Italian Backpacker Couple Shares How They Travel with a Small Baby

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy + Nora

We are Mark and Stefy, two Italian backpackers… actually since last year: three thanks to our baby Nora! We have met in South Africa in September 2010, we travelled from Kruger National Park to Zimbabwe, we fell in love through Mozambique, Malawi and above all Zambia and from that moment we have never been apart.

A few months later, we have left everything and departed first to South East Asia (six months) and after that to Central America (two months), then South Pacific (two months) and much more… even with our baby we haven’t stopped travelling, we have already brought her in three different Continents and also in places considered “dangerous” but which have turned to the best ones: i.e. Iran!

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy

How and why did you get into traveling?

M: When I was a child, I used to listen all the travel tales of my Aunt Anne, travel agent, who lived many great experiences everywhere in the world. At six, I already knew all the capitals and all the flags of the world. I used to play with my father with the Atlas. When I was a teen, I began my inter rails experiences, every summer a different part of Europe, from Turkey to Norway, from Portugal to Scotland — everywhere! A few years later, I jumped toward more exotic places ’til when I landed in South Africa and I met Stefy. From that moment, we have become inseparable.

S: There isn’t a real beginning. I have always travelled, first with my family on a camper van and then backpacking.

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy
in Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua (2013)

How do you finance your travels?

M: Well, we wish we could live while traveling but, unfortunately, we can’t. We simply fund our trips with the savings from our jobs so far.

S: I have just moved to Mark’s, to a new city so I’m looking for a new job, I’m an educator, btw, if you have any job offer: go ahead!

Many times hotels and tour operators sponsor our journeys and this gives us the chance to make them last much more!

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy
in Nara, Japan (2014)

Why is traveling important for you?

Traveling is so important for us because, unfortunately, we have been bitten by the travel bug and how it’s a mess! LOL Traveling is like breathing, we can’t stay too long in the same place…we need to move, we need to discover new places, live new experiences and adventures… it’s stronger than us… hope our daughter will not hate us!

Born2Travel2
in Greece (2017)

How do you bring your things with you?

We use ONLY and ALWAYS our beloved backpacks! When shoulders straps embrace us we feel invincible and we feel like we can reach all the most hidden corners of the world ‘cos we have all that we need on our back, in our amazing bags!

How do you organize things in your bags?

This is how we organize our backpack. When you travel, you need to think carefully to what to bring and how to pack it in your backpack because each superfluous weight will be something that you will be forced to carry on your shoulders all the times, so we try to optimize as much as we can our belongings — trying to bring multitasking things. Of course, having waterproof bags is important because many times you can be caught by a rain storm and you can’t risk to get our things (photocameras, video camera and laptop) get wet.

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy
in Nouméa, Caledonia (2014)

How do your bags and gear hold up?

After traveling a lot, we have found our favourite setting. All our equipment is fully tested and we can’t ask for more!

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

Nowadays, you can find almost anything you need everywhere in the world so we don’t stress a lot about it. Probably, we are just a bit more careful with the medicines, we prefer to bring the one we know and we use also in Italy… even if, more than once, we have had to buy them abroad… but psychologically, we prefer ours. 🙂

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

One of our last travel-related purchase that we have appreciated a lot has been our brand new North Face jacket! (Ventrix Hoodie). Small, very light but extremely useful!

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy
in Busia, Uganda (2013)

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Our advice for newbies is not about the equipment but about a more romantic attitude! I’m talking about travel journal! Write, write and write! Note all your feelings, your sensations and experiences! One day, when you will read them it will be like you will feel and be there again! Try and let me know!

What are your best travel-tips for parents with young children?

When you travel with kids, above all when they are infants, you can forget the relax but never mind ‘cos they will make you live experiences that you will never forget. Try to do things that they can enjoy and that could be of their interests. Wwhen you plan the journey, insert something just for them (some particular kids museums or game park) and try to arrange all the transportations (which is the most boring things) thinking about them.

Born2Travel Mark and Stefy
in Copán Ruinas, Honduras

What will the future bring?

In a few days, we will depart for a wonderful adventure along the Ganga River, we have already been to India but each time is a new discovery. In our bucklet list, there are so many places that we can hardly contain it! Of course, I wish I could visit one day the remote Tokelau, Pitcairn, Tuvalu but also Bhutan and Central Africa! Just to start with!

Visit Mark and Stefy on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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