Inspiration corner: interview with Alina from The Happy Kid

Alina and her family are traveling the world with their 3-year-old son. Their lives have fundamentally changed when he was born. They realized that life means much more than a pay-check, performance evaluations, and happy customers. So they took a break from their “normal” busy lives to focus more on a new beginning in three.
In June 2018, they embarked on a big adventure around the world. They’ve seen extraordinary places and made awesome memories, wandering through the Caribbeans, South America, and South-East Asia. Their travel adventure can be followed on our blog, The Happy Kid, or on Instagram.

What inspired you to start traveling?

I always loved to discover new places and learn more about foreign cultures. But now I am traveling full time together with my husband and our three years old son. We took a “sabbatical” to be able to spend more time with him, to enjoy his childhood together, doing what we like the most.

What do you pack first?

I am very good at packing. Traveling a lot alone for business and then traveling long term with my husband and our toddler, I have to pack very smartly to have an easy journey. So I always have in mind what we need and rarely take something we don’t use. But, of course, I pack first the stuff for the kid, there’s no compromise in this case.

Where do you go for the best view?

Generally speaking, for the best view, try to avoid travel agencies or websites advice, you’ll end up in a very popular and crowded place. Instead, do what locals do and hear their advice. You’ll have a much better and authentic experience.
One of the most awesome views lately was in Sri Lanka tea county, at Lipton’s Seat. The peak offers 360 views to the valleys, while the slopes are covered in green tea plantations.

What’s your fave foodie destination?

We are huge food lovers and we never enjoy a place if the food is bad. Italy is by far our favorite destination when it comes to food. Plus that eating in Italy is an experience of its own. We always look for small, family-owned places where people gather for the vibe and the people. In such little spots, we feel like guests in the home of an Italian long forgotten friend and the food is always delicious.

Name a place that most lived up to the hype.

One place that totally exceeded our expectations was Colombia. The combination of nice locals, very friendly with families with kids, plus awesome natural sights, not yet affected by over-tourism was extremely welcoming for us. We spent there almost 4 weeks and it is one of the few places where we plan to return.

Name a place that least lived up to the hype.

The place we enjoyed the least was Cuba, even though it is a very popular destination nowadays. But the strict communist regime and difficult economy, plus the poverty and ignorance of the Cuban people were not at all enjoyable for me. As a citizen of an ex-communist country, it all reminded me of the sad stories I hear from my parents about the difficult times we had in Romania over 30 years ago.

If I had a one-way ticket to anywhere in the world where would you go and why? 

A one-way ticket to a single destination… hard to say! I would probably choose a very far destination, like Australia or Pacific islands, and plan a long time over there. Traveling, I’ve learned that local transportation or short flights are not that expensive, but long-haul flights add up
a lot to the budget.

Tell us about a great little place you know?

Our favorite retreat in our home country is Raven’s Nest, in the Apuseni Mountains. This is the place we return to time and again, perfect to recharge our batteries. The landscape here is incredible and the Nest preserves very well ancient traditions while ensuring all the comfort you need.

Where in the world have you felt happiest?

One of the latest places we’ve been very happy was Bonaire, an island in the Southern Caribbean. This was the first stop in our adventure around the world. It was the first time in a while we had time for ourselves, as a family. We redesigned our priorities, enjoyed lots of moments together and planned for our current journey around the world.

Any horror/funny stories while traveling?

One funny story, but a bit scary at the time, was the climb on Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka. I was carrying Eric on my back, in the baby carrier, and he was eating a biscuit. There are lots of monkeys over there and suddenly one of them stole the biscuit from his hand. He got mad and
scared and there was no way we could stop to calm him, as we were in a long queue, climbing a steep and narrow stair.

What places have you planned for 2019?

We are now traveling for almost one year with our son. During the last 10 months, we’ve visited 17 countries on 4 continents. So we actually plan to settle for a few months, before embarking to the next travel adventure. We need to restore our energy and “digest” everything we’ve seen and done during this time.

 

Ingrid is the author of IngridZenMoments, blending in travel, reading and loving in the life of a full time mutinational worker and encouraging people to live and love life to the fullest.
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