The Wanderer Collective: An Interview with Vienda Maria
Welcome to the first edition of The Wanderer Collective, a new spotlight series of candid interviews with some of the blogosphere's raddest and most fearless travellers.
The peeps you will meet in the coming months are all exceptional writers who have been bitten by the travel bug. Hard.
They are all fiercely independent adventure-seeking individuals who brighten the world [and my web feed] with their witty and wise words.
They are the rebels, the renegades; the seekers, the explorers. They don't just walk the path less travelled - they tear that shit up and pave it their own way.
Bold. Truthful. Daring. And fucking brilliant, to boot.
They are The Wanderer Collective.
Our first inductee to The Wanderer Collective is a woman who has the gypsy lifestyle absolutely nailed. She has successfully created a life where she can travel and work simultaneously, and she openly shares this knowledge with fellow creatives. She is fiercely independent, deliciously down to earth, and one of the most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.
In short, she is the embodiment of The Wanderer Collective. Authentically. Honestly. Completely.
This is Vienda Maria.
Righto, let's get this party started! Tell us what you're all about, sunshine.
I am a lifestyle coach, writer and creative who lives an unconventional lifestyle called 'gypset': a bohemian, semi-nomadic type of life that is both soulfully as well as financially fulfilling.
I help others create the same for themselves. I tend to work specifically with professional and corporate women, who are ready to step out of the rat-race and sink back into their own truth, their feminine and discover their own brand of freedom in their lives.
Every few months I release a unique set of mentoring programs, with the next set coming out in January 2015. One is on Instant Manifestation and the other on Gypset Biz + Blogging, for those who are creating location independent businesses and want some guidance along the way.
Alongside that, I take on a limited number of coaching clients for personalised 3 or 6 month, 1 to 1 coaching programs.
We wanderers have a never-ending supply of interesting stories to tell. What's the most memorable travel experience that springs to your mind?
Again, there are so many of them! Travelling is filled with a multitude of magic and miracles and I love the way that life surprises and supports you every step of the way.
Certainly, a more recent one that stands out was when I was crossing over the border into Honduras, and I'd left a little late and ended up on the last bus of the day, which just happened to be filled to the brim with 40+ deportees that had just been released from jail in Mexico. The testosterone in the air was ripe, and to say that I was slightly terrified is an understatement. The only women on the bus were a local Honduran woman who got off quite early, my friend Lily and I.
Being a resourceful little gypsetter, I did what I know best: find a protector. So I picked out the kindest and biggest looking of the lot and befriended him. Luckily, the instinct with latin men is to protect their women, and after half an hour of my best Spanish sweet-talk, he offered to escort us to our destination in the midst of all these jail-birds. It all ended up fine with him sleeping outside our hotel door in an effort to maintain his protector role!
Moral of that story: don't cross a border late in the day. It's dangerous.
What's one thing you won't board a plane without?
My journal, a good book, my iPad so I can capture mid-flight inspiration, my cashmere shawl-come-blanket in case the aircon is turned up too high, my travel pillow, and some melatonin to make sure I get my body-clock set right upon landing.
I also always carry my favourite Yes To Cucumbers natural face wipes, reshape oil to keep my skin hydrated and a large bottle of spring water, usually purchased before boarding because I have a fear of dehydrating.
Mark Jenkins got it right when he said...
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you, yourself, are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
This one time, when travelling, I woke up in…
This is such a beautiful place that feels like you've somehow gone back in time. The overgrown cacti, armadillos slowly crossing the desert roads, the locals; half of them native American - half Mexican, scattered around in small stalls selling fresh fruits laid over ice in the steaming hot sun, and woven hats made by their grandmothers and stories of rattlesnakes and potions and rumours from nearby states.
It was magical and I felt like I was in a dream the entire time.
We've all crossed some pretty cool shit off our travel bucket lists. What's your top 3 items of places yet to go?
1 // Namibia. I never was really drawn to Africa below the north of the continent, but last year I met a beautiful soul - a definite sister of mine - who grew up in Namibia and shared with me the wildest tales of lions and rhinos and elephants in the wild; living with tribes for weeks on end and drinking goats milk and fresh blood for breakfast. There's a part of me that just wants to see and experience this world that is far from the one that I know. Mystery and magic are such distinctive pulls!
2 // New York. It's so funny to me that I have spent as much time in the States as I have and have never been to this glorious city. It's certainly a MUST DO and I can't wait for this one to call me and bring me to its bosom of eccentricities and sleepless lights.
3 // Maldives. Ever since I discovered that there's more to the Maldives than ridiculously priced resorts with opulent everything, that there are actually real people with their own customs and culture there, I've been very interested in going. I'm so curious what life is like there for the locals amidst all those glorious turquoise blue seas!
Instagram or Twitter? Oh, Instagram ALL the way! Most definitely. Je adore!
Hotel or hostel? Oh hotel, definitely a million times! I refuse to do hostels and backpackers and all that jazz. Nope, no way, not on my watch. I don't backpack and I don't do backpacker shit. I'm a traveller. That means hotel rooms, friends of friends, and impromptu palaces and families all the way for me.
Best travel tune on your iPod? My music tastes are constantly changing and evolving, but I do have a current favourite playlist that I like to listen to when I am travelling which I especially compiled and can share with you right here!
I’ve got 71 stamps on my passport, but I left my heart in...my constant state of wanderlust. You know, I've never actually counted how many stamps I have in my passport until you asked me to - it was quite a fun and astonishing exercise. But regarding a favourite place where I might have left my heart…? There are too many! I think I leave a little piece of my heart wherever I go, with the people who I fall in love with along the way.
Next on my travel itinerary? Byron Bay via Woodford Folk Festival.
A final question before we leave you: If you could give one piece of advice to first-time wanderers, what would it be?
Always follow your heart, and don't listen to your head. Keep doing that and the most beautiful experiences and adventures, beyond your wildest dreams and imaginations, will come and find you.
Vienda Maria is a lifestyle coach, author and creative who helps Bon Vivants: coaches, yogis, creatives and entrepreneurs create thriving semi-nomadic, unconventional lives that are fulfilling both soulfully and financially.
Through her coaching, events, books, #10WeeksofFree mentoring program, Gypset Mindset Class course and online community, Vienda has inspired and transformed the lives of thousands across the globe.
"My mission is simple: to guide each and every one of you back to who you really are. To come home, back to your soul and allowing it to guide your destiny. For more love. More fun. More freedom. More adventure. More life."