Meet Natália Becattini – Winners Interviews!

Have you met our lovely blogger Natália from Brazil yet? She blogs over at 360meridianos and is exchanging with Claire from the Green Geekette. Natália will be jetting off to France on the 7th June – and so in preparation for her trip, we thought we would ask her a few questions so that we can get to know her a little more!

Firstly, for those who haven’t read your blog before – can you explain to us a little about what your blog is about?

360meridianos is about three friends – Rafael, Natália and Luíza – discovering new places and learning from the world. We try to inspire people to step out of their comfort zones through travel. We believe that it’s impossible to go out and see the world and remain the same person you were before.

We made a small video presenting ourselves and the blog:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/65753467″>The Big Blog Exchange</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/360meridianos”>360meridianos</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Why did you first decide to set it up?

We start blogging during a round the world trip we did in 2011. It seemed a nice way to keep our family and friends informed about what was going on in our lives.

How long have you been blogging for?

We are blogging since October 12, 2011. It was the same day that we arrived in Madrid, our first destination of the round the world trip.

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How are you preparing your for your trip?

Well, I have to say that I am ready to go. As I don’t need a visa or any kind of vaccination to go to France, all I have to do is to search about the beautiful places I am going to see. I already bought a travel guide and did some online reading. I am very excited and looking forward to see everything with my own eyes. I am also thinking in different ways to share my experiences on Claire’s blog.

What are you most looking forward to?

Well, I think that I will make some people shocked when I say that the thing I am most looking forward it is not the Eiffel Tower. But that is only because I have been in Paris before.  Now that I know which places I will be travelling to, I am very excited with the prospect of visiting Carcassonne. I love History and and visiting a medieval ville is something very interesting for me.

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I was very happy when I got my itinerary, because the HI National Association in France noticed that I like culture and gastronomy and made a plan based on my interests. So, besides Carcassonne, I am also looking forward to visit the markets, try the food, the cheese, the wine, the French Riviera (how perfect it is that I am going during summer?)… There are so many exciting things that I just can’t rank them all.

As you probably know, the Big Blog Exchange is all about ‘changing the world, using the power of blogs’. How do you think you and your exchange can help change the world?

As I said before, its impossible to see the world and remain the same. The 16 winners will certainly be changed by this experience. We will learn about a new culture, meet new people, try different foods, experiment the life outside our confort zone. Then, we will share everything we learn about the world in each other blogs, writing to people we never had the chance to write before. Hopefully we will be able to inspire these people and make them learn with our experience. This is how the exchange is going to change the world: changing people first.

How do you plan to record your trip? Are you going to be blogging through video, pictures, written words or all three?

I am planning to use everything I can. I will try to do some video blogs, but also use a lot of photos to illustrate my experience. And, of course, I will write about it, even though writing in English is quite a challenge for me.

Are you excited at the prospect of swapping blogs?

Of course! The opportunity to write for someone else’s blog is the most innovative aspect of The Big Blog Exchange. That is what make this program so unique. The exchange will give us the opportunity to reach people that would never know our blog.

Is this your first time travelling or have you travelled before?

I got the travel bug many years ago, during a backpack in Brazil’s coast. Then I  lived for almost 50 days in South Africa, lived for 6 months and in India and did a round the world trip. This is not my first time travelling, but I am always as excited as if it were.

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Have you heard about Hostelling International before, or is this your first experience with us (have you said HI to the world yet)? Are you excited?

Yes, Rafael, Luíza and I always stay in HI hostels in our trips, specially in Brazil and in the rest of the Americas. I like the idea of offering high quality accommodation at low cost and it is always very easy to meet other travellers in a hostel and make new friends from all over the world.

Are your readers excited about your trip? Have you been blogging in the run up to the exchange?

Yes, all my readers and friends are very excited about it. We wrote some posts about the competition and we have a few more planned in the future. I felt that everybody was very happy when we announced that we were chosen. Now they are curious about how I am going to share my experiences and, of course, what Claire is going to say about Brazil.

What tips can you give for your exchange partner? What can he/she explore in your city/country?

This was actually the subject of a post on our blog. As we are going to receive Claire here, I made a list with some essential  brazilian experiences for foreigners with an English translation on the side of each item. The best part is that the readers are also posting their ideas about what they think she should try. We have some classic suggestions, such as go to a Samba party or a attend a soccer game, but also very local things, like eating a warm pão de queijo. The food is, actually, one of the best things in Brazil. I think she should try as many fruits and juices as she can, because they are delicious. For lunch, our classic rice and beans or a traditional Brazilian barbecue.

I know that maybe Claire won’t have time to do everything that was suggested there, but maybe it is a good start point.

Where should he/she go? Or what should they do?

Rio de Janeiro is a must, even during winter. I am glad that she will be able to see the Christ, the Cable Car, the Lapa district and the beach of Ipanema. São Paulo, on the other hand, is all about the night. There are many restaurants, bars and clubs to explore. If she likes history, the city center is also a good place walk a little bit. Bonito is perfect for sports and ecotourism, so she will be able to see our exuberant nature. And Iguazu Falls must be amazing! I am going there for the fist time few days before travelling to France, so I think I will have to came back later and tell her how is it like.

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What do you find most rewarding about being a blogger?

Being a blogger became an important part of our lives. It is something that we do with passion, something that is really worth spending time with. We write about something we love and that is why winning the BBE was so special. It was a kind of recognition for our hard work and a way to show us that we are doing a good job.

Of course, we have this signs that the blog worth a lot every time when a reader come to say that we inspire him/her with our travels and lifestyle, or that we helped them to plan a trip with our tips. I mean, reaching people we never saw in our lives is the best reward we could have.

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