Every few weeks, I love to feature inspiring travelers, artists, and adventurers for you to follow. This week we have Barbara from Jet-settera, a luxury, adventure, and travel writer with a penchant for climbing tall peaks and spending her time underwater.
Hey! Can you tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and the adventures you’ve gone on?
My name is Barbara, I am a luxury travel and lifestyle blogger and sometimes I do some adventure trips as well. My blog is called Jet-settera. I have visited 68 countries and I have also seen the Seven Modern Wonders of the World. I have hiked many mountains such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon, and the Himalayas. I also like to scuba dive and dove in the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Mexico, Florida, Indonesia and the Grand Cayman.
You’ve gone scuba diving all around the world. What are the places that stand out the most to you?
My favorite was the Philippines for diving. First, I dove in Boracay. It was one of the most memorable dives of my life. We were free falling for about 30 seconds in the middle of the vast sea. Then at around 35 meters, we hit a coral reef and we saw large group of fish swimming around the corals. The other spectacular dive I did was in El Nido, Palawan. It was a shallow dive off the shore of my hotel. I saw sharks, and many fish of all sorts of shapes and colors. It was really beautiful.
Have you ever had any scary experiences while scuba diving? How did you cope with that?
I really don’t recall any bad experiences. I am the happiest underwater. Sometimes, I have struggled with strong currents underwater and it makes diving difficult. Also, I don’t like diving in cold water, but otherwise I am very comfortable underwater and as long as I have a good dive buddy and we look out for each other, diving is very enjoyable and fun.
You’ve hiked Kilimanjaro, the Himalayas, Machu Picchu, and more. Which was the most challenging? What are a few memorable moments for these adventures?
The Kilimanjaro was the most challenging because it was the highest. We reached the summit in four days and the altitude sickness made is very difficult to hike. We slept in tents on the mountain and sometimes it was freezing cold and windy. On summit day, we set out to hike at 2am to reach the top by the morning. We were hiking in the dark and cold. It was tough.
The Himalayas were spectacular. These were the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen in my life. We went to Leh, Ladakh in India to explore the mountains from the Indian side. The place was wonderful. We were surrounded by snow covered beautiful mountains as far as the eyes could see.
When we hiked the Machu Picchu, it was my first time experiencing altitude sickness. I was always very tired, but the scenery made up for the pain.
Earlier this year, I went hiking in Patagonia in Argentina. It was also really spectacular.
I find it really interesting that though you’ve done all of these insanely adventurous things, on your blog, you often also talk about luxury travel and doing things like attending super yacht parties. Usually, people either fall into the ‘luxury travel’ or the ‘adventure travel’ category, but rarely both. Are people surprised that you do both?
I started traveling when I was 17 years old as a model and I worked all over the world, I started attending fashion week parties and film festivals, yacht parties as a teenager. On the other hand, I was curious about the world and I went out alone to explore Asia after college, I hiked a couple of mountains with my dad and he also taught me scuba diving. I love beautiful beaches, exclusive destinations and celebrity parties. I feel like many bloggers write about adventure travel, but I can also write about places and events that most people don’t have access to. Besides attending glamorous events, I also love being underwater and I love beautiful nature, so my blog blends my passion for the jet-set lifestyle and my passion for nature.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face while on an adventure?
Hiking The Kilimanjaro was certainly the biggest challenge I have ever faced. It was borderline crazy. I tell everyone not to do it, because it was so hard. Only about a third of the people who attempt to climb the Kilimanjaro make it to the top. It requires a lot of stamina, endurance and a few altitude sickness pills to reach the top.
What advice would you give to others who feel hesitant or too afraid to pursue their dream trip or expedition?
If you have a dream to explore the World, you should just go and you will be surprised by how many amazing people you will meet on the road. In the beginning, I would be so nervous to travel alone that I couldn’t sleep for hours the night before my flight. Then on the trip I would meet people right away and my trips always turned out to be much better than I expected them to be. Traveling alone can get lonely sometimes, but it is also very fascinating, because every day you meet new and interesting people. In the end, you only have one life and you have to make the most out of it and experience as much as you can. Otherwise, one day you will look back and feel like you have missed out.