Meet the Nomads – Lavi Nair of Lavi was Here

Lavi left her job in corporate finance last March 2014 and moved out of New York city to travel the wold. She’s been to South America, Asia and Europe and she also recently relocated to Madrid to teach English. If you’re looking for a new travel blog to follow, then this blog is for you.

It’s quite exciting to know where this journey would take Lavi. If you want to know more about Lavi, follow her adventures at Lavi was Here.

But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Lavi.

Lavi Was Here

How did you discover your passion for travelling?

“Although I had traveled to a few places before, I discovered my real passion for traveling on my first solo trip, which started in Rio de Janeiro. I wanted to take a few weeks holiday and travel but none of my friends were available to come with me. I decided that not having travel companions wasn’t a reason NOT to travel, so off I went! For the first time in my life I was out of the US in another country, alone. It was the most liberating feeling; my travel experience was in my hands and I could do whatever I wanted with it. I’ve been hooked on traveling ever since!”

What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?

“I’ve been lucky enough not to have too many terrible experiences traveling, but the hassle and unwanted attention I experienced in Varanasi, even as an Indian-American, was exhausting and stressful. It was the only place in India (or anywhere for that matter) in which I felt uncomfortable to be walking around alone as a female. To be honest, I’m still glad that I had that experience because traveling is not always about visiting beautiful beaches and partying with other backpackers; you may not love every place, but even bad experiences teach you something about the world. My airline losing my luggage in Istanbul was no picnic, either.”

What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

“Recently, I went hitchhiking for the first time along the Balkan coast with a fellow traveler I had just met. It was something I never expected I would do and it was so much fun. We started in Albania and hitchhiked through Montenegro, finishing up in Croatia. Arriving at each planned destination was so rewarding because of the effort it took to get there. You might be thinking that it’s easy to stand on the side of the road with your thumb out trying to get rides, but it can be harder than you think!”

Lavi Was Here

What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?

“It’s not the places you go but the people you meet along the way that make traveling so special. Even the most brief encounters have led to friendships that I know will be lifelong. I have crossed paths with some remarkable and inspiring individuals in my travels and I’m so lucky to have shared experiences all over the world with them. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m stuck in the rain in monsoon season in India or on an uncomfortable bus ride in Turkey, I’m happy as long as I’m in good company.”

What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

“I’m motivated by the thought that there’s a whole world out there to explore! There are so many different cultures to learn about and people to meet; I want to experience all of it. Yes, it’s tiring, frustrating, and can really take a toll on a person, but in the end, it’s worth it. I am so fascinated by places I’ve never been that I think I’ll always be curious enough to keep going.”

This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?

“I would definitely want to travel with Anthony Bourdain; then I’d get the inside scoop about all of his hidden food gems and hole-in-the-wall favorite eating joints all over the world!”

Lavi Was Here

Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?

“In Lisbon there’s a quiet lookout point overlooking the Tagus River where I watched the sun rise after my first night in Lisbon. During the day some local artists sit there and paint pictures of the beautiful view. I spent a few hours sitting there and reading on my last day in Lisbon and on my way out I bought one of the paintings. One day when I have a house, I’ll hang it up so that I can see my favorite spot every day.”

What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?

“Don’t plan too much in advance. I’ve stumbled upon some of the best destinations by simply talking to other travelers while on the road. It’s the worst when you’ve planned every step of the way to a T and you can’t make any changes without it costing a lot of money. You never know who you’ll meet and which place they’ll tell you that you can’t miss. Also, pack toilet paper. You’ll never regret that.”

What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

“Recently in Tirana, Albania, I was walking around aimlessly in the city with two others when a local man who was searching through some trash asked my friend if he had a cigarette in German. Somehow that snowballed into us getting a “tour” of Tirana from this German-speaking Albanian man for about two hours – and neither I nor one of the others could speak or understand German. We didn’t really know what was going on but it was so random and hilarious because we he basically gave us a tour of some abandoned buildings and rundown neighborhoods and half the time I was wondering if he was going to lead us into an alley so that his friends could jump us. Don’t worry, he didn’t!”

How do you fund your travels?

“I worked for 3.5 years in NYC before quitting my job to travel, so right now I fund my travels with my savings. For the next nine months I’ll be living and working in Madrid as an English language assistant and will be using those paychecks to hop around Europe every chance I get on the weekends.”

How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?

“As a solo female traveler, I know that only I am responsible for my safety and I always keep that in mind with the decisions I make while traveling. I like to think that I have pretty good street smarts; depending on where I am, I decide whether or not it’s safe for me to go gallivanting around the streets alone at night, for example. I also take time to study the maps of places I’m in. I really like maps and knowing where I am in relation to other places so I don’t get lost.”

What do you think about yourself?

“I’m probably too independent for my own good, which is great for solo travel but maybe not so great for other aspects of life. I thrive off of being out of my comfort zone and forcing my self to acclimate to new and different surroundings. I just moved to Madrid, and this is the first time I’ve really lived outside of the US. I think it’s going to be a good test for me; traveling is very different from living in another country. I still have a lot of learning to do, both about myself and the world that I’m a part of.”

Lavi Was Here

“It wasn’t an easy decision to quit my desk job and chase my wanderlust around the globe, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. Lavi was here is a chronicle of my travel escapades written in hopes of inspiring others to follow their travel passions, no matter how far reached they might seem.” – Lavi of Lavi was Here

Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Lavi.

Comments

  1. Packing toilet paper in your bag every time you leave the house is the best tip I know of. I learned that lesson in Nepal where people have squat toilets and don’t use toilet paper, you will never know when you need it.

    Best of luck with your travels.

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