Who am I?

Hi, my name is Daniela, mostly known as either Dani or Azzip. I was born and raised in the country side of Portugal, expected to grow an...

Hi, my name is Daniela, mostly known as either Dani or Azzip.
I was born and raised in the country side of Portugal, expected to grow and live a life next to my family and friends, just like everyone I knew. My parents never travelled and our holidays were spent at home, working on the fields. I did not know much of what the world was and to be honest, it didn't matter much to me.
I had no idea how other countries where apart from what I would see in the news, and all I knew about my country was what I visited during school trips.

At 20 years old I travelled for the very first time. 
Due to a health condition I developed when I was 11 years old, I am not allowed to swim for the rest of my life. I wanted to pursue Sports Science, but on my first year, my swimming teacher told me I would have to swim if I wanted to pass, and finish my Bachelor.
When I heard about Erasmus, a student exchange program in Europe, I studied the possibility to exchange that subject with a different sport I could actually do, and so, I applied to study in Poland.
I had no idea, but that experience would change completely my life, and my perspective on everything.

I did all the paper work, got accepted in AWFiS Gdaล„sk, and took my first flight to the north of this amazing country I would call home for the following 6 months. It was winter, and my boots were sinking deep in the layers of white snow across the roads. I was terrified.
I remember falling asleep in my bed, crying like a baby, wondering if this was a good decision, and asking myself how would I be on my own, in a completely strange country, with no friends, no one to lean on, and a language barrier. My mum, my friends, and my boyfriend were all well over 3000km away from me.
The first week was tough, but soon, I started to meet people and make friends.

I got asked many times if I was considering visiting other places in Poland, but my answer was simply "no". I wasn't interested in travelling nor learning polish, as I didn't see any point to it. Until I decided to visit Warsaw.

Someone recommended Couchsurfing to me as a way of saving money as I was on a budget, and I tried it while I was there. Since I was new to the platform and had no reviews, no one was offering me to stay with them, and the time of my train journey was close. Less than 24h before, a guy on his 30s offered to pick me up and let me stay at his place. Having no other option, I accepted. Not knowing what to expect from this whole situation, very unsure of what it would happen to me, I went to Warsaw on a night train, and finally met this guy in the morning.
He was respectful, thoughtful and helpful. The weekend went by quickly as I visited most of what I could, and it felt great seeing all of those different places.

I came back to Gdaล„sk, and started planning my next few months. Bought two books about Poland, spoke to locals, and decided what I wanted to visit. Weekend trips, and a whole month of backpacking before heading back to Portugal.
I explored more of Poland than what many natives ever did, and added Germany, Austria, Check Republic and Hungary to the list.
I travelled most of it solo, met many people along the way, did Couchsurfing, stayed at friend's houses, used Google Translator many times, and even learnt the basics of Polish. There were crazy situations and amazing coincidences, but it was surely one of the best times of my life.
During this time, I discovered my passion for travelling, and I found "freedom" and "fulfilment" on mountain hikes.

After 6 life changing months, I came back to Portugal, finished my Bachelor and started working for a company who required too much of my time, and paid me just under enough to survive, like any other gym in my country. I realised I was falling again into the trap of living life for the sake of surviving, instead of experiencing it. I started exploring other possibilities, and quit my job to move to London, where my best friend was working. I just wanted to be free - have time for my self, live life, walk in the park, travel the world.

I left my boyfriend (who I was dating for 4 years at that point) in Portugal to move to a different country, to one of the most known metropolitan cities in the world. Me, the country side girl who didn't like big cities. I hated it in the first two years. Felt lonely, had to start from scratch more than once. My bachelor was not accepted and I had to work in a bakery while I was studying AGAIN. 

But that was surely, the best decision I ever made after studding in Poland. After 2 years of hard work and doubting myself for leaving everything behind, I gained my freedom again. I became self-employed, built my own business, and things got slowly better. I was finally able to sustain myself, and travel the world when I wanted. My partner for life was now in London too, and he was the most supportive person ever, even though he doesn't feel the need to travel like I do.

I look back and I see how naive, and single minded I was, but I am not ashamed of it. I understand that people's vision of the world differs from what they see and experience, and there is nothing wrong with those who are happy to live a simple life next to their family, without ever seeing how it is to be over the clouds.
But one thing I know for sure: sometimes we have no idea of what truly makes us feel fulfilled, because we never got the chance to experience it. We never knew it was possible, we never knew it could be done.
You might not know what it is to travel the world, and that's ok. It's never too late.

If you want to know why I decided to create this blog and what motivates me to do what I do, you can read about it HERE.

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  1. Dani, hi, I am a great appreciator of your work. I wonder if you have considered adding Malta to your portfolio of destination reviews? As a half-Maltese half-Brit living in Essex - but having visited Malta about 33 times - I'd be thoroughly interested to see what you'd do with your trip.

    1. Hi, thank you so much and apologies for being so slow at replying! Definitely! Malta was actually one of the trips I ended up never doing thanks to the pandemic in 2020. I have always loved the images I came across from Malta and can't wait to visit one day!


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