francis! Could you introduce yourself for those who may not know you?

I’m an author of two travel books. My travel style is that I like to immerse myself in one region for a few years instead of globe-trotting all over the world randomly. For example, I spent 3 years in Eastern Europe to research my book about the region.

2) The last time you got covered on EuroTribe was back in 2012, when I wrote about your book “The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans can teach us”. Now you’re in Africa, on a 4-year trip to visit all 54 countries. How is it so far?

It’s been as I expected: lots of unexpected things happening! Although sometimes misadventures are disagreeable when they happen, they often end up being the best travel stories and memories. Part of being a happy traveler is learning to enjoy moments when things don’t go according to plan. This is especially true in Africa, where almost nothing goes as you plan!

3) You must have a lot of crazy and interesting stories from your African adventure. Would you share something with us?

When I was climbing the tallest mountain in Liberia, my guide abandoned me. We were hacking our way up with a machete. He was getting tired and wanted to go home because the sun was starting to go down. I encouraged him to persevere.

While he was resting behind me, I kept hacking my way up the mountain, blazing the path. While I was doing that, he sneaked away without saying goodbye. After summitting, I got lost on the way down because it was night and I had no flashlight. I had no sleeping bag or shelter. I spent 2 rough nights on the mountains, getting ripped apart by ants and thorns.

The Unseen Africa Francis Tapon

4) You will also write a book on African countries. Do you think it will be easier or more challenging than writing a book on Eastern Europe?

It’s a bit more challenging because Africa is 10 times bigger and there are more ethnic and linguistic groups than in Eastern Europe. On the other hand, Africans don’t obsess about history as much as Eastern Europeans, so that makes it easier since Africans tend to focus on the present, not the past.

The Unseen Africa Francis Tapon

5) Besides the book, are you working on any other project?

Yes, I’m creating a TV show called The Unseen Africa. To make the show happen, I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to make the pilot episode. If you want to see a travel show that shows sides of Africa that we’re not used to seeing, then please support the project. Even if you can’t give financial support, telling your friends about it will help too.

6) Anything else you wish to add?

If you ever have place that you’re scared to go to, or if you have negative stereotypes of its people: go there. You’ll almost always find it that the reality is better than you imagined.

The Unseen Africa Sahara

Thanks a lot for giving your time to take part in this interview Francis!

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Serbian wine story with Gvozden Radenković

In this interview session of EuroTribe, I am pleased to have the opportunity to interview Gvozden Radenković, who is the Head of the Vineyard-Growers and Wine Producers` Association of Serbia….

In this interview session of EuroTribe, I am pleased to have the opportunity to interview Gvozden Radenković, who is the Head of the Vineyard-Growers and Wine Producers` Association of Serbia. Before you start reading this interview on Serbian wine, be sure to check their official website too.

Enjoy reading!

1. What is a typical “Day in the life” of a Serbian winemaker?

It’s a hard working day. There is only one month in a year when growers and winemakers have no work in the wine cellar or in the vineyard, and it is January. Pruning of the vineyard starts in February, and we have many operations to undertake until the September harvest. The work does not end there. Until year’s end we devote ourselves to creating a new wine.

2. What is the biggest hurdle for the wine business today in Serbia?

The obstacles are numerous. Our country went through 20 years of terrible political turmoil and economic shock, which led to the devastation of vineyards and destruction of large industrial wineries. The gaping hole in the market has slowly been filled with the emergence of small boutique wineries. The problem is that the State institutions offer hardly any help to this branch. The signing of various international agreements opened our market to uncontrolled import of wines from all over the world, from countries with national strategies regarding wine that is being hyper-produced with extremely low production costs. Our own product has thus become uncompetitive even in the domestic market, let alone abroad. Having said this, you can only imagine the situation with the export.

3. What are the challenges that wine makers are facing? Is it finding right people and training them, logistic issues or something else?

In the first place, wine makers and growers are dependent on atmospheric conditions. It is, as we say, a kind of industrial plant under the open sky. It may be that some years bring a poorer quality of grapes, some years bring better, and some years can pass without even a harvest. All these other problems you listed are present because this branch of industry has not been taken care of for years. Besides the present lack of staff, there are many other problems, such as difficult collection of receivables. However, it is the problem we face in our market in all segments of the economy.

