“I slept in my car, we just got up …” This is how Nazarena from Barcelona lives these days, it’s been four months now. The 23 year old language student is on a trip through Europe, exploring France, Germany, Luxemburg. In her car, that she bought a couple of months ago, accompanied by no one but her two dogs, Azul and Bella, mixed breeds.
Sidney and I walk into the young woman right in front of our home in the old town of Lecce on a grey winter day. What strikes first is her dog’s electric blue (“Azul”) Husky eye and its decent gentleman manners.
While we are guiding them to Piazza Duomo we talk about this and that, how nice people were when they met the odd threesome, especially the Italians. And how Nazarena had made many friends along the way, not only but also thanks to her dogs.
Arrived at our destination Nazarena takes “family pictures”. Not the usual “influencer” kind but candid photos, taken by a courageous young traveller who wants to see the world. And as you’re reading this, the 3 of them are already on their way up to San Marino. New town, new people, new adventures…
Tell us about yourself!
“I was born in Uruguay, but when I was five years old my mother moved to Barcelona so I grew up there. I graduated in English and Spanish studies with mention in German and I’m a teacher of Taekwondo and referee in Spanish Competitions. I love animals, dancing, singing, TV series, I do sports and love spending time with my friends and the people I like. The reason why I left Barcelona in the first place was that my mother died a few months ago. I was devastated but also realized that life is short and that you need to do what you want with who you love. That’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day. So last june I finished my degree, didn’t feel like studying any more and like working not yet. The only thing I could think of was to go travel. Maybe because I was looking for something? Mostly because I felt it would make me happy.”
You’re travelling Europe all by yourself. Don’t you get lonely sometimes?
I don’t, well, very rarely, my dogs are my family, they’re the most important part of my life. I could never have left them to go travelling on my own. So, the car is perfect for travelling together. This is our time, just the three of us. We love to arrive on some beach, where the dogs instantly start to play. Or we climb mountains where they enjoy running wild and free. I can tell they’re happy, so I am happy too. As soon as I leave them in the room, e.g. to walk on my own, run errands or whatever, I feel alone. That may sound strange but that’s what it is.
Never scared of anything?
Well I was a bit worried regarding the car, that I had just gotten a couple of months ago, same for my driver’s licence. A whole new life for me! There were mountains to climb, snowy roads to go on, chains that needed to be attached on icy roads. Also the fact that I sleep in the car most of the time which I had never done before in my entire life…
Of course you think about what could happen. But it turned out to be fairly safe – if you check where to park the car and go to sleep.
Then I was afraid of missing my home. Which I do! Sitting on my sofa, watching TV. But it turns out that the ones I miss most are my friends and my family. Every not and then I have visitors over, others keep in touch via videocall. Those things help against the worst homesickness.
What did friends and family think about your plan?
They tried to talk me out of it, at least some of them. Until the very day of my departure I heard things like: Are you sure? Is that what you want to do? Don’t you think you’ll be homesick? Won’t it be dangerous? At the end I stopped listening. Gave a big f*** and left anyways.
Your dogs Azul and Bella: How did they take it?
Well, I was worried it could disturb them too much, that they would be uncomfortable in the end. That would have ruined everything. They knew the car, but had never tried it for more than a couple of hours. Their life used to be basically on the bed or on the sofa, sleeping, eating, doing nothing all day. I think they’re enjoying it though, you can never be sure but I feel they’re happy to be with me 24 hours a day. Due to our schedule they have to walk a lot but they get a lot to see in exchange. They eat different things every day but we eat in the most magnificent places, on the green in front of the Eiffel tower or on a Vaporetto in Venice. What else can they expect?
Who of the two do you like better?
Azul is MY dog. He comes every time I call, follows me everywhere, obeys in everything, he accepts a no without any problems. I think he’s really smart! Bella on the other hand is really independent which can be annoying. We cuddle or play only when SHE wants. She pretends not to hear when I call her, stuff like that. Azul on the other hand is so needy for attention that sometimes it gets too much even for me. So when I’m tired what I do is let my arm fall to the floor, so he can cuddle himself …
If they were humans: Who do you think would they be?
Bella would be my daughter. She is little Nazarena, behaves exactly like me. Azul would be my husband, because when we go to sleep he puts his face on the pillow next to mine, this way he looks at me and we fall asleep, every night.
What are your plans for the future?
If money wasn’t a problem I’d continue to travel and live with my dogs “on the road” forever! It’s such an incredible period in my life. But unfortunately I feel that some day it’ll come to an end. I don’t want to think about it just yet. But actually money flies, especially when you’re travelling. Everything, literally everything costs money! And I’m not rich. But that’s something else I learned: You have to know how to use your money. In other circumstances I might not have been able to do what I’m doing now but I did it and it seems the right decision.
That’s your favourite aspect of life these days?
Meeting new people! Those who are hosting me, those who I meet on the road or on the streets, walking the dogs. Incredible who you run into! I won at least three or four real friends, new friends. Which to me seems a lot!
PS: If you’d like to follow their ways, follow @_bella_azul_ @tkd_nzrnn on Instagram