How Traveling Was Like 10 Years Ago

using a map

It’s not so long ago, but travelling was completely different in the years 2000. Whether you’ve been there or not, I’m sure you’ll laugh at the way we used to travel 10 years ago. How many of these situations did you also go through?

Technology has revolutionized the way we travel.

Nowadays we have thousands of websites and apps to help us in every step of our trips. From buying the cheapest flight, to choosing the best hotel and restaurant. Apps tell us the places to visit, and even the clothes to wear. It’s really unbelievable the amount of things we can get to know and organize even before leaving home.

We can now jump on $5-flights, be hosted by people we never met before and meticulously plan our itineraries to the last detail.

Maps, visa, cash
Maps, visa, cash… do you still take all of that?

Smartphones, tablets, and notebooks are obvious items in any trip. A place where the internet doesn’t work is unacceptable. Taking hundreds of photos per day is the norm and not sharing them with the whole world is weird.

We know beforehand the best place to stay, eat, drink, buy, play, and dance. It feels like it’s always been like this. But it really hasn’t. You don’t need to go too far back in time to have a completely different scenario.

Do you remember how it was like to travel 10 years ago?

Do you remember how it was like to travel without a smartphone? If not, let me refresh your mind!

Before Low-Cost

Low Cost
What was the cheapest flight you ever caught? Mine was €9,90…

First of all, we need an air ticket. 10 years ago I’d go to a travel agency and let my agent check a few options in his complex systems. I’d trust him, pay him a commission and buy the ticket. If I had any problem during my trip, I’d have to contact him to deal with it, but of course he’d be in a different timezone and I’d have to wait half a day to get things solved.

Sometimes I also did it myself. I’d search for flights online up to 1 year in advance. I’d find a pretty amazing deal. But then the connection would fail, and I’d just miss it! There were the last-minute tickets: companies wanted to fulfill the empty seats and would offer the last ones for a much cheaper price. Some people even went to the airports to buy them just a few hours prior to the flight. Do people still do it?

Nowadays we buy flights that cost less than $10. We can plan trips just a few hours in advance. There are uncountable apps that claim to find the best possible deal, sometimes with accommodation, rental cars and tours included. They compare hundreds of airlines and send us notifications when a good deal is found. Basically, we can search within seconds, buy within minutes and fly within hours.


Sleeping in the couch - CouchSurfing
Did you ever sleep in someone’s couch? I lost count of how many times I did it…

How was it before It’s even hard to remember! I’d get recommendations from people who had been there. Or I would buy travel guides and magazines, and get the latest hotel reviews. I had to call the place to book a bunk bed or in some cases it was already possible to book online. Many times, I just found a room once I got to my destination.

Nowadays, we book places from our smartphones. We can know everything about them beforehand. We read their pages, check their photos and have access to reviews from hundreds of other people who have stayed there.

Not to mention CouchSurfing and AirBnb (just to mention the main ones), which allow us to stay in people’s houses! People that we don’t know at all, but reading their profile and references gives us a vague idea that they might be trustworthy enough. I’ve found CourchSurfing hosts just hours before reaching some cities and in the end they turned into close friends.

Where to go

When you first get to a city, do you still go to the tourist information center?

Once at your destination, where to go? Back then, obviously to the hotel reception or the information center, to get some maps and professional advice about the place. I’d sit down and try to understand the map. With luck, it’d already show the main touristic attractions, so I’d circulate them and create my own walking tours and fit them into my days. I’d carry that map with me until the edges broke completely (because I’d fold them in a way that was logical for me, according to the part of the city I was visiting).

I’d search for advice with the local people and try to visit the off-the-beaten-track places. I got lost so many times! Once in Florence I decided to wander through some streets and got completely lost. It started to rain and got dark. I was soaked and started crying out of desperation. I was finally offered a ride by some policemen who happened to be patrolling the area and were compassionate enough to bring me back to the city center!

Today it’s so easy!  We can find out anything about any place, from anywhere, whenever we want.

Taking pictures

Analogic Camera
Did you ever run out of photographic film while traveling with an analogic camera? I certainly did…

Some places were so beautiful and photogenic! I’d get my analogic camera, find the best spot, best light, focus, click… damn it! Film is over! And I didn’t bring another one!

I’d have to find a supermarket or store and get a new one, with 12, 24 or 36 new photo opportunities. I got my first digital camera in 2006. A small 5mp Sony. Before that, all I had was a small analogic camera and I didn’t even think such a thing as a digital camera was possible!