4. Nowadays, consumers are more aware of prices, so how can wine be a competitor to other types of alcohol?

It is a very tough struggle. Producers of spirits and beer, because of its massive sales have large marketing budgets, and even the strong global wine brands have difficulties to cope with such a strong campaign. In our country, it is even more difficult because small wine producers have almost no marketing budgets and the low purchasing power of the market dictates higher consumption of cheaper products.

5. You’ve mentioned that only 50% of the Serbian wines can be found in restaurants. What is the key for this solution? Should we as the citizens opt for a Serbian wine next time we go to a restaurant or is it up to the owners of these objects to include more domestic wines?

I’m afraid you have misunderstood me. I said it the Ministry of Commerce should adopt a law that would make sure that wine lists in restaurants feature at least 50% of domestic brands. We had this law a long time ago and this is nothing new. Moreover, similar practice is present in the neighboring countries that produce wine and thus protect their product.

6. What has been the greatest achievement of the association so far?

Our association has existed for only five years. But we are proud to have participated in the adoption of the new wine law. We are also the organizers of a major international fair, held in Belgrade, as well as of several local wine events. We actively try to introduce Serbian winemakers to various international institutions, as well as to gather and organize easier export to foreign markets.

7. Which markets will you be focusing in the future?

As I mentioned earlier, unfortunately, now we are not competitive in the markets of Western Europe. The reason for this is not the quality of our wine, as there are prestigious awards won by our manufacturers on world competitions in recent years to prove that we have an excellent product. The reason for this lies only in the high production costs in Serbia, due to the absence of any government support and subsidies. For this reason we are forced to turn to the markets of the former Soviet Union and China. They are interested in our wines and they can accept our prices, but in these markets we have a problem with large quantities they need, and that we don’t have.

8. How do you see the ideal collaboration with the Ministry of Economy?

In the past five years, the Ministry of Economy has helped us a lot in mapping wine routes in Serbia and installing proper traffic signals. This has helped increase interest of consumers for wine tourism and cellar tours, which in turn directly influenced the increase in sales at the site. I hope that in the upcoming period, the ministry will continue with the same and greater efforts to promote wine tourism.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Only a bottle of an excellent Serbian wine 🙂

Gvozden, thank you so much for giving us some of your time to take part in this interview!

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Interview with Agness of

Agness is the co-founder of eTramping travel blog and she is currently travelling through Asia. As the website states, Agness together with Cez, will take you around the world slowly…

Agness is the co-founder of eTramping travel blog and she is currently travelling through Asia. As the website states, Agness together with Cez, will take you around the world slowly but surely. Personally I found their blog interesting enough to open our interview section with them. Plus I am sure you will enjoy reading it as well!

Before we start, you can also follow her adventures on Facebook and Twitter.

01. Hey Agness could you briefly introduce yourself and your website to our readers?

Hey! I’m Agness (Agnieszka is my full name), 23-year-old Pole, travel freak, photography passionate, blogger and life enthusiast. I have been seriously travelling around Asia since 2011 having a blast and learning a lot about people, foreign culture and, above all, myself. I’m adventurous and I love living my life spontaneously.

My passion to travel turned into my work last year when me and my best friend created – website about our travel adventures where we share our feelings, thoughts and advice with other travellers, more or less experienced in backpacking. The idea of creating this website and my blog came up in August 2011 where I set off for my first journey to China where I spent 10 months backpacking and teaching English in Hunan province.

The motto of the website is to “Travel Slowly but Surely!” around the world, on the cheap, and show people that everyone can travel. No matter how much money they have and how old they are- it’s never too late to quit a 9-5 job and go into the wild, just like we did.

Now, after our hard work and efforts, the website offers a lot of travel tips, there is a gallery with our photos taken during our travels, photo of the day section, blogs where you can read my funny stories living in foreign countries, and so on.

We also provide WordPress blog services for those who take blogging seriously or would like to start or switch to WordPress (more info at

Agness of

Jumping on the Great Wall of China, Beijing

02. Where in the world are you now? And where have you been so far?

I have just arrived in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where I’m planning to stay for few months. Although I’ve been here for just over a week, I feel homely. This is a truly amazing place, and the atmosphere – well, you won’t experience it anywhere else. We have even set up a small local web design company.

