Traveler's Test

Inspiring travelers: Celinne Da Costa’s humanity challenge

Inspiring travelers: Celinne Da Costa’s humanity challenge

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The Art of Being Human: Three Real-Life Travel Stories

At first, the story of Celinne Da Costa may sound familiar: a New York City dweller felt the urge to leave her 9-to-5 job and to explore the world instead. What makes it different is the challenge Celinne added to it: she decided to circumnavigate the world by only staying with people – mostly strangers – who were in some way connected to her (friends, or friends of friends, or someone she met on the road…). Nine months and 73 generous hosts later, Celinne is ready to tell real stories of humanity as she saw them during her trip. Her book, “The Art of Being Human,” is now out and ready to inspire you with simple, joyful storytelling.

Here’s Celinne and what she shared in a special interview with us.

– Who is Celinne Da Costa and what are her dreams?

– Haha, what a loaded question! How about some fun facts:

  •  I am half Italian (born in Rome) and half Brazilian, and I grew up in the US for 15 years
  •  In 2016, I left my life in New York City to travel the world full-time
  •  I’ve traveled to 50+ countries and have no plans of stopping!
  •  In addition to travel, one of my biggest passions is writing. I do it every day 🙂
  •  I’m an avid believer that when you have a dream and make a decision to take action towards it every single day, you WILL manifest it into a reality
  •  On that note, my dream is to see and feel the world, while building an empire for myself that allows me to pursue my passions and help others along the way!

– Why is the leap from dreaming to acting so hard for most people?

– The biggest obstacle to action is the fear of failure. Most people are scared of the unknown – that they will fail if they jump, they’ll be worse off, they’ll get themselves in unpleasant situations, etc. We have a bad habit of blowing up dreams and putting them on a pedestal so that they almost seem unattainable.

I’ve learned to deal with these fears in several ways:

1. Trusting myself: every single time I’ve taken a leap of faith, it’s worked out for me. There is something to be said about the words “fortune favors the brave.” Not knowing what’s on the other side is scary, but it often pays off.
2. Breaking up dreams into smaller, doable bits: instead of chasing a big lofty dream, I break it down into mini dreams that feel achievable and I make a plan to complete them by a certain deadline!
3. Holding myself accountable: I make a list of my dreams and goals, and the actions I need to complete them. Visualizing helps to keep myself in check and make sure I’m progressing.

– What was the most challenging part of your trip around the world?

– The quick and sudden shifts in lifestyles was quite challenging. I went from living in a big city, working a corporate job, and leading a very stable life, to traveling the world full-time, having no income security, and no control over the conditions I’d be facing in the places I visited. I had to adjust my “New York City” mindset and shift gears to a “vagabonding” mindset. I kept burning out from how much I wanted to do and accomplish, and had to keep reminding myself to slow down and relax.

Funny enough, my challenges during my journey were 90% inside of my head: dealing with my mindset, demons, feeling alone, and being consistently out of my comfort zone to name some.

– What has putting your fate into the hands of strangers taught you about the world?

– I have developed an unshakable belief that on the whole, people are kind. Words cannot describe the many people who, despite not knowing me and owning me nothing, went above and beyond to help me during my journey. They let me into their homes, fed me, sometimes even clothed me, shared with me their deepest vulnerabilities and fears… I learned that everyone has something to teach you, if you just listen. Personally, I learned to be kinder, more compassionate, and open-hearted with the people that I meet, because that’s exactly the type of treatment that I received.

Of course there are bad people in the world, but I strongly believe they are a minority.

– How has your life story changed after the journey?

– Finally, I am writing my own story. When I was in New York City, I felt like I was living in someone else’s dream. I did not have control over my future. Since I left that life behind, I call the shots: where I travel, what I do for a living, who I spend my time with, and what projects I work on. Every day, I wake up and design my life as I want it. It’s an amazing feeling, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

– Over 70 people hosted you around the world, all connected to you in one way or another. Do you think it’s a realistic feat for anyone to follow your steps?

– It depends on what you want. I wouldn’t recommend that someone copy and paste my project, because it was designed specifically to cater to my strengths and interests. I love traveling, writing about people’s stories, and staying with locals. I also have no problem striking up a conversation with a stranger and asking him or her to stay over. Many people would not feel comfortable with this.

I think it’s possible for people who share similar interests and are willing to put in the hard work of building that network. If that’s not something that someone is passionate about, there are so many other ways to travel similarly to how I did. You just have to get creative by designing a project that works for you and plays to your passions. There are 1001 ways to do this.

– What’s your recipe for being aware of the tiny miracles in our daily lives?

– Pay attention. The only way to find these tiny miracles that surround us every day is to look, smell, feel, and hear them. Practicing mindfulness and being aware of our surroundings is so important when it comes to cultivating our awe and appreciation for this world. How often do we stop and glance at a flower, just because it’s beautiful? Or memorize the details of someone’s face?

Life is so much more fun when we are tapped into the moment and practice gratefulness for even the smallest things that amaze us.

– Share something inspiring with everyone reading this!

– I just published a book! “The Art of Being Human” is a collection of short stories from this life-changing journey around the world – a journey that taught me that we are indeed capable of creating a life that we are proud of, and we don’t have to do it alone.

With this book, the goal was to get my writing out into the world as well as share some of the most special and insightful experiences from my travels around the world.

The message of the book is simple but powerful: humanity is good. No matter where I went, there were people who treated me with kindness, hospitality, and generosity. Yes, there are bad people in the world, but from my experience continuously putting my fate in the hands of strangers, evil is the exception and not the norm.

The hundreds of people I encountered around the world taught me that being human is an art, and this life is our canvas. My book attempts to capture a bit of that philosophy in a way that’s captivating and easy to read.

Follow Celinne’s stories in her website and on Instagram. All photos: Courtesy of Celinne Da Costa