When I read what I just wrote, it sounds like a century ago! Nowadays, I can take thousands of pictures per day on my iPhone and post them immediately on social media, where everyone can check where I am and what I’m up to.



I’d go back to the hostel and want to write my family and friends.

Cellphone and Pager
Was the little snake game a pastime time for you?

Maybe read some news or traveling tips about places to visit. Well, I’d have to wait in line to use one of the few computers in the hostel. Usually there were 3 or 4. Some places only had 1.

Internet was slow and each guest could only use it for half an hour. Still, I’d write kilometer-long emails to my parents, telling them all about my adventures. Unfortunately, I couldn’t send any pictures!

More modern places already offered Wifi, but it was only available in the reception, so everyone who had a phone with access to the Internet (I got my first one in 2009!!) would gather there to connect to their loved ones.

I still remember my first backpacking trip in Europe, back in 2009. Most places I stayed didn’t have Wifi, so I had to bring my book to the computer area and be patient, sometimes wait for more than one hour to be able to use one of the old, wrecked machines.

girl-with-smart-phoneAnd then I got to one place where they already had WiFi IN THE ROOMS! And I had a smartphone (it was primordial, with buttons, so not that smart at all). I still remember how happy I was to be able to connect and talk to everyone from my bed in a hostel! Unbelievable!

Nowadays and I can write and call them from anywhere! Whenever I go to a country where I stay longer than a week, I buy a local sim card with 3G data. Now I can check anything, about anywhere, anytime: what places to go, how to get, how much, the best time to visit and so much more!


International Calls

Public Phone Booth
Have you ever used a public phone booth to call your family back home?

I remember buying endless cards to make international calls. In 2004 I spent 2 months in the US. At the time I called my home country pretty much every day (excuse me, but I was only 15) with those cards. Each card had a long serial number (maybe 16 digits?) and I memorized all of them because I used it so often. We had to call a central place, listen to a recorded message, dial specific numbers according to the country we were trying to reach, and finally insert the numbers from the card. Each card had some minutes worth of calls and the price varied according to that.

Nowadays we have several apps to make video calls from anywhere to anywhere in the world. You can be at the top of the Eiffel Tour in France and call a friend who’s in the middle a jungle in Thailand. It’s just so easy and fast that we take it for granted.


Staying in Touch

When you travel you meet a lot of people from all over the world. How do you stay in touch?

Did you send postcards and letters while traveling?

When I used to travel 10 years ago I still didn’t have a Facebook account (I created mine 8 years ago). So my way to stay in touch with all those people was… per E-mail! Sounds so old school, I know. Postcards were also a great way to show people that you remember them (and that you’re traveling while they’re not). And in some rare cases, I’d still send letters. Yes, handwritten, pen and paper.

Today we “add” and “follow” each other within a matter of seconds. This, in turn, makes me have almost 2000 friends, many of whom I just met for one day. But if you’ve ever traveled alone, I’m sure you’ve been there. You find that person who’s going to the same place as you are, you spend some amazing hours together, you exchange contacts, add each other and promise they’ll have a guaranteed couch if they ever visit you. Most of the times, that never really happens. But sometimes it actually does!

When I went backpacking in Europe in 2009, I met several people and made many of those one-day-best-travelling-buddies. We stayed in touch and years later, I was hosted in Wellington, NZ, by a guy I met in Rome. I had lunch in Bangkok with a friend I made in Florence. And the list goes on and on.

And although some might say it’s useless keeping people in your list that you never talk to, I still think it’s worth it keeping most of those traveling friends. Who knows where the world will take us? If we had an awesome time shopping together in NYC, what prevents us from having a great time surfing in Bali?


Emergency phone
Did you ever have an emergency while traveling?

10 years ago, if I got lost in a city, the only way to find my way was using a (paper) map and asking people for directions. When I took a cab, I didn’t have any idea whether the driver was taking me in the right direction. I didn’t have much access to reviews and references of the places I stayed and if something happened, probably the best defense was to scream.

Today you guide yourself using GPS and multiple options of maps and routes. You can check if the driver is taking you in the right direction (something I did in rickshaws in India, for example). You can read hundreds of references about the places you stay, eat and visit. And if anything happens, there are also several ways of reporting an emergency. You can use your phone to call the local police or you can write people you know. There are apps where you can activate an emergency button to report peril.