Before I came to live in Cambodia I have lived in China for 10 months, where I visited 13 out of 23 provinces and cycled the full length of Vietnam with Cez (my best friend). Too many memories to write about it, you need to see for more details. Of course I have been to several European countries. Overall, my adventure has just begun and I’m hoping to see every country in the world.

03. What kind of a traveller you are and what type of activities do you enjoy the most?

I’m definitely a backpacker travelling on the cheap. I don’t need much to enjoy my travels- a piece of the ground to sleep on, friendly people around and the beautiful scenery. I guess it’s not that much, right!? 😀 I am a very active person enjoying kayaking, cycling, trekking, hiking and swimming the most. I hate doing nothing or wasting my time sitting at the pool or watching TV in my hotel room.

04. As I’ve been looking through your website, I came across a part where you said most people prefer to book their holidays with agencies and have classic beach holidays. This is true, as many people prefer to do it this way. What do you think the reason for this is? Are people just unmotivated to go independently or are they are scared to travel alone and move outside their comfort zone?

Well, some people work very hard for their career, so all they want to do during their holidays is simply lying on the beach and drinking cocktails. I don’t blame them. They want to be provided with the best service, don’t want to worry about anything and enjoy their time off peacefully. It’s easy and time saving- “Time is money” as many people say. The other people are just too scared and feel unsecured to travel independently. They are afraid of getting lost, being robbed, etc. so they choose a safe option of booking a trip with travel agencies. There are also some people who think that travelling independently is much more expensive than booking package tours. Holiday providers offer great deals on beach holidays nowadays, you pay in advance having only a few expenses during your holiday, it’s more comfortable and less stressing.

05. You originally come from Poland. Can you explain to us why people should visit your country and what are some of the things/places that shouldn’t be missed? What are your personal favourites?

If you want to get drunk with Polish vodka, have a plate of delicious dumplings (called “Pierogi”), climb beautiful mountains and go fishing at stunning lakes, Poland is a great place. It’s a country of vivid history, museums, nice seaside, urban centers like Warsaw (the capital), Wroclaw and Krakow. People are extremely hospitable and you definitely feel like home.  There are many places worth visiting such as Mazury Lake District (Eastern Poland) for those who love water sports where you can rent a boat and have a boat ride across the lake, Auschwitz and Birkenau (Greater Kraków) for history passionates and of course the capital city- Warsaw where you can visit some museums and do some decent shopping.

My favourite place is my hometown where I was born and raised called Zagan (Western part of Poland). I have my family and friends there and lots of great memories from my childhood.

Agness of Cambodia

The temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

06. What do you like the most about your country, and is there anything you dislike?

Poland has a very rich history people should know about. I like the fact Polish people are very patriotic, but what I don’t like is that it’s so rare to meet Polish people on the road while travelling. That’s a real pity. There are not many Polish backpackers and vagabonds and this is my only one regret.

07. You are currently travelling in Asia, how is it different to Europe and your home? Tell us about your unique experiences.

Asian countries differ a lot from European countries in many aspects such as food, history, traditions, travel costs, people’s mentality and so on. Travelling in Asia is definitely cheaper for me. I was able to live for $10 a day in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, including my accommodation, meals and some small souvenir expenses whereas for $10 a day in Europe you can afford a coffee with a plain croissant in Paris. Moreover, Asian cultural history fascinates me more than European. In my opinion it’s richer and more interesting, especially in China. The food in Asia is spicier and seems to be healthier but I prefer European cuisine though (always miss pancakes, Polish dumplings and muffins!). Europe is less crowded and wealthier, people are more educated and well-behaved, the life goes faster but we are more depressed and miserable than Asian people. Asian people, unlike some European, always stick together and the family is the most important to them. The landscapes are both stunning in Europe and Asia and people are also hospitable in both places.

08. What country or city has left the biggest impression on you? Any favourites and why?

It was definitely the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa which I visited this June. I simply fell in love with its scenery, amazingly hospitable and religious Tibetans, Tibetan religion and culture. I call this place “My heaven on Earth”. I was blown away by the power of Buddhism and the design of Tibetan temples and houses. Tibet is simply the most colorful and magic place on the Earth. Despite the fact, I couldn’t travel freely and independently there as it is not allowed nowadays, I was still able to have a little conversations with locals, find out and understand why Tibet wants to be independent and how it differs from China in terms of history, language, customs and religion. Undoubtedly, it was a great lesson for me to learn: a lesson not only about history but humility as well.

