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Who Are the Backpackers

Tanya’s Story

My first experience in a hostel was in 1999 while traveling with my parents in Europe as a teenager. We were staying at a beautiful, country-looking hostel in Gimmewald, Switzerland, talking to young random travelers who had interesting stories when I thought to myself: “One day, I want to do whatever they are doing”.

“One day, I want to do whatever they are doing”

CuatroCienegas, Coahuila

An opportunity to study abroad rose while I was looking at a pamphlet during my orientation session in University. After going through a long application process, the next thing I knew, I was packing my bags and saying my goodbyes to friends and family for the first time to depart into the unknown. I didn’t know what to expect from the experience and yes, I had butterflies in my stomach but my boldness got me through the intial terrifying phase of leaving Montreal for a 7 month period. Living in Italy and traveling across Europe was an eye-opening experience and molded me into who I am today. After traveling to 15 countries in 6 months, I realized that it wasn’t enough and wanted more… and so, I applied to go study abroad a second time! Four months after returning home with memorable European experiences, I was packing my bags yet again, to spend 5 months in Mexico. This is where I realized that my love for travel was officially engraved in me.  This being said, it wasn’t just any type of travel… if the travel isn’t adventurous enough, it ain’t good enough for me! I am a backpacker!

With a degree in Business, a career that started off on the right foot and a comfortable life in Montreal, life is great or then again, it should be great! Yet, the whole 9-to-5 office type of work is far from being adventurous and travel is limited to only a few weeks per year instead of months at a time. This is where the idea of starting a blog dedicated to the main factor that defines who I am today was born… Off-Track Backpacking!

Nara’s Story

My first leap of excitement and curiosity of traveling, craved an itch in the bottom of my stomach was when I was 12 years old. I stepped onto a bus to head to Michigan State by myself, with a backpack! From that moment on, I knew that backpacking the world was my lifetime aspiration.

Nara in Lisbon, Portugal

The day I graduated from high school in 2004, I grabbed my backpack, kissed parents, friends, and reality a goodbye and headed off to Europe for a year. I was eager to explore new cultures, traditions, and connect with my passion for traveling. Yet, from the beginning of my trip I felt a sudden feeling of panic and fear that overwhelmed me. From that moment I knew I made a decision that empowered me to strive for what I truly love. Within that year I lived/worked in Dublin, Ireland for 3 months and traveled the remaining 9 months to 17 European Countries. Following that year of traveling I developed a larger obsession for backpacking, which is why I made a promise to myself that every year I would go on a backpacking adventure. Afterwards, I continued to travel between my university years of studying Advertising and my 9 to 5 job now in Toronto, Canada.

How We Met

Our paths crossed while we were both backpacking through Europe in 2005. While Tanya was traveling with her roommate from Torino, Melissa, Nara was a solo backpacker. We instantly connected while randomly having breakfast in a hostel in Lisbon, Portugal. After being alone for about 3 days, Nara was desperately looking for someone to talk to and her effort in approaching Tanya and Melissa paid off!  The 3 days we spent together in Lisbon (Belem, Cascais, Estoril, Sintra) was the beginning of a now, almost 5 year friendship. It’s impressive how spending 3 days with someone can lead to such a strong friendship.

Off-Track Adventures was born due to the joint efforts of the both of us to share our passion. The purpose of this blog is for us to share our experiences with the world but most importantly with YOU. Combined, we traveled to over 40 countries and choosing not to share those experiences with anyone would be unfortunate. So buckle up your seat belt and enjoy the ride because it’s going to be a bumpy one!

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. Sophia permalink
    11/29/2009 12:05 pm

    This is gonna be great! We’v already shared some travel experiences together, and now you can share them with everyone else 🙂 Where to next?!

  2. Angelo permalink
    11/29/2009 4:57 pm

    Your blog is great and it will help others to get that spark to start their backpacking experience.

  3. Melissa permalink
    11/29/2009 5:37 pm

    So proud of you guys!! you gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes!!! Travel….just the word should get anyone moving! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your stories! I love it!! (and p.s. I’m honored that you launched your site on my bday! lol)
    xoxoxo

  4. Justin permalink
    11/30/2009 4:37 pm

    We both went to elementary school together and I still haven’t even left Ontario yet! Good on you Nara, and great site! This’ll be my kick in butt to get travelling, hehe. =D

  5. Nicole B permalink
    11/30/2009 4:41 pm

    Awesome Nara! This makes me want to travel honestly! Way to go! I was in Europe in 2004 as well – mostly just London, Dublin and Paris though in July/August and looooved it! Maybe we crossed paths – who knows lol

  6. Laura permalink
    11/30/2009 10:38 pm

    Tanya!! This is so great!
    I’ve always said you’ve done amazing things and you’ve never proved me wrong!I know your trip to Brazil is going to be incredible and I can’t wait to read all about it!
    Love you! xoxo

  7. Jamie permalink
    12/10/2009 12:48 pm

    I can’t even tell you ladies how lucky and amazing you are. Never meeting you Tanya But your amazing, as amazing as Nara, Wish you both all the best and take me back packing already!
    Jb

    • 12/10/2009 12:50 pm

      Thanks Jamie! I’m sure if you’re friends with Nara, you’re also amazing! 🙂
      Did you join our page on fb? You should! It will allow you to share your travel experiences with others! 🙂

  8. 12/10/2009 11:29 pm

    So glad Trishie pointed me to your site. Great service posts and I look forward to hearing about Brasil! Travel safe and enjoy. – Jodi

  9. 12/15/2009 11:26 am

    que legal!! love this blog, fresh and funky. Will be following with interest. Lap up the goodness that is Rio, in fact get down to Lappa for a real street paaarty!!
    D.
    http://www.whatsabackpacker.blogpost.com

  10. 12/15/2009 11:27 am

    que legal!! love this blog, fresh and funky. Will be following with interest. Lap up the goodness that is Rio, in fact get down to Lappa for a real street paaarty!!
    Denis

  11. Najma permalink
    01/02/2010 1:54 am

    Hey!! I just have to say, you two are the luckiest people in the world!! I hope that one day I’ll get to travel the world too!! Have fun backpacking and keep us posted because I love your blog!!

