• Mariel Lettier

What about us?

Actualizado: 23 de dic de 2018

About Ana

Ana is an English-Spanish translator who grew up in Maldonado, Uruguay but moved to Montevideo, the capital city, at age 18 and never looked back. She watches too much TV, if there is such a thing as watching too much TV. Let’s just say that she used to binge watch TV shows in the 90s, long before the term was even invented. She considers herself to be a film enthusiast, and she dreams about having a heated debate about film history with Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater and Xavier Dolan over several cups of coffee. She also enjoys going to concerts and traveling has been her most immediate source of happiness ever since she can remember.

Before she was able to afford plane tickets to travel around the world, she used to spend the little money she earned by helping her mum around the house at the video rental store. The first film that made her fall in love with the seventh art was Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial. She would know where the VHS was and she would pick it up every time her father took her to the store. “Don’t you want to watch something else?” “No.” She knew what she liked and she knew what she wanted. She was a determined little girl. She remembers thinking that she wanted to meet this being from another planet, and maybe even travel with E.T. across the galaxies on the way “home”. She preferred Pippi Longstocking, Heidi and, Jo March (though she clearly identified with Beth) over Disney princesses.

She thinks of herself as an introvert and as such, she would find ways to entertain herself as a child. She would read a lot, under the covers and with a flashlight if her sister was already asleep. She liked to rewrite songs and make them her own, and one summer, she picked up her parent’s typewriter and she began writing poems and short stories she would later share with the family. When her aunt asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she proudly exclaimed, “I’m going to be a writer”. Little did she know that the reply would haunt her for years to come and she would later think back to this day as the time when her innocence was taken away from her. “You’ll never make a living as a writer.”

Fast forward 18 years into the future and this little girl has turned 25, she has her first steady income and spends her days daydreaming about Europe. She studied English for years, she went to become a translator and she almost got a degree in International Relations yet, she has never traveled beyond the neighboring countries in South America. Following the steps of her big sister, she claims her economic freedom and against all parental advice, she decides to go to Spain, England, France, and Belgium on her own. Before she had even booked the flight, she had tickets for a music festival, make that two, actually. It was the beginning of the end.

That determined little girl still lives somewhere inside of her and she doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s simply a challenge. So you say no to her? She’ll make it her life mission to find a way to make it possible. Just you wait…

About Mariel

Mariel was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in February of 1988, shares a birthday with Dakota Fanning and is nowhere near as talented as her despite her short-lived attempt at becoming an actress. Anastasia is the first film she remembers seeing at a theater and her first fantasy novel was The Neverending Story. She is still mad about how Bastian was portrayed in the movie.

Although initially hating English in secondary school, it grew on her thanks to the dozen shows she started watching when she finally got cable at 14. She was fast to keep up with Lorelai’s rambles in Gilmore Girls and fell in love with the Harry Potter books (boy, was she happy when she found an English copy of The Goblet of Fire on sale for just three bucks). It was not long before she started believing the stork had taken a wrong turn somewhere and plotting her trip to her real home, the UK.

In spite of falling in love with math and chemistry, she ended up becoming a Sworn Translator. Legal stuff made her yawn, but it was a job translating patents (and her mother’s apprehension at an empty nest) that allowed her to save enough money for her first big trip. After almost a decade of planning her big adventure with various people that kept dropping out, she finally decided to go at it alone and she’s never looked back. However, little did she know, she’d have company for about three of the six months she spent traveling through Europe and that she’d realize her dream travel partner was right at arm’s length. It’s worth noting, though, that she also had some failed attempts.

This trip, of course, wasn’t enough. She pursued her Master’s in Literary Translation (her true passion) in Edinburgh, the capital of the unicorn and fairytale country of Scotland, and continued planning trips with her travel soulmate, Ana. She hopes that sharing her experiences will not only be entertaining to others, but that they also find useful tips and notes, and the courage and passion to go see the world for themselves even if that means doing it on their own. She also loves Doctor Who and is determined to translate a fantasy novel sometime in the nearish future (J.K., you can call me anytime).

How they met

Ana and Mariel met in late 2011 working for the same law firm translating exhilarating chemical patents. Being the only two single people in the translation team worked in their favor, as they soon became friends and got to share their goals for their escape from patent prison. Ana was leaving to teach Spanish in France and Mariel was planning a trip through Europe. They would meet during the very many holidays French education offers and many adventures would ensue. A film festival in Dublin, Ireland, a look at the darker and quirkier side of the Nordic countries, and dancing to Celia Cruz in one of Prague’s seemingly somber alleys were only some. It didn’t take them long to realize they better hang on to each other because they got a real good one and have been plotting trips together ever since.

Why traveling?

Ana says:

I think that one of the reasons why I love movies so much is because it was a way to travel safely to a distant land before I could even dare to dream about it. At first, I wanted to visit all these places I’ve read about but I was afraid that I would be disappointed if my expectations weren’t met, after all, traveling wasn’t going to fix any of my problems back home. Actually, it had the potential to give me more headaches than I could handle and reinforce all the fears other people had brought onto me, especially when they heard I was traveling alone. By sheer force of will, I was able to leave my introverted self behind and become this assertive, independent woman. All because I had something to prove and, in order to do so, I had no other choice but to run away and face the unknown.

Mariel says:

It started with getting to the land where the English language was born and soon became so much more. Traveling has opened up my mind as well as a world of possibilities. It’s about learning without judging, it’s about seeing a world of wonders, getting to know people and cultures, and making the impossible possible. And the first time around it was a lot about taking matters into my own hands. About not waiting around for other people to realize my dreams, because that’s the one thing you should never do, let anyone or anything come between you and what you want out of life. And the thought of doing this alone was a bit scary at the time, but mostly I thought it would be lonely, not having someone to share these experiences with.

They both agree:

However, traveling alone for the first time was an experience that changed our lives in more ways than we realized back then. We learned how to plan a trip from scratch, how to travel on a budget and spend money wisely. We met people we would have never met in other circumstances, people from different cultures and completely different backgrounds. We also got out of difficult situations without asking anyone for help and were smart enough to know when we needed to ask for directions. So every time we pick a destination, we’re not only deciding on where to spend our holidays and relax. We’re also choosing new experiences to test us, for us to learn more about ourselves and to appreciate our personal growth where we believe we will thrive the most.

About the blog

This blog was conceived at a time when the need to escape from our daily lives, routines and dramas alike became too unbearable to simply be ignored. Ever since we came back from our first adventure together we have talked about sharing our experiences with the world and writing everything down so as not to lose any of the precious memories we’ve made along the way. We hope to provide helpful information and guidance, as well as fun anecdotes, for people who are about to embark on a similar adventure, whether it is with friends, a partner or alone.

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