Yara Coelho of HeartofaVagabond.com is a travel blogger from Southern Europe. She grew up between the city and a farm near the coast. Her dream was to travel the world ever since she was a small child. She studied traditional Chinese medicine for over 4 years, but she decided her life was on the road, not at an office treating patients. She loves meeting new people, exploring new cultures and trying out new cuisine.

Exploring Lisbon, my home town
Exploring Lisbon, my home town

Learn more about Yara by reading her answers to our few travel related questions:


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When did you started blogging, Why do you blog?

I was a long term traveler for over 14 years before I started writing. I actually didn’t know what a blog was and had no intentions of starting one, but my friends were so fascinated by my adventures they basically forced me to start it. I thought no one would ever read anything or be interested on what I had to say… But at the end my blog is turning out to become very successful. I started traveling long before traveling was cool or living a life on the road was popular back in 1998.

A delicious Filipino veggie meal
A delicious Filipino veggie meal

When did you start traveling, inspirations?

I started traveling immediately after I turned 18. I had nothing to hold me back at home.  I never felt identified with my culture or my country. To be honest I felt like a citizen of the world, long before I started traveling. When I turned 18 I found a way of supporting my travels by becoming an Aupair. From that day on I never stopped.

Lessons you learned on the road?

That there’s more kindness in the world that what TV wants us to believe. I’ve been always confronted with extremely warm hearted people who kindly shared a smile, a story, some words of wisdom with me. I’ve learnt independence and a lot of discipline. To be able to stay on the road for so many years, one has to be extremely responsible financially and in the way we behave, specially as a solo female traveler.

Celebrating my birthday in Panglao
Celebrating my birthday in Panglao

Destinations on your Bucket List?

I always have new ones, it’s horrible how my bucket list keeps growing. I want to repeat the Philippines because I think my stay there was not enough. I fell in love with the people. I want to visit China, because I studied traditional Chinese medicine, Mongolia and all of the Stan countries. In other words, I’d love to to the transiberian train trip after another visit to the Philippines.

Beach or Mountain?

Absolutely no doubts: BEACH!

How often do you travel by air / land?

I prefer to travel by land, but it’s so expensive. I hate flying. I’m actually terrified of flying and I fly all the time. It feels like torture. I did travel exclusively by land for many years, me, my dogs and my boyfriend.

Exploring a Buddhist temple in Hong Kong
Exploring a Buddhist temple in Hong Kong

What’s your favorite airport?

Barcelona airport. It has a great open area with some plants and trees.

What is your favorite Hotel?

The Clayzy house in Koh Lanta Thailand and Villa Sandra in Malapascua, Philippines. They’re both hostels. They’re both my second home too!

Feeling at home in Villa Sandra, one of my favorite hostels - Malapascua
Feeling at home in Villa Sandra, one of my favorite hostels – Malapascua

What is your preferred Airline?

Turkish Airlines. Great service, amazing food, friendly staff.  I had a great experience with Cebu pacific and Air Asia too.

How do you beat jet lag / Motion sickness?

I don’t. I suffer, I can barely get out of bed when I have those intense jetlag days. When I went to India, I needed 3 days to get on my feet.

What are your favorite travel gadgets?

None, I like to travel with basically anything. I’m an old school girl.

Any Tips on how to travel light?

We don’t need much when we travel. i travel with 1kg of clothes. What takes most space in my backpack is, unfortunately my big camera and my laptop, two things I hate carrying around, but I have to since I started blogging.  Since I usually travel to warm climates, a pair of flip flops and a couple of bikinis and dresses are more than enough.  I love simplicity.

Best Backpack Brand?

I only got a backpack recently, because someone gave it to me.  It’s a north Face. It could have been any other label, I guess I was lucky to earn that from a friend.

Top 3 Philippine Destinations?

Let me give you 2: Bohol and Malapascua. But Malapascua really stole my heart. I felt at home there. I’m returning to visit Palawan and Siargao.

Sunset in Malapascua
Sunset in Malapascua

Things you love about the Philippines?

he people. The Filipinos are so special. Never during 16 years of traveling I met such funny, caring, and friendly people who welcomed me with both arms open. I met some really special people and made a lot of friendships via Facebook that I hope I can meet in person on my next trip.

Ahh, the boys are very handsome! If I’d stay longer I’d probably fall in love with one.

The nature in the Philippines is also outstanding and so virgin. I couldn’t believe in the shades of blue. I had never seen anything like that before. The sand feels like flour, so fine and white, it’s unbelievable.

Things you hate about the Philippines?

Maybe what I hated the most was the lack of respect certain tourists showed for the environment and the animals, when they touch and grab the turtles and dolphins. The Philippines have such a delicate environment, we need to respect and preserve it. Tourists need to be more respectful.

Getting around is also quite complicated sometimes. The added fees we have to pay every time we go from place to place are very annoying, I found it impossible to calculate my budget because of how many fees were constantly popping up. At the end I totally exploded my budget. specially with the huge airport fee of 750 PHP.

It's more fun in the Philippines, with friends
It’s more fun in the Philippines, with friends

What made you decide to visit the Philippines?

My friend Sabrina Iovino sent me an urgent email telling me the tickets to the Philippines were in promotion! She knew I wanted to go there really bad, but couldn’t afford my trip. That email made it all happen for me! Thank you Sabrina!

Top 3 International Destinations?

Spain, Hong Kong, Philippines.

Favorite Travel Quote  :

“In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”. If I would have never traveled, I wouldn’t have met the most amazing and inspiring people I have now in my life!

Yara Coelho, travel blogger at Heart of a vagabond

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