Name: Marisa Rama (@marisa) Number of Countries on her profile: 27 Follow her to: Brazil, Iran, Tanzania, the United States or Vietnam! Particularities: Marisa, AKA the ultimate traveller and Live2Leave super user. Marisa is the person who embodies what Live2Leave is all about: with her home on her back, she feels home everywhere she goes. Because she has truly lived everywhere. Born in Uruguay and raised between Washington DC, Paris and Hanoi, she speaks French in the morning and Spanish in the afternoon with her family, while speaking Portuguese with her boyfriend, and English with everyone else.
Tell us a few things about you
“Currently I am back to being a student! I’m living in glorious Cambridge, Massachusetts studying to get a master’s in public administration and international development at the Kennedy School of government.”
When did you catch the travel bug?
“I love travelling! I’d say I inherited the travel bug from my parents – my family quite literally wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the airplane. Growing up we moved around quite a lot (from Uruguay, to the US, to France and finally to Vietnam) and I was very lucky each time to be able to explore the region where we were. Once it came to making my own decision, this nomadism stuck. Today I get restless if I’m in any place for too long.”
When travelling, what are the top 3 things in your suitcase that you never leave home without?
“I wish I had a nifty answer to this question but my suitcase is generally packed last minute and more often than not I forget pretty essential stuff. I find that as long as you have underwear and a toothbrush the rest can be figured out upon arrival.”
Hanoi or Bangkok?
“Hanoi!!!! I grew up there and (very objectively) think its one of the most amazing places in the world. Hanoi has a unique charm. Despite being chaotic in many ways it has a traditional side that has been lost in many other Asian cities. I love its lakes and how much life takes place on the street. Vietnamese people are the nicest and the food is amazing. Honestly, it’s the best – what’s not to love?”
If you had a year to travel the world, where would you start?
“My travel has been concentrated in the regions where I’ve lived (North and South America, Europe and East Asia) so I’m missing some pretty big and important parts of the world. I would probably start in Africa, work my way to the Middle East and then to Central and South Asia.”
Waterfall Buracão in Bahia, Brazil
“The Buracão is an 80m waterfall in a canyon on the south end of the park of the Chapada Diamantina and is absolutely gorgeous. Great day activity, involving a bit of hiking and swimming.”
Loyal Nina in Cambridge, United States
“You wouldn’t guess it from its looks but Loyal Nine is some of the best food in cambridge. Tasty restaurant serving creative plates based on local ingredients with a strong penchant for seafood. The set dinner is great but come hungry because there is a lot of food.”
What is the best experience you’ve had while on holiday that you’ll never forget?
“This is an impossible question to answer! Its cliché but every trip is its own adventure. I think I was particularly lucky to live in South East Asia before it got quite so touristy. I got to go to Angkor, Ubud and Bagan in the early 2000s when there were very few tourists, which was very special.”
What was your biggest travel fail?
“I have too many travel fails to count! I’m very laid back about travelling (probably too much so), which means that often things don’t go as planned. I’d say biking through the “Valle de la Muerte” (death valley) in Chile at mid-day without water was probably not the best idea. Getting stuck on a Bolivian bus in the middle of the Altiplano for close to 40 hours also wasn’t great. Running out of money in Iran (where visa and mastercard don’t operate) was pretty tricky. Like I said, too many to count – but that’s half the fun!”
How do you plan your trips? Months in advance or last minute?
“From my last answer you can probably gather that I’m not that organized. I tend to have the idea months in advance, do a fair bit of research but commit to plans last minute.”
Have you already followed a Live2Leave recommendation, inspiration? If so, was it a positive experience?
“I’m a huge fan of Live2Leave. It has been amazing on so many of my trips! I’ve also used it to find places both when I travel and in the city where I live that I didn’t know about. I was recently in Japan and used it a bunch.”
What has been your favourite souvenir (gift) that you’ve brought home with you after a trip?
“I love bringing back things for my house, in particular plates bowls etc. I brought back a vintage yukata (spring kimono) from my recent trip to Japan that I’m in love with. I haven’t used it outside of my house but I wear it at home and feel fabulous (if slightly silly).”
Have you ever travelled alone? If so what’s the best thing about it?
“I traveled to India alone for a few months, it was a great experience. For me the best part was that I met different people along the way and ended up having several very different trips within a trip. I think travelling alone allowed me to have a more varied experience than I would have had travelling in a group.”
In your view, what are some of the undiscovered/under talked about places that people should visit?
“I went to Iran last year and that was an absolutely amazing experience. My father worked in Iran in the 90s and I spent my childhood hearing about the beauty of Isfahan, so it had always been a dream of mine to go. My boyfriend organized the trip as a surprise and it was just incredible. I think most people have a distorted idea of the country. It’s a fascinating place and Iranians are the kindest, most welcoming people. I highly highly recommend going.”
What is your favourite travel literature?
“I’d be lying if I said I had favourite travel literature. I love to read but I find that I never manage to match my reading to my travels. The only time I’ve actually done that was when I spent a few months in India. Longer trip + English bookstores + travelling alone really helped though.”
What is your secret to cope with jet-lag?
“I’m lucky in that sleeping is never a problem for me. I think the secret is to sleep on planes and try and stick to whatever timezone you are in.”