09. Is there something you can’t travel without?

LOTS of positive energy and SMILE!

Agness of Mekong Delta

Boating the Mekong Delta

10.  So many people are full of myths that they cannot travel the world- money issues, no time, fear, etc. What is your advice for them?

World is like a book. If you don’t travel, you read only one page. Now ask yourself a question “Do you really want to get stuck on one page only without seeing the rest?” The world out there is amazing, surprising and diverse. It’s now or never. You will never have enough time, money, lack of responsibility, energy, courage, etc. However, if you leave everything and go, you’ll find you don’t need it all.

The words which inspired me to travel and forget about all there silly excuses such money, fear, no time was the quote by Mark Twain saying “In twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

People will always find millions of excuses not to leave their comfort zone. I know it’s hard to do it and it can be challenging to picture yourself in “drastically altered” surroundings, but it’s definitely worth the struggle and your life will completely change for the better. Go! Discover and enjoy the life.

11. You probably had so many memories, but can you pick some of the nicest memories from your travels? Did you ever encounter some embarrassing or unpleasant situations? 🙂

Every place I visit reminds me of something good. I have many nice memories from China working with Chinese students who called me “Lady Gaga”, from Lhasa when I spoke with the real Tibetan monk who gave me a blessing on the street (it was so touching and I cried) and from Vietnam where I ate bugs for the first time.

There were also a few life-threating situations I came across. The worst one was when I was bitten and infected by poisonous spider in China. It took me 4 months to completely recover from the infection.

12. What do you like the most about being a travel blogger?

Many things actually. I like the fact I can get back to my blog notes after 2,3 or 5 years and be able to read it again, feel it again and relive it again. It is also good to give other travelers some advice on how to travel safely and cheaply so they can avoid mistakes I made and enjoy their smooth travel to places I went to. Moreover, it is a great way to publish and share my photographs, the website will look good on my CV and it is another reason to be proud of myself. It gives me the strength to carry on, especially when people read my notes, share them and enjoy them.

13. What are your favourite travel blogs, can you recommend us some?

There are plenty of websites I like and visit on a regular basis. My 3 favourite ones are: (me and Samantha have a lot in common when it comes to travelling, she is preparing herself for a huge journey around the world giving people advice on how to get ready for the first big travel adventure and shares her Europe travel experience with readers. We made friends and stay in touch hoping to meet in person one day). (Teresa travels the world as a house sitter and has written two amazing books plus one is coming up soon about it. I check out her website very often as housesitting is a great way to travel on the cheap). (Great travel website where articles are written by experienced travelers on cheap accommodation, travel safety, etc.).

14. Which publication are you the most proud of on your website? Can you share it with us?

I always feel proud of all my publications posted on my website. If it is not good enough, it is not published, however there was one article about Tibet being closed for foreign travelers (find it here) which was re-tweeted by Lonely Planet on my Twitter profile (@Agnesstramp) and shared by thousands of worldwide backpackers.

Agness of Tibet

Amazingly hospitable Tibetans, Lhasa, Tibet

15. To finish off our chat; What one piece of advice would you give to our readers from your travel memories, experience or just personal thoughts? 🙂

You should all travel freely and independently. Don’t book all inclusive holiday packages with your local travel agency. Just buy a huge backpack (if you don’t have one), put some stuff in (not too much), put your backpack on and go! Try not to plan too many things in advance, enjoy the moment and be spontaneous. You will find it exciting and you will meet the people who will change your life by being amazingly hospitable and treating you like home. Travelling is not that expensive. You can always get a job while being on the road (like me) if you need some money and don’t spend too much on things you don’t need. Where there is a will, there is a way! Travel safely and always stay in touch with your friends and family. Beat homesickness by interacting with locals, try some “weird-looking” food, take some awesome photos which will remind you of this lifetime adventure, leave your comfort zone and explore the world and you will see people will give you more than they have!

Agness, first thank you so much for giving us some of your time to take part in this interview! We wish you the best in your travels and lots of awesome moments to come!

Thanks a lot. It was my pleasure to chat with you. BON VOYAGE!

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