Cristina Balari and Fernando Felix of Brazil have been using the sharing economy to travel the world for the past few years. But this hasn’t always been the case for this nomadic couple.
It all started in 2014 in the middle of a conversation at breakfast. Cristina and Fernando were talking about work, as every couple typically does. But this conversation was different. There was talks of philosophy and the meaning of life — all of which awoken the couple from their routine lives.
“At one point, we realized we were in a constant cycle: Working to pay for our need to accumulate, which always demanded more work and accumulation,” explains Fernando. “We found that we needed very little to live well and be happy. We decided to change. Get out and go around the world. Experience other cultures. We took a sabbatical, which ultimately ended up becoming a way of living around the world.”
It was then that the couple decided to set up the Arte de partir project and travel the world by using the sharing economy. Besides BlaBlaCar, they also used accommodation website AirBnB, hosting exchange platform Workaway, and a site that lets you take pet doggies in exchange for hosting called Trustedhousesitters.
Here’s what Cristina and Fernando had to say about their experiences travelling around the world:
Fernando: Every day is Valentine’s Day
In the Northern Hemisphere, they commemorate Valentine’s Day on February 14. In other countries, there are variations. In Brazil, we celebrate on June 12. We are about to celebrate our fourth Valentine’s Day since we started our journey. But actually, after having spent so many days travelling — spending 24 hours a day together — overcoming challenges, experiencing the ups and downs, we can say that every day is Valentine’s Day.
Sleeping in a cabin in the woods on Vashon Island or in a forest reserve in Florianopolis. Watching the sun rise and set on a boat crossing the Atlantic. Getting lost in the streets of Rome. Exploring the Croatian islands. These are romantic experiences we will never forget.
Cristina: The best thing about BlaBlaCar are the stories
While on the road in Europe, we used BlaBlaCar in several countries — and the experience was always above our expectations. We met all types of people: a police driver, a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist, a journalist, a diving specialist, a tattoo artist, an engineer, and a trader. We heard enchanting stories and had a lot of interesting conversations. Milan, Barcelona, Valencia, Paris, Bourges, Porto — you can change the cities, the landscape, the weather but the quality of the experience remains the same.
Fernando: About the sharing economy
Our main goal is to understand the motivation of people. What leads them to devote themselves passionately to certain causes? Why do they want to help people with health problems? How can we collaborate with each other around the globe? We have more questions than answers, but the greatest legacy we can leave are our life experiences. We are happy when we can motivate others to discover their own ways. We share our history and, therefore, inspire the stories of others.