Meet: Fanni Bartanics

Name & Age? Fanni Bartanics, 27

Where's home? Budapest, Hungary

What was/is your last/current trip? I hitchhiked a sailing boat from the Canary Islands, crossed the Atlantic in 15 days. Then hitchhiked across 4 Central American countries and currently I'm in South America. The entire trip will last 1 year.

What got you started? I hitchhiked from Budapest to Lisbon and back in 2015 and I wanted to do more. Then I saw a video of someone hitchhiking a boat, which I never heard before, but it inspired me. So I quit my job and packed my backpack again.

How do you pay the way? I saved up enough money, but I'm also earning a little bit by writing professional resumes, cover letters and I also write articles to websites that pay for travel stories. It is also important to stress that I not only earn a little bit, but I also save a lot of money by volunteering for accommodation and food in exchange.

What's always on your packing list? My GoPro, plastic container with cutlery and running shoes.

What’s the last thing that blew your mind? I just finished the 5 days Salkantay trekking in Peru. I have never walked 75 km before, especially not up to 4600 meters. But the whole trip was very spiritual, I interacted with nature in a different way and on the last day I visited Machu Picchu. If I only went to see the destination for 1-2 days, like many do, I would not have appreciated it so much. I worked so hard to walk there, that rewarding feeling blew my mind.

By land, by sea, or by air? All of them. I try to hitchhike as much as I can, so far I have done boat, train, motorbike, taxi, bus, truck and car. I still need to hitchhike a plane somehow...

Hotel or hostel? Camp or Couchsurf? All of them. Depending on my location I have different preferences. For example I do not like to couchsurf in Latin America as it is not so popular here, therefore requires more effort to find a host. Hostel and camp works best. But in Europe I always couchsurf.

What's your travel pet peeve? Travellers who have seen so much yet they are still judgemental and closed minded. Locals who assume I'm a gold mine just because I'm from Europe and try to rip me off. Not having warm shower at cold places. Making fun of my name or my nationality, I had to change my name to Stephanie when I'm abroad because of it, too many childish nomads who think laughing at someone's name is good humour.

How do people react to you as a solo female traveler? Some are still surprised, but not by the solo aspect but the length of the trip solo. On the road less and less people are surprised, but in Hungary it is still pretty much unheard of.

What scares you? Nothing. If I have a fear I make sure I work through it. I wrote a list of fears that I had at the beginning of my travels and one by one I have been crossing them out by facing them. At the moment, I have no more fears left, but when I get a new one, will deal with it.

How do you overcome fear / anxiety / doubt? I just simply face the fears. I used to be terrified of open water, so I went diving until I had no more fear left. Today I can jump in the water without second guessing and enjoy it. When I'm nervous or have doubts I tend to take a mental break from everything and find a safe place where I can meditate on them to find out why I feel the way I feel. When I found the cause it is easy to find the solution. The key is to zoom out and distance myself from the situation that I'm in when the negative feeling arises.

Worst memory: I see a lot of poverty and animal cruelty that breaks my heart. There is no one memory in particular that is the worst, but just to see people and animal struggle with basic needs to live is one of the hardest things I have ever witnessed.

One unforgettable memory: When I travelled up the Amazon river for 4 days on a cargo boat. I spent every minute of daylight sitting at the front of the boat alone, staring at the nature and the water, I saw the pink dolphins as well and I never felt more relaxed, more centered, more rested. It was one of the best 4 days of my life.

Bravest memory: I think hitchhiking in itself needs some courage even if people think it's stupid and dangerous. Driving a car could be just as dangerous judging by the amount of accidents happen each day. Where I felt I needed the most courage was when I had to sleep on the street for the first time as it was a small city with no hostels or hotels that had 24 reception, so I set up my bed next to a train under the security cameras hoping I will survive the night and I did, but I wouldn't necessarily do this all the time.

Culture shock moment: The first time on the Caribbean was my first time away from Europe. Taking public transport, eating take away from a plastic bag and people dancing on the streets all day was very new to me.

Best reason to talk to strangers: To exchange values. I don't like small talks even tought they are sometimes necessary to get someone talking, but I love digging deep in their life stories, beliefs and experiences.

How are you different while traveling? I was very energetic, outgoing when I started but after 7 months I do feel I need my time on my own and ignore people around me to get some mental rest. On the other hand my self development never stops. I never forget to work on myself, ask the hard questions, work through fears, develop new skills, network, learn and grow my personality.

Is it harder to leave or to stay put? Both and neither. I'm happy to stay put for a while, but around the one year mark I always have to go. But travelling is exhausting, so I try to keep a good balance between staying and leaving even if leaving can be very painful.

Merry Christmas to the whole world! #mysevenworlds #christmas #merrychristmas #snow #winter #familytime #cold #wish

A photo posted by Fanni Bartanics (@mysevenworlds) on

Three things you've learned on the road: Never judge a book by it's cover, always respect another culture and try to adapt to it, there are no limitations to what a person can do with her life.

What keeps you going? I'm addicted to self development and through travelling I feel wiser every day. I love seeing the good in people and the world, I love learning new things and I love the person I'm becoming. The challenge never stops but the joy is constant.

What's next? After Latin America I need to go home to Budapest to carry out my business plan and lay down the groundwork for my goals. Then of course I will go again, but this time not just backpacking, but I plan to take the weirdest most uncommon jobs a human can possibly think of.

What would you be doing if you’d never left home? I would probably be the CEO of Nike, but I'm not ready for a private jet.

What advice do you have for wanna-be Wild Hearts? Close your eyes and jump.

Last question: What would make you stop traveling? If I could guarantee the world clean water, sufficient food, health care, jobs and love.

Follow Fanni: and