Meet globetrotter & writer Denise Cassar
‘The Travelers Collection’
Travel lovers are super-souls who explore the world, immerse themselves in so many different cultures and build a collection of memories which just make their life so real, raw and true. They’re not just existing like the majority of us, they are living and for this reason they have our complete admiration. A member of the HighwaytoHappy tribe introduced us to Denise Cassar, a freelance writer and traveler who left her 9am — 5pm career to embark on the nomadic lifestyle she so dearly missed. You’re going to love this gal! She’s a true free spirit, she’s creative, bubbly, kind of clumsy and just a pleasure to be around for she is vibrant and her energy is infectious. We were thrilled when she agreed to share her travel stories and life philosophies. Grab a cup of your favourite tea and meet our new friend who has wandering spirit, an intriguing mind and a huge heart, Denise Cassar.
When did your passion for travel start?
When I was 15, I went to Germany with my parents, being a teenager I was not really keen to visit the same places they wanted to visit, so my dad let me explore the city on my own. Till this day, the first day I arrive in a new place, I still enjoy walking around, without a map or GPS — just depending on human orientation is fun.
A year after the Germany trip, I started working in hotels all my colleagues travelers, that’s where I got the travel bug. I was inspired by their stories and their nomadic freedom, and this brought me to start my journey in 2002 in Tropea, Italy, I later found myself hopping from one Mediterranean island to another — Cyprus and Minorca.
What has travel taught you?
That no one way is the right way. What’s right and accepted in my country, could be totally unacceptable in another or they might tackle it in a totally different way and that’s okay. It has also taught me that the majority of people are good. Unfortunately the news focus on bad events and don’t really shine a light on the positive stories. During my travels I’ve seen that most people will help out, they will smile at you and just be nice to whoever crosses their path. Thirdly, I’ve learnt that you can survive on so little — materialistic possessions are overrated. Finally, my backpack never weighs more than 12kgs and that just makes me feel so liberated, deliciously free.
Which country touched your heart?
Every place I’ve been to has touched my heart in some way or another, but if I have to pick then I’d choose Nepal for its people and nature. Every time I visit I stay in Pokhara for the majority of the time, and it always gives me a serenity that I don’t take for granted. It’s my safe place for when I want to write and then just walk a couple of metres to the lake, or look at its hills and mountains and just be in the moment.
Tell us about the time when you were amazed, blessed and ever so thankful.
I was in India and had a flight to catch the next day. To reach the airport though, I had to take a night train. When I went to pick up the train ticket I thought I had booked, it turned out there was no ticket, so I was told I should just go to the train station and get a general ticket. Now this means that you can jump into the cabins at the very front which have no seats, let alone a ‘bed’ in the sleeper section. It was a night trip and that would make it that little more challenging. When we got on the train, an Indian family realized that we did not quite understand what to do and where to stay, asked us what the matter was, and when we showed them our ticket, they said “Oh you have no seat, come here with us.” Two of them sat on the bed to make space and stayed up all night with us, offering us food and friendly conversation. My friend happened to be feverish, and when they realized, they offered him a bed they had.
People are nice, people will help. Of course you can’t be naive and you have to be careful, it’s great to be like a chameleon. Look out for people’s intentions, trust with one eye and keep an eye out for anything funny. Listen to your gut , if something feels off, just move away. Most of the time things will work out just fine.
What has been your great struggle? And your greatest satisfaction?
I still feel guilty being absent from my family’s and friends’ lives, but I’m ever so grateful for their support and understanding, they know that this is the lifestyle I love. The greatest satisfaction so far has been to be able to lead this life and just get out of the rat race. I had a managerial position that stressed me out. Now, when people ask me what I do and I say I’m a writer, my heart still skips a beat. The freedom of waking up every day and choosing what to work on and where from, is my greatest blessing and I am grateful for it every day. It’s not a given. I chose this lifestyle and I work hard at maintaining it every day.
Share your message for the lovers of travel
Do it. Just get that ticket and go. Let the fear you feel when you think of travelling alone or to a new challenging place, become your fuel for adrenaline and not the brakes on your life. It’s worth every second of it. Don’t let it become a ‘What if’….and finally, when you travel you’re not really alone, you meet the most interesting of humans, so just go!
We can’t wait for the launch of Denise’s first book and trust us, you’ll be the first to know when it’s published! In the meanwhile, follow this gorgeous gal’s journey, here. Careful, you’ll probably get Denise’s travel bug. Come to think of it, that would be just awesome.