So much technology, has it spoiled the way we travel?

travel 10 years ago
Sometimes technology will let you down…

Some people might say so much technology may have taken the mystery and the awe of traveling. But I think traveling itself is always going to be a surprising thing. And if it’s not because it rained and the map broke into pieces, it’ll be because the connection failed or you lost your phone.


I think travels will keep on presenting us with unexpected events and unpredictable challenges. For me, traveling is a way of staying alive and alert. It’s a way of seeing new things with new eyes. It’s a way of challenging yourself, getting amused, excited, and feeling alive! And no matter the amount of information you can get previously from such apps, the experience of travelling and exploring new places will never be spoiled. You can know everything about a place, but being there and experiencing it is a whole new thing. Traveling always makes my eyes shine and my heart beat faster with excitement, regardless of how much technology is involved.


During my amazing trips, I had the most revealing insights in my life, and realized what I love doing the most. I wrote a book about finding love, happiness, self-knowledge and empowerment. You can read more about it here:

Follow my Instagram for pictures of the current places I’m exploring:

Click on the Instagram item on the sidebar or search for @worldbyterra

Thanks for liking, commenting and sharing!


Sukhothai: the Kingdom of the Rising Happiness

Sukhothai ruins

The first Thai Kingdom

The ancient city of Sukhothai is home to some of the most impressive temple ruins in Thailand. Located 400 km north of Bangkok, Sukhothai was the first capital of the Siam Kingdom. It marked the golden age of Thai civilization, back in the 13th century. Established around the year 1238 by the King Ramkhamhaeng, Sukhothai literally means “the rising happiness”.

sukhothai ruins
The breathtaking ruins of the Kingdom of the Rising Happiness

A UNESCO World Heritage

Likewise Ayutthaya, ancient Sukhothai became a National Historical Park, with numerous sites of historical interest. Its ruins and monuments are particularly remarkable and the province was designated a UNESCO World Heritage.

buddha images in Sukhothai
Hundreds of Buddha images spread in the Sukhothai National Historical Park

Reaching and visiting the Sukhothai National Historical Park

The National Historical Park lies 12km from the center. The best way to reach it from the new part of the city is by tuk-tuk. Once there, you can rent bikes to better explore the ruins (the site covers an area of 70 km). Another possibility is to hire a guide and explore the area by tuk-tuk.

You can rent bikes at the shops opposite to the entrance of the Historical Park. It is also possible to explore the park on foot, but you probably wouldn’t be able to see as much.

tuk-tuk Old Sukhothai
Tuk-tuk with which you can explore Old Sukhothai
tuk-tuk to Old Sukhothai
This is the tuk-tuk I took from New Sukhothai to the National Historical Park

Sukhothai National Historical Park

The park has 5 geographical zones, each of which has its entry fee (100 Baht in 2015). You can get free maps to visit the places at the ticket offices.

The Park includes the remains of 21 historical sites within the old walls. You can find an additional of 70 other sites within a 5km radius. The central zone is the main one and contains 11 temple ruins, amongst lakes, small islands, bridges and moats. It was an amazing experience to bike through the highly preserved temples and fascinating landscapes while imagining the Kings who dwelled there some 800 years ago.

temple in sukhothai
One of the most photogenic places I’ve been!

One of the most spectacular temples is Wat Mahathat, with a large Buddha sitting amongst huge pillars. The temple also has a central chedi flanked by two standing Buddha figures. The north zone is also definitely worth a visit, with remains of temples, buildings and gigantic Buddha images.

Because there are so many different temples in the area, it’s not worth mentioning and recommending each separately. For me, the best way to experience the area is to rent a bike and allow yourself to get lost exploring the seemingly endless extension of gardens, columns, Buddha figures, lakes and towers.

chedi in Sukhothai
One of hundreds of chedis in Old Sukhothai – each one singularly amazing!

New Sukhothai

New Sukhothai is not a particularly interesting town per se, but it’s a pleasant base from which to explore the National Park. With a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the town offers excellent-value accommodation and good transport links. I stayed in an awesome little guesthouse, in a large private room with bathroom and double bed and breakfast included for U$ 13!

ruins of Sukhothai
Alluring and preserved, the ruins of Sukhothai are a must-see

Getting there and around

You can reach Sukhothai by train and bus. The trip takes around 7 hours from Bangkok and 4 hours from Chiang Mai.

When I arrived from Ayutthaya, I got really angry at the tuk-tuk drivers in the bus station. They were offering rides 5 times more expensive than what they should cost! Be aware, it is always good to know more or less how much a trip would cost, to avoid being so easily fooled! (Unfortunately I don’t have that information anymore, but I had checked on my guide and they were really overcharging).

pilars in sukhothai
A thousand pillars will make you feel small in Sukhothai

Ayutthaya or Sukhothai?

