The Girls Behind Off-Track Backpacking
Their story all began during the summer of 2005. While Nara was backpacking solo after almost a year of working in Dublin (Ireland), Tanya was traveling with her friend after spending a semester abroad in Torino (Italy).
They write at Off-Track Backpacking a blog dedicated to travel, adventure and fun! Women Travel caught up with them and asked them more…
Where and how did you meet?
We met randomly at a hostel in Lisbon, Portugal in 2005. Nara was backpacking solo and approached Tanya by asking her a random question. The rest was history!
What’s your best travel memory together?
Unfortunately, we haven’t backpacked together since 2005 but we commute Montreal-Toronto quite often to hang out. We’d have to say that our best travel memory is the day we spent in Sintra, Portugal. We wanted to visit the famous castle in Sintra but we got lost in the dark tunnels of the castle instead. After finding our way back to civilization, we headed to Cascais and spent the rest of the afternoon at the beach. It was really fun!
What’s your favorite city?
Tanya – It’s a difficult question to answer! Every city has its own charm. I’d have to say Rio and Barcelona. I’m cheating I know, but I couldn’t just pick one!
Nara – This is the hardest question by far, only because each city is so different in there own unique way. Yet, the city I enjoyed myself the most was Lisbon.
Rosemary comments: I agree, after travelling people often ask what was the best place. I find it impossible to compare the incomparable. Each place has its own colour and energy and as a traveller, we enter into that and get changed by it. Otherwise the only answer to this question is probably the place we feel most ‘at home in’, in case it is unlikely we were not changed by it all!
What’s your favorite hostel?
Tanya – I’d have to say Cat’s Hostel in Madrid. The interior is very Moorish looking and we had a great time in the hostel. But, Los Cormoranes hostel in Ushuaia (Argentina) had heated floors which was perfect for letting my hiking clothes dry overnight! It was a great added perk.
Nara – The International hostel in Palermo, Sicily – Italy! Amazing beachfront view.
What city would you like to live in?
Tanya – Definitely Buenos Aires, Argentina. I love the European vibe the city has.
Nara – Same has Tanya. Loved Buenos Aires!
Where is your next trip?
Tanya – Heading to Tanzania this winter to hike Kilimanjaro! I’ll be doing a 7-day hike, 5-day safari and then spending my 4 last days in Zanzibar. I’m really excited!
Nara – The plan is to head to Japan for next April! I need to see the city!
What was your scariest moment on the road?
Tanya – A taxi ride from Hanoi Airport into the city. We didn’t hop in an official taxi (big no no) and the two men were really weird. I didn’t think I was going to make it to the hotel alive.
Nara – Having my passport taken away from me on a train in Europe and not understanding what the conductor was saying regarding it. Didn’t see my passport for over 12 hours. I was a little nervous.
What challenges did you face as female backpackers?
Tanya – My biggest challenge would be when I went to Morocco. I was constantly being harassed, to the point that we had to hire a guide.
Nara – Had a very similar experience as Tanya, but just different times. Morocco is by far the hardest country I have experienced to backpack in as a solo female traveler.
Read more of Tanya and Nara’s travels at Off-Track Backpacking their blog dedicated to travel, adventure and fun!