The latest in my World Travellers series is Diana from The Globetrotting Detective. Before I totally knew about Diana, I didn’t realise we both have a common link – all the way to the gorgeous Hungarian city, Debrecen. While my time in Debrecen came to an end two decades ago, my mind pondered as I let Diana tell us her story…
Who are you?
I’m Diana. I run a travel blog, the Globetrotting Detective. I share my experience as a solo traveler along with travel guides and travel tips for the places I visit and I enjoy fitness.
My primary goal is to discover beautiful places, cultures and hidden pearls that are not very well known but still affordable.
I’m also trying to create very detailed but very simple travel guides so people can quickly decide where to travel and plan their journey. Today people are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of information. Therefore, I want to make sure that I provide content that is easy to digest and can be used effortlessly.
Where are you from?
I’m from the second biggest city of Hungary, Debrecen. Debrecen is located in the eastern part of the country. But I consider myself a citizen of the world. (Editor – I loved Debrecen and have fond memories of life there).
Where have you been?
I’ve been to 51 countries out of which I lived in 8: Hungary, England, Ireland, Finland, Japan, Turkey, Morocco and Germany.
I was awarded governmental scholarships to study in Finland, Japan and Turkey as an exchange student. As for England, Ireland, Morocco and Germany, I worked there. Thanks to these experiences I speak English, Finnish, Japanese and German fluently. Moreover, I can also speak Turkish and Arabic at an intermediate level. My goal is to be fluent in all these languages.
I could have travelled to more countries but when I travel, I like to spend at least a month in a certain country. I’m not in a rush to travel around the world quickly and see the most touristic places.
I really want to understand the culture and learn to speak a lot of languages. For example, even though I lived 9 months in Morocco in 2013, I decided to travel around Morocco once more in 2019 which lasted almost three months.
Where are you now?
I was traveling in India when the Coronavirus crisis started to get really serious. On 18th March, just a couple of days before the lockdown in India I left for Hungary.
I’m staying in my hometown since then with my parents. Until it’s safe to travel again, I’m here for a while. It’s a good time for me to write blogs about travel experiences from the last two years.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey. They are my favourite countries because I experienced so many things there I hadn’t expected. People are so welcoming, hospitable, kind and helpful.
Moreover, the fact that these countries are considered to be kind of dangerous and finding out that they are actually very safe and one of the best places for traveling is an awesome feeling that I’m always happy to share with the world.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
Training for a marathon across borders, in Georgia, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan and then running a 42 K marathon in the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil.
I thought it would be a challenge to find places to run in South-eastern part of Turkey but it was surprisingly easy. In every city there is a stadium that people can use free of charge for running and doing exercises.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
Harassment. I’ve only experienced verbal harassment in a few countries. To be honest, I could not deal with it very well. It always made me extremely angry. Unfortunately, in some societies, where women are less valued and respected, it can be challenging for a solo female traveller.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
It happened in India. I was riding a motorbike in the mountains in the state of Karnataka, when a bumble bee bit me on the eyelid. My travel partner took out a damn big bee out of my eyes. It was really funny.
When I woke up next day, my eyes were swollen big time. To be honest, first I was totally desperate but after coming to terms with my situation, I found my new look absolutely hilarious.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
That also happened in India in the state of Karnataka on the same day as my encounter with the bumble bee.
I was feeling intrepid and I decided to look around some waterfalls. Out of the blue, an enormous and fat brown snake appeared. It scared the hack out of me. It looked at least 10 meters long. Could that even be possible?
In a few seconds, my imagination went so far that I felt the snake was attacking me. Actually, the reality was completely the opposite. When the snake saw me, he escaped right away. Still, I didn’t dare to move. I started crying out of fear. I tried to call my friend. But there was no reception.
Then, I started to shout for him. But he didn’t hear it. I actually didn’t dare to shout too loud because I was afraid that I would piss the snake off with being too loud. I sent my friend a message. Fortunately, that went through.
My friend came to save me and said: “Don’t worry, I grew up here playing with other children. Snakes are not dangerous.”
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
I didn’t take up any job while traveling. I just volunteered a few times with Workaway in Morocco. I volunteered in a hostel in Taghazout, Marrakesh and Tamellalt which is located in the Atlas Mountains.
I especially liked the one in the Atlas Mountains where the hostel was run by a local family. I learnt so much about the way of life there in the mountains.
