Music is an integral part of my life and travels. Some days I go out the door with my earphones snugly pressed on my ears and I feel like I’m in a movie and my life’s soundtrack is playing in the background as I strut out to the sunshine. I bet I’m not the only one who feels this way.
But this post is not about music. It’s about my Brazilian friend Gustavo, who is the lead singer and guitarist of the Brazilian band, Não Contém Glúten (Contains No Gluten). I hosted him for a few days in Stockholm during what I fondly call the Ice Age. I even eventually helped plan his itinerary on his trip to my home country, the Philippines, which he enjoyed thoroughly.
He used to live and travel around in Europe so I decided to interview him because he is quite an interesting character as well. He talks about tips and tricks on how to make your backpacking trip in Europe more affordable, why less luggage is really the way to travel and playing football with Russians who didn’t speak any English.
Plus I’ve got a few bonus stuff for you at the end of the interview care of Gustavo and his band!
Meet Gustavo Tedesco, Brazilian rock star and then some
Gustavo is born in the south of Brazil, in a city called Florianópolis, where he is currently based. He really loves traveling which to him means meeting new people and seeing new places, having contact with different cultures and situations, feeling challenged, and further developing his self-knowledge. He has been to more than 40 countries so far. He is also passionate about music (listening or playing) and football (playing, specially).
DJ: How do you normally plan your Euro Trips? Do you have your own system? Any specific guidebooks or websites you use?
My favorite website is Wikitravel and I get most of the information I need from this source. Besides that, I’ll have to admit that I am a voracious traveler, so I am always interested in visiting, whatever the place is like, so I don’t really plan my trips that much.
DJ: Most of the readers who email me express that their #1 obstacle is money. Almost all of them think they can’t afford Europe. So how did you budget for your trip? How much did you spend daily on average?
That is somehow a complicated question… I didn’t have problems with money at all, since I really like walking and rarely spend a lot of money in one single day. If you’re young and full of energy, you can definitely find solutions or alternatives in order to save money. Most of the costs, in my opinion are a result of a “comfort wish“.
DJ: Any tips and tricks on how to make a Euro Trip affordable?
I say walking a lot, always checking deals for 1-day train ticket or 10-trip ticket before buying a single trip ticket, checking the best rates when exchanging money because you can lose a lot of money with this! Sometimes a credit card will be the best option. Plus, I’d say Couchsurfing is also a very effective way of saving money, too. (DJ: So true with exchanging money! And yes to Couchsurfing although I recommend this less and less these days because it is turning into something else.
DJ: What are the things you wish you knew before traveling to Europe?
I wish I knew more about history. I’ve always been interested in history, but once I’m in Europe I found so many things I didn’t know and this was something I regretted.
I also wish I had a better camera.
And lastly, less luggage. This is an endless problem for travelers. I bring almost nothing with me and in the end I realize it was still too much! (DJ: So true. I’m still trying to be a good packer though.)
DJ: What are your favorite European cities or destinations and what makes them your top choices?
I can’t make a ranking so I am going to mention 5 places in no particular order:
Belgrade – Pretty, crazy for football (I love this sport!), very cultural, organized, clean, with a lively nightlife and safe from the big “tourist crowd”.
Riga – Gracious, delightful, cute, also safe from the tourist crowd, nice music and people.
Budapest – GREAT city. Can’t find any words for it. Complete. Amazing. I could never get tired of Budapest. (DJ: Super loved this as well. Highly recommended!)
Stockholm – The Nordic pearl. Imposing and at the same time delicate. Very charming. (DJ: My favorite city!)
Moscow – Huge, full of history. Amazing luxury, stunning central areas and obscure, non tourist-friendly suburbs. Very challenging for the traveler, with a treasure for the ones who decipher it.
DJ: One amazing thing you’ve seen or done in Europe
Playing football (a match, with teams, not only passing the ball and smiling) with local people in Russia’s countryside without communicating (I couldn’t speak any Russian and they couldn’t understand any English!). What an unforgettable experience!!
DJ: If you have the chance to go back, what are your dream European destinations?
I’d try to go to places I haven’t been to yet such as Belarus, Iceland and the Caucasus (many countries to visit in there, I couldn’t choose one).
DJ: Give ONE advice to people who dream of going to Europe or those currently planning to go to Europe.
I’d say that there are various kinds of trip/traveler. If the person is looking for a comfortable relaxing trip, eating at good restaurants or having a honeymoon, it is clear to me that his itinerary, schedule, tours etc. will be completely different than the itinerary of someone who is looking for adventure or self knowledge should make. I think knowing what kind of trip you are looking for, what are your intentions and what kind of memories/souvenirs/achievements you want to bring back home from the trip is the first and most important step when planning your voyage.
As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this post, I have some bonus for you care of Gustavo and his band. Below are videos of my favorite songs from their latest album, GNU, and here is a link to that album. It’s absolutely FREE. So get a copy if you love listening to good foreign music in your travels ;P
And if you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it to your friends, Brazilian or not ;P