Lulu Escapes Meets the Wonderful: Marina Comes
Living life to the fullest - When in doubt, Travel - Marina Comes
It’s a pleasure to interview Marina and finally get to know more about the girl behind those stunning Instagram photos. I've been following Marina since I started my blog and I love her profile because she always manages to find the perfect spot and position for her photos accompanied by the most inspiring and positive captions. But above all, Marina has a lovely personality which I’m hoping you will get to know by the end of this interview. And guess what?! She’s going to be launching her own travel blog very soon so stay tuned for this exciting project.
What’s the first trip that you can remember which inspired you to travel?
I guess it was a trip I made with my sister to Boston, to one of those English summer schools where you meet people from all over the world. We spent our summer holidays there, we went to NYC, we learnt English and we had a lot of fun. I remember I thought: 'I want more of these experiences in my life'. After that trip, I went to Italy for an Erasmus exchange program and I lived there for some time...that international experience in Italy changed the way I was seeing the world and living my life. I guess it opened my mind somehow and a new 'Marina' was born after that. I'm not kidding!
Do you find Instagram to be a good place to connect with other like-minded people passionate about travel?
Yes, of course it is! It's the perfect place to find people who love traveling as much as you do. Sometimes our friends think we are a bit crazy for being always on a plane, and I don't blame them. But then you start meeting other travelers here on Instagram and you see that you are such a rookie! It is full of amazing wanderlusters and adventurers, so yes, I love connecting with like-minded people and finding some travel inspiration through their experiences and inspiring them too!
What’s the secret for you to reach and maintain a qualitative audience on social media?
Well, I don't think there are secrets in this field. I'm still doing the same I did when I opened my account: 1) traveling as much as I can, 2) creating eye-catching content, 3) posting regularly, 4) looking for the right hashtags and 5) trying to thank my audience for their time and words. It's not a big mystery I guess. It has worked for me but I never did it because I read it somewhere...I just did what my common sense told me, and here I am now.
What's your worst travel experience and how would you turn it into something positive to give advice for other travellers?
I guess I've been very lucky in my travels because I haven't had many bad experiences...only one actually. It was in Thailand, on the last day of our trip. Instead of booking the morning boat transfer to Phuket’s Airport with our Hotel, I decided it would be better to make the most of our last day and rent a long-tail boat to a local fisherman that was living nearby and offered his services. This way, we could stay in our island until 20.00 PM and leave when it was already night time.
The thing is that a storm arrived at 19.00 and it was very windy and rainy. The Hotel staff told us that no long-tail boat would dare to pick us and do the route in those stormy conditions, but our flight was departing at 23.50 PM so we had no chance, we had to leave the island and cross to Phuket. We were waiting under the rain in the pier of our hotel with our luggage ready when we saw the lights of a little long-tail boat coming to us. The staff of the hotel couldn't believe that the fisherman had dared to do the transfer service with that fierce storm. They recommend us to stay and wait for the next day's morning transfer but it would imply missing our flights back home so we said no and we jumped in the long-tale boat.
After 10 minutes (that felt like 30) of sailing with no visibility under a heavy rain and lightings around the sea, the fisherman told us he was lost. To sum it up, my husband and I thought we would eventually spend the night floating in the sea if we were lucky not to get killed by lightning. What in normal conditions would have been a transfer of 30 minutes, it turned out to be an ordeal of 1:30h. We showed him where we were according to google maps on our phone and he seemed to recover his sense of direction. He had been sailing to the opposite direction due to the stormy conditions. Anyway, we finally made it to Phuket through the storm and I have to admit that I literally cried when my feet touched the ground. It was the first (and last) time that I thought I could have died. But I seem to have erased that episode from my memories, really. I only remember how much we enjoyed Thailand's beach life.
What do you enjoy the most about travelling?
Being surprised by a destination is the best. We all travel to places with our own expectations and even prejudices sometimes. But traveling tells you the truth about a destination. It doesn't matter what you've heard or what people told you before the trip. Now you are there, you are discovering it with your own eyes. And realizing that you were wrong about a country, their culture or even their religion is so good. I love it!
Who do you generally travel with?
Mainly with my husband, we both love traveling. But we also like traveling with our friends. Sometimes I also travel with my mom, with my girlfriends or even solo.
Have you ever travelled solo?
Yes I have, and I admit I really liked it. So far I can't complain...I enjoy my own company!
What are your best tips on how to get an amazing travel photo?
Always look for the perspective that everybody is ignoring. We all visit the same iconic places sometimes...and people end up with the same photo from the same angle. I like exploring around the sites and searching for new views and angles. It's what I like the most about photography...finding the right framing!
Would you prefer to be sunbathing on an exotic beach or skiing down a steep mountain?
I love both options but at this moment of my life, I couldn't say NO to an exotic beach...as long as it's empty!
Do you read any travel blogs for inspiration when you’re planning your escapes around the world?
Do you want to know the truth? I have never subscribed to any travel blogs before...I'm not a reader of travel blogs but I shouldn't be saying this because I'm about to launch my own blog haha! Truth is that I have created my own website without checking others because I wanted to do a travel blog from the perspective of someone that doesn't know anything about travel blogging. We'll see if people like it.
I believe you live in Barcelona, have you always lived in Spain?
I was born in Tarragona (Spain) but I've been living in Barcelona for almost 13 years now. I've also lived in Italy and in Belgium.
Can you name us your 3 favourite places in Barcelona which no one should miss?
My favorite view of the city is from Bunkers del Carmel. You also have to walk around El Born quarter and have dinner in one of its crowded little restaurants. Carretera de les Aigües and Tibidabo will aslo both give you a magical view of the city.
What do you do when you're not travelling?
Dreaming and planning my next adventures...I can't help it.
What kind of hotels do you prefer to stay in when you're travelling?
I normally prefer small boutique hotels but sometimes I've been surprised by certain big luxurious hotels that manage to make you feel at home and very spoiled, even if they have hundreds of clients. So both options are fine for me I guess.
Where are you planning to travel in 2017?
I'm not very good at planning travels in advance. I'm better at last-minute adventures. But I'm trying to work on that and improve my organizational skills. So far I've visited Singapore and Dubai in January and it looks as though I'll be traveling to Turkey, Maldives and Romania before the summer. But it's not confirmed yet so we'll see... Step by step!
What are your future plans? Are you thinking of starting a travel blog?
Yes I am! I'm actually about to launch it. But it takes time to write content and since I'm traveling so much these days, I find it hard to find time to concentrate and write. But I'm almost there (hopefully).
Which destination so far is your number one favourite?
It's very difficult for me to name only 1 destination... I can't do it. I have loved every single country that I have visited. But I can tell you that Africa is my favorite continent, without any doubt. A piece of my heart is there...and it gets bigger every time I travel back to Africa. I can't tell you why but my hardest good-byes have always been at the end of trips I made in Africa.