How do you fund your travels?
I’ve been working since the age of 17 and I was always working during my studies. I spent all the money I earned on traveling. In Hungary, I worked for my dad’s company, worked in factories and at news agents. I just tried different jobs that I could get at around 18.
In Hungary as a student it was not possible to earn too much money. Imagine that working for one month in a factory every single day was not even enough to purchase a plane ticket back in 2004. I remember at that time I could not imagine how young people from Western Europe could just have a gap year to travel the world. But I always felt that someday I should be one of them. All I was thinking about back then how I could afford to travel so much.
When Hungary joined the EU, new gates opened up for young people in Eastern Europe like me. Thus, I moved to Windsor, England for a year to work as au-pair for a very nice English family.
There I also worked as an au-pair for a very nice family, did babysitting and cleaning for another very sweet family, I worked in a clothes shop and a restaurant, all at the same time. I was running from one place to another.
I worked my butt off but it was worth it. I spent another two summers abroad to work. I worked in a restaurant in Windsor and in an Irish Bar in Dublin summers. This way, I was traveling and working at the same time. And obviously, I was always saving money for future travels.
Moreover, after the second academic year I applied for governmental scholarships to study abroad. This is how I studied a year in Japan, a semester in Turkey and semester and a summer in Finland.
They were all full scholarships. For example, in Japan, my scholarship was enough to have a very good life in Japan. Nevertheless, I even had a part time job. I worked in a hotel as a waitress. This way I could travel more, I even travelled to South-east Asia from Japan.
Last but not least, I was involved in youth projects in AEGEE which is Europe’s largest interdisciplinary student organization. I organized youth events in Europe and the Arab World. As an organizer, I didn’t get paid but my expenses were either covered or very little.
Also, to represent my project, the Euro-Arab Project of AEGEE-Europe, I attended conferences. And to learn more about how I could run the project better, I attended training schools in Europe which were all on scholarship basis.
During my Masters studies, I also started tutoring foreign students at my university. After graduation, I worked in Telecommunications in Hungary, as an English teacher in Morocco and in IT in Germany. Working in different countries helped me to travel more and easier.
2016 – 2017 was a year of struggle for me because I didn’t know what to do with my life. I wanted to find a job that I could do for the rest of my life. I wanted to work in tourism and digital marketing. But due to the fact that I didn’t study any of them, it was impossible in Germany to get a job in these industries.
That’s when I started to search for solutions. I asked myself, how and in what kind of job could I do all that I’m really passionate about: traveling, connecting with people from different cultures, organizing trips and events, teaching and sharing my travels.
I thought, this job didn’t exist out there. Hence, I knew I had to create a job for myself. And for that job, I had to create my own company.
After a lot of researches, at the end of 2016, I found out about travel bloggers. At that time, I had no idea about their existence. I didn’t even have Instagram. In 2017, I started a travel blog, decided to save money and then leave to travel the world.
In 2019 May I left to travel the world. I had enough money for about 2 years to travel. To fund that I saved money working full time in customer service, teaching foreign languages in Munich, and from my tax refund from 3 years of working in Germany.
As for my travel blog, I only earned a couple of hundred Euros with it. But that money is still less than I invested in my blog.
I hope to make my living out of my travel blog because I really love working on it.
Furthermore, I also would like to work for others but it must be something in the travel industry or teaching.
When it comes to financing travel, I have to mention that I actually mostly travel to cheap countries on a low budget. My monthly budget is maximum 400 € per month. The only exceptions in the last couple of years were Cuba and the UAE. Being on low budget helps me travel longer.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
First, don’t be scared to explore less known places.
Second, travel with a plan but don’t be afraid to change it on the way.
Third, remember that places considered the most dangerous countries could be the safest in the world. Let yourself be surprised!
What are your future travel plans?
I’m staying in my hometown until it’s save to travel. Once it’s safe to travel again, I would live to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. These are still less visited parts of the world and I really love exploring such unusual destinations.
Furthermore, I want to do the Everest Base Camp and run a 42 K Marathon at high altitude in Pakistan. I’m always looking for challenging activities to improve my fitness and test my limits both mentally and physically.
Last but not least, I would like to learn to ride a motorbike and ride a horse somewhere in the world.
Links (website, twitter, facebook)
Thanks to Diana for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured, either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!