I’m Daniela Freire, 22 years old, Brazilian, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, though I’m writing these answers in Paris. I hitchhike with my boyfriend João on a really low budget not just because it’s fun, but it’s the only way we can visit all the places we want to see. Blablacar is our plan B, but buses and that are not our idea of a good trip.
Why did you start travelling this way?
I started traveling this way because it’s cheap and because it’s way more fun. It opens you up to new experiences that’ll only happen if you hitchhike!
“I don’t think the love of adventure or freedom is addictive, I believe it’s something necessary to survive. It’s like saying breathing is addictive. We need this, we need movement.”
Are you currently travelling right now?
Yes. We’re traveling right now, in Paris heading towards Amsterdam. We’ve been to Porto, Coimbra, Lisboa, Leiria, Zambujeira do mar (Portugal), Seville, Los Caños de Meca, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona. We started September 14, so at the time of writing it’s been a month on the road until now.
Zambujeira do mar was totally different! It’s a small hidden paradise on the Alentejo coast we found thanks to one of our drivers! Such a beautiful, calm place, and such a good host to show us around made everything special.
Do you think the love of adventure and freedom is addictive?
I don’t think the love of adventure or freedom is addictive, I believe it’s something necessary to survive. It’s like saying breathing is addictive. We need this, we need movement. The more you travel, the more you learn and understand about the world.
Do you travel just for the love of travel, or to get somewhere?
I travel to know what it’s like to just have a backpack as your home. I can’t answer right now why I love to travel; I need more time on the road!
While hitching, do you find it exhausting trying to communicate in foreign languages? How about telling the same stories over and over?
Until now language wasn’t a problem, but it will be eventually! I’m trying to learn some French and improve my Spanish. I don’t mind telling the same story over and over again. What I do mind about language though is I say a lot of bad words and in Rio we have our own way of talking, super-fast and full of invented words, haha!
Could you (or would you) travel as a lifestyle?
Maybe. I’m traveling right now to get lost so I don’t know when I would turn around and say ‘oh, now I want a home, a normal lifestyle.’ I don’t know about travelling as a lifestyle because at the moment it already is, in a way!
While travelling, how do you make money? What about hygiene, food, where to sleep?
Money is a good subject! Me and João both worked before we came here (we worked a lot because our currency has less value here). We made some money and totally gave up the idea of living in Brazil. We are thinking about some getting in touch with digital nomads or using the internet to work but not right now. If I had a European passport, I could find any job and travel forever but I’m Brazilian. We use Couchsurfing so most of the time we manage to take a bath, wash some clothes and that. Right now we’re 3 days without a shower…
Do you think travel is a form of education?
Yes! People should travel more! And travel on a low budget, at least once. You see the things with a very different perspective.
Does it give you faith in humanity?
It gives but it also takes away my faith in humanity when I think about how impossible it would be to travel like this in my own country.
Are there any universal characteristics about travellers that you have noticed?
People who travel on a low budget travel better! They respect each other and the environment a lot more!
Do you have a favourite book on travel, or one you like to bring with you as you journey?
I brought Anne Frank’s diary before but I’m happy with my own diary right now.
How about films?
I like movies about traveling but they only show Americans or people from Europe travelling around. I want to know stories about the other people, someone without a visa but not an illegal person. Someone like me, a tourist who can’t live here forever.
What’s your dream in life?
My dream in life is to be able to live wherever I want, and that’s my dream for everyone.
“Everyone needs to trust their instincts!”
Has anyone you’ve met changed your life in any way?
I think everyone has a little bit. I remember my first host, in Porto. It was a guy who, from my perspective, knew everything! Such a smart person, he changed the way I see travelling. He made me see it’s possible.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from travelling?
Everyone needs to trust their instincts!
What is next for you?
I’m traveling right now so I don’t know. The next stop is Amsterdam, and I don’t know when it will end… What should I do? I don’t know! Maybe find some place I’d love to live in forever and stay!