Meet Ilaria: An Italian Free Spirit

Ilaria is a 23 years-old Italian traveler and a “dreamer” as how she describes. She is a strong woman who knows what to dream and forces herself to get closer to her dreams.

Read on to meet with her positive vibe and get inspired by her unique experience!

“I’m a positive soul who loves to connect and share experiences with people from all kind of backgrounds and cultures. I would say that my primary passions are traveling, self-development, yoga, photography, and writing. At the moment, Tenerife (Canary islands) is the place where I call as “home”.

“I have lived in Italy for all my life; but, then the desire of exploring the world and challenge myself out of the famous “comfort zone” made me live a nomadic life for a while. I have lived and volunteered in Germany, I have experienced life in Australia, lived in Sweden for half a year, and called home also London and Greece.”

Ilaria’s tattoo. Yes, it really is real.

Living in Tenerife, Canary Islands

“Tenerife is the place that stole my heart from the very first moment. Being an adventurer, I always used to tell myself that I didn’t want to stop in one single place for anything and anyone, but when I arrived here, with my backpack, a pair of boots and my camera, I had no idea what I was going to live. Everyone I had the opportunity to meet during my trip told me the first days “this island has something magic, it’s like a trap, I’m sure you’re not going away”. And at the beginning, I could not understand why. Well, maybe it is better not to mention that I decided to miss my flight and to change all the plans I had for my future.”

“Living in Tenerife means spending days at the beach in the middle of January. It means going out for a walk and smile and talk to each person you meet. It means having the possibility, every day, to choose if you want to head to the ocean, to the mountains or to desert areas. This island has it all and nature is simply breathtaking. For outdoor enthusiasts like me, it’s easy to fall in love with this vast and changing territory. The sun and the waves, all year-round, make me feel that inner peace I was never able to reach in order places I have lived. And the warmth of the people makes me feel like in a big family.”

“I am happy to live in Tenerife now and I would not change this island with anything. However, this is the place where I am based, but I don’t have any intention to stop my adventures around the world!”

Comparison in a Triangle: Italy, Sweden and Greece

“Italy and Spain are really close from a cultural point of view. Compared to the other countries where I have lived, people are warm and relaxed, the rhythms of every-day life are calmer and the traditions and habits of the country represent something that strongly influences its habitants. For sure, this factor has its pros and cons.”

“I have really loved Sweden because of its order, its incredible advanced system and the open mindedness of its citizens. The cold weather and the darkness, though, are something I could not bear for too long. In the end, I am a girl from the south of Italy: I need the sunshine, the sea and smiley people around me in order to be happy. Roots are roots!”

“After a whole winter in Sweden, I was really feeling the need to enjoy the outdoors without freezing. But not only: I had previously heard that Greek people were the most open and welcoming people on earth. And guess what, this is exactly what I found! I was dreaming about Greek tavernas, typical music, dances, and sunsets by the sea. I started looking for a place with an environment where I could have helped others and, at the same time, grow as a person. It’s in this way that I found the opportunity to do an internship in Thessaloniki.”

“I have worked as a mentor assistant of a group of volunteers from EVS. I had to coordinate and organize with the other mentors of the organization the different tasks and activities of the group. There were many different projects: from social media to video making, from language tandems to cultural events with refugees. I have learned a lot regarding human rights and I have create such strong connections with people from all over the world. Living in a big house with many young people, all from different countries and with different stories to tell, is something that without doubts changed my life. Traveling teaches how to share and, in my opinion, it is the best gift that life can ever give to us (just to mention one of my favorite quotes: Happiness is real only when shared).”

“During my stay in Thessaloniki, I decided with my friend of adventures, Claudia, to reach Istanbul and explore its magic. What an adventure! We have hitchhiked for one whole day and arrived in this huge city safe and sound. We decided to be hosted by local people in order to dive deeply into Turkish culture and explore all its shades. Its atmosphere, the people, the food, the history and much more made this adventure unforgettable. Turkish people have been the kindest to us and we have always felt very welcomed. People are fun, with a big heart, and always ready to help if needed.”

Greece versus Turkey

“Regarding Greece, I would say the values people have, the shades of the sea, its welcoming culture. Regarding Turkey: the magic of its places, the mix of different worlds (European side/Asian side), its flavors and traditions.”

She hitchhiked from Thessaloniki to Istanbul

“Maybe I haven’t experienced Turkey enough to be able to compare these two countries. I have visited only Istanbul and I know that there is a lot more to explore. I’m really keen to come back and discover the south, Antalya, as well as Cappadocia and the Black Sea.”

“I would absolutely live in both Greece and Turkey for a longer period if I have time. They are both the places where I feel I can learn something new every day, where even the contrast between “advanced and ruined” is interesting.  In both of the countries, I have broken down many mental walls. In fact, many people only associate Greece with the crisis or the massive tourism on the islands, when I have found out that Greece has a lot more to offer: People are happy, enjoy life, enjoy the moment. It’s more important to spend some time talking and laughing than complaining or stressing out for them, or at least, this has been my impression. What about Turkey? Well, I have heard all my life that it was way too dangerous for me to travel alone in this country or as well as with another girl. I have never felt unsafe and I never walked through Istanbul’s streets with fear. My advice: Switch off the TV and go live the reality!”

The Van Adventure

“Traveling with a van has always been a dream for me, but it’s only when I met my boyfriend that we both decided to turn this dream into reality. We both love traveling and we realized that converting an old and broken van into a tiny and cozy home on wheels could have been the right solution to travel more, explore more and have the freedom to stop where we want and have everything we need. It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worthy. We had no previous experience, but step by step we have learned how to cut wood, how to build a bed, how to install electricity and much more.”

Ilaria and her boyfriend’s van

“Before, we had noticed that it was becoming a real obsession: we were all day long talking about the van, what we needed to do, how to find inspiration, how much we needed to save in order to realize this project. After, we got a one-way ferry ticket to Portugal where we have inaugurated and tasted what it feels like living on the road.”

An International Love Experience

“When there is love there is nothing that a culture, a language, or a habit can put apart. Adrian and I have different backgrounds, a different culture, a different education and language, and maybe this is exactly what made us fall in love in a very short time. Even though sometimes there are some differences in the way we express ourselves or in the way we see things in life we both know that our main goal is to be together and to get to know each other every day a little more.”

Achieving the Dreams

“My dream today is to be a digital nomad and fully dedicate myself to a life on the road with my boyfriend and my puppy. Our goal is to convert another van, a bigger one, that could serve us as a house and that allows us to live in different countries for a while. We want to explore as many places as possible while living a simple and sustainable life.”

“We work every day in order to reach this goal. I have left my secure job to start my own business online, now I am working as a freelancer and I am able to work from any place I want. I want to inspire people to be happy, to be free, to be the life they want to live, and to be aligned with their real selves. There is no need to feel stuck in one place. If you want something all you need to do is to work for it.”

We wish nothing but the best of lucks to our lovely reader and traveler Ilaria. If you have any further questions, contact her via Instagram.

PS: She has one of the loveliest feeds you have ever seen.