Daniela Polario and Jessica Pereira met eight years ago, got married two years ago, and shortly thereafter called their jobs to go on an adventure around the world, on a honeymoon with no end date. They often say that, in the last year alone, they “lived many lives” and it’s not hard to understand why: They were nearly kidnapped in Colombia, interviewed on local radio during protests in Peru, spent a week in the Amazon, surviving storms and floods from Australia — where they were bitten by spiders — and learned about hospitals in almost every country they visited. However, they had unforgettable moments and met people they would never forget.
Daniela Polario is 28 years old, she was born in Aveiro, but has lived in Coimbra, Lisbon, Iceland and Switzerland. She has a degree in Social Communication, although she has worked her entire life in the retail sector. Jessica Pereira is 30 years old, and although she was born in Portugal, she grew up and lived practically her entire life in France. Before moving to Switzerland, he earned a business degree and even did an internship in Porto about eight years ago.
“We met on Tinder at the time, but we only became friends. We ended up meeting in person three years ago, in the fateful year of the pandemic,” they tell NYT. They started maintaining a long distance relationship. – one lives in Portugal, the other in Switzerland – until Daniela, who was working in Lisbon, decided to take a plane with no return date, at the end of 2020. After all, I “didn’t do anything interesting anymore” in Portugal and needed challenges New. I started the idea of dropping everything to travel there, almost unconsciously.
“We felt like we were out of place, we wanted to see other things. Routine was nothing that attracted us and there was always such a desperate need for freedom. It was this pursuit of freedom that they set off on their adventure,” they reveal.
The initial plan was to save money for about two years to buy a truck, but the pandemic ended up speeding things up. Soon after getting married, in 2021, they say goodbye to their jobs, turn over the house they live in, sell their car and leave for an unusual “honeymoon”: with no plans or end date.
The beginning of the trip around the world
In December, they bought a one-way ticket to Costa Rica, the first country on the “Nomad Wives,” as they’re called on the site, around the world. Instagram. They only stayed there for two weeks, because it was a much more expensive country than they expected, and then went to Colombia, where they stayed for two months. – And I got the first fears. We’ve had two instances where we thought we were going to either be kidnapped or robbed. They all used a taxi and we were lucky to understand Spanish,” the couple reveals.
The first time, the taxi driver started calling other numbers, saying that there were two women inside the car with many backpacks, and they realized that there was a car behind them. Colombia has many taxis associated with gangs. We realized something was wrong so Daniela pretended she was calling her dad and started saying the license plate out loud. The gentleman made us stop, didn’t want to let us out, but then called the number again to cancel the operation,” they recall.
The second time, about five days later, the situation was exactly the same: the taxi driver started taking the opposite route to the one they had requested, towards the most dangerous neighborhood in Colombia. “He was running too fast and we had to insist he let us out.”
That day, they chose to take a taxi instead of public transportation because they had photographic materials to go and interview with the country’s LGBT association. “We had a project to talk to associations in many countries to find out what rights are like there,” they say. They also had the chance to talk with the social leader of Comuna 13, a neighborhood considered the most dangerous in the world in the 1990s. “It was one of the most interesting experiences because I saw the non-touristy side of Colombia.”
protests in Peru
From Colombia, they left for Peru when political protests began. – They were interviewed by a local radio station. It all started when I was in Ica, waiting for a bus that would take them to another city, which was about 12 hours away. Carriers started canceling all flights due to the protests and only one company agreed to make the trip on one condition: if it was banned, every passenger must find a solution to get out of there. However, Jessica and Daniela decided to take a chance.
“At seven in the morning the bus stopped and there was no way forward. We were about an hour and a half from the destination and had no choice but to grab our backpacks and cross the demonstration barriers on foot,” they say. As they walked through the crowd, they were approached by a local radio journalist who began asking them questions: How do demonstrations affect travel? What do you think can be done? How long have they been banned?
I was afraid of speaking ill of the government, and on top of that there were police nearby. Meanwhile, while I was being interrogated, a policeman came running towards us and told us to go to the pickup trucks that would take us to another city,” they recall.
The seven months in Australia
Despite the ups and downs, they made the most of their trip to Peru and were able to leave without major complications. After that, they took a short stop in the USA, where they watched an NBA game in Miami, and traveled to the Philippines in April of last year – but it seemed like the dates were still very lopsided.
When they arrived in the Asian country, one of the islands they visited was affected by a tropical cyclone that caused chaos and destruction and “there wasn’t even electricity”. At that time, the Philippines had just opened its borders and the tourists could not see each other. “We became the only people in the hostel.”
They stayed there for a month, then traveled to Vietnam and in the meantime went to Australia, the country where they stayed the longest – seven months, more precisely. The initial plan was to work through these months to bring the accounts into good balance. But while we were there, we started to think we’d never have an opportunity like that again,” say the couple.
So after working for two months in Melbourne, they decided to buy a Jeep with a tent and travel the roads of Australia for the next four months. They covered more than 15,000 km, drove for hours and hours in the middle of the desert “without a net and without seeing a single soul” and survived storms, floods and strong winds that forced them to sleep in the car. “We went through a lot of trouble with the weather, but it was a great experience.”
Before returning to Europe, they sold the car for the night and even stopped in Thailand. “We arrived in Switzerland about a month ago and only came back because we wanted to get our dog back because we couldn’t take her. We still don’t know what will happen, but we have come to the conclusion that if we want to continue traveling we need to have our own business and that is what we will focus on in near future,” he says.
The only thing they are sure of is that on the next trip, an Alaskan dog will accompany them – and they still have the dream of traveling around South America in a motorhome.
Then click through the gallery to see some photos from Jessica and Daniela’s travels around the world.
See the gallery
Buy a Jeep in Australia.
“Hardcore alcohol maven. Hipster-friendly analyst. Introvert. Devoted social media advocate.”