    • 01/02/2010 10:49 am

      Najma! Glad you love our blog. Trust me, when you start backpacking no matter what, you will find another way to go on your next adventure. It’s a bug that stays in your blood for a life time!!! If you are thinking of going on a trip, email us both we would love to help you plan.

  12. 05/10/2010 11:18 am

    Hello Tanya and Nara,
    It’s nice to read about fellow backpackers it makes us feel less odd. My husband and I decided to leave our jobs two years ago and go backpacking for a year. Together we visited over 30 countries. The experience has changed us forever and it was the 2nd best decision of our lives (the first was getting married to each other!). We are so happy to have shared that experience. It has been a little over a year since we’ve been back from our big trip and we still feel like we don’t fit in with our friends and family. We just came back from a last minute trip to Hawaii (we were supposed to go to Europe but could not make it because of the volcano in Iceland) and we had the opportunity to be backpackers again for 2 weeks. We have never been happier but it seems that the price to pay to lead such exciting lives is feeling like we’re outcasts from “normal” society. We find it easy to make friends all over the world but have trouble meeting people like us in our city of Montreal. Do you know of any place where people like us meet in our hometown? Thank you, Virginia and Tavi

    • 05/24/2010 10:01 am

      Hi Virginia and Tavi! It’s so nice to see other Montrealers who share the same passion as us! I do agree with you when you say that things are different when you get back home after a long trip abroad. People just don’t understand the experiences we face when visiting uncommon countries. It’s the beauty of being a backpacker 🙂 We are not aware of any groups in Montreal but if you’re interested, we can alway start something. Let us know if you had anything in mind.

  13. 06/07/2010 9:35 pm

    Keep it up ladies… it’s inspiring to see the two of you taking your love for something and sharing/concretizing it. 🙂

    Miss ya Ta. xx

  14. 06/14/2010 3:49 pm

    Great blog guys. You two are quite the prolific writers.

    And I can totally relate to working a full-time job while living vicariously through your past travels 😉

    • naradb permalink*
      06/15/2010 7:36 am

      Thank pduan! Its easy to write something you are so passionate about! We love traveling and there is always something to write about it!!!

  15. 06/23/2010 7:10 am

    Hi Tanya: many thanks for visiting our site. i enjoyed reading your blog posts too and i just subscribed to your feed. cheers!

    • naradb permalink*
      06/23/2010 7:44 am

      Thanks for subscribing to our blog! Would you be interested if we add you to our blogroll?

      • 06/24/2010 6:57 am

        of course! i also put your site in our blogroll,

        enjoy your travels

  16. 07/24/2010 12:52 am

    Tanya, your website is amazing! Love all the good information and care put into all the posts. SO glad you found The Khalerias website as well. Mind if I link to your blog on my site? Let me know!

    • 07/24/2010 8:01 am

      Thank you!! We are passionate about this topic so it’s easy to write about it!
      Yes, I was going to contact you for that as well. You’re added to our blogroll!

  17. 07/24/2010 6:27 am

    I love the site and look forward to hearing about more of your adventures. I need a backpacking trip in my future. I think it will be the best way to see Europe.

    • 07/24/2010 8:04 am

      It definitely is Mary! Feel free to contact us if you need help with planning your backpacking trip. It would be a pleasure!

  18. 07/27/2010 5:31 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog and love it.. Can’t wait to get a minute to read through it..

    http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com

    • naradb permalink*
      07/27/2010 6:09 pm

      Thanks! We always love the feedback!!

  19. 09/21/2010 3:54 am

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  20. 05/12/2011 7:49 am

    Personal… I envy you… 😀

    I wish I could travel like this. Just wondering how it feels to be away like this.

    I’ll subscribe to this blog 😀

  21. Laura permalink
    06/09/2011 11:58 pm

    hi there ladies
    ive just sent the last half hour reading through your site and I LOVE IT!!! im off backpacking for the first time next year, and its all going to be a new experience for me seeing as how ive never been on a plane longer then 2hrs and have never been out of australia, reading your stories and how you guys meet makes me what time to go faster so i can get into it!!!

    im so excite and hope i can get some tips off your site for when i go!
    Thanks so much laura

  22. 06/16/2011 5:56 pm

    Hi Tanya and Nara,

    Your blog is a lot of fun and I love that you encourage people to get out there and travel. I wanted to nominate you both and your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.

    The rules, if you choose to accept, are as follows:

    1. Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.
    2. Tell 7 Random facts about yourself.
    3. Pass the award on to 7 new found (or old favorite) bloggers.
    4. Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you’ve done so, and let the giver of your award know you accept it… or not.

    All my best,

    Waefarer

    • 06/16/2011 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much!! This is great 🙂 OK, so now it’s just a matter of writing the post and answering the questions? Once that’s done, we pass on the award to 7 other people? We can surely do that!

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