Can’t decide between Ayutthaya and Sukhothai? The same doubt tormented me and in the end decided to visit both in 4 days. If you have the time, I’d definitely recommend doing it, as they are different places. Even though Ayutthaya has a more interesting historical narrative, Sukhothai’s ancient city is better preserved and architecturally more alluring. If you have the time, visit both!

Buddha figure Sukhothai
Giant Buddhas everywhere


During this amazing trip, I had the most revealing insights in my life, and realized what I love doing the most. I wrote a book about finding love, happiness, self-knowledge and empowerment. You can read more about it here:

Follow my Instagram for pictures of the current places I’m exploring:

Click on the Instagram item on the sidebar or search for @worldbyterra

Thanks for liking, commenting and sharing!

Breaking Up, Breaking Down, Breaking Free

Breaking Free

Breaking Free

August 10, 2015. Two years ago today I was leaving for the greatest adventure of my life. That day marked my breaking free from abuse and heavy-heartedness into a meaningful, joyful, wholehearted life!

It was a beautiful winter day and my mom and dad brought me to the Sao Paulo International Airport. I remember my mom crying and saying she was worried. I asked ‘why’, since this was not the first time I was leaving.

She said, “yes, but this time you’re traveling much further, you’re going to India alone! And I don’t even know if you’re really coming back in 4 months like you say”.

She was right. It was the furthest, craziest adventure I had ever been on and as a matter of fact, I didn’t come back after 4 months. Actually, it’s been two years and I’m still on the road.

But when I left on the 10th of August 2015, my plan was to travel around New Zealand, go to a meditation event in Australia, visit Thailand, and realize my biggest dream of traveling around and studying Yoga in India!

I knew 4 months was too short for traveling to so many places, but it was what my budget allowed me to do.

Honestly, I just wanted to leave, explore, and experience something new. I needed a break from what I had lived and who I had been. In fact, I wanted to find out who I truly was and who I wanted to be.

Because I suddenly found myself completely lost.

Exuberant nature and the friendliest people: New Zealand is absolutely astonishing! It was the best choice for the first stop of my journey!

Breaking Down

I think most of the big adventures people go on start as an attempt to escape from some uncomfortable, painful situation. Fair enough, I can’t think of a better remedy than traveling!

In my case, I was facing a break-up from a long-term, turbulent relationship. And I suddenly found myself single, unemployed and with no future plans. F**king scary.

But it was also the best opportunity to go on this big expedition and visit those places that had always been on my bucket list (and that sometimes I thought I wouldn’t have the chance to visit, because I was so stuck in my relationship).

It was a really hard breakup process. I remember really harsh things being said to me. With my heart torn into pieces, I felt weak, humiliated, furious, sad and lonely. I cried a lot, for days.

3 weeks in Australia was definitely too short, but the best remedy for a broken heart: astounding views, inspiring events and amazing people!

Breaking Up

One day I decided to leave. And after I took that decision, I just felt like I was being guided by some external force, much stronger than me. It wasn’t hard to grab the few most important things that could fit in one bag. I felt this overwhelming force inside of me almost dragging me out of that place.

I felt like the Universe had heard my call and was telling me, “keep calm and follow your heart. It will take you in the right direction. I have your back. Now go, gorgeous! Your best life is about to begin!”

I went to the front gate and took no key with me. The door banged behind me and I knew I was never coming back.

Two months later I was hopping on a plane to Auckland, New Zealand, the first stop of my big adventure.

When I hopped on that plane, I felt completely empty. But I trusted that this trip would fulfill that emptiness with memorable experiences like never before. I believed with all my heart it would be an amazing, healing, and empowering process. So I was not afraid.

In Thailand I felt strong, beautiful and in control of my life. It was also in Thailand that I fell in love.

Breaking Away

I went to New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, India, then back to Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, I never came back from that trip.

I went back to my parents house to visit them for a couple of months, with my partner, that I met during my travels. We visited family and friends, traveled around a bit and left again for our next adventures around the world. Back to New Zealand, then to Spain, and now we live in Germany.

This journey changed my life completely. It brought me uncountable blessings in the form of inspiring ideas, strength and love. It gave a chance to start again.

On the road I found out who Ana Terra was and I fell in love with her for the first time.

Taj Mahal India
By the time I got to India, I was a different person. I had fallen in love with life again!