HeartRome

My life and times in the eternal city and beyond

Travel stories, tips and hacks from 10 people who travel for a living

If given the chance, travel is one of the most rewarding and inspirational things you can do in life. It is the best education one could ever dream of, teaching you about people, lifestyles, culture and history. 

I often get asked about what it’s like to travel for a living. And my honest answer to that question is: when passion and work combine, beautiful things can happen. It’s amazing, hard, amzing, tiring, amazing! It really is, for the most part, pinch yourself and is-this-for-real kind of stuff; a lifestyle that requires determination, really hard work (despite appearances and perception!) and extreme commitment. 

To feed your curiousity or fascination (or both!), I chose to interview these particular people because like me, they travel a lot for work. They are digital storytellers who manage to inspire – whether it be through a lens, their words, their meals, their story or their pictures.

Each of them inspire me daily with their work and I want to share some of their travel tales with you. 

1.Stephen Oddo, Owner and Founder of
 Walks of Italy 

I live in: Boston, Massachusetts 

I am a… Travel Company Owner (Walks of Italy, New York, Turkey, etc)

The thing I love most about my job is… Getting to travel, of course! Also that the sector is constantly evolving, so it keeps us on our toes.

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Definitely the New England area. 

Because… I recently left New York to move to a quieter area with a slower pace of life, and found that in the greater Boston area and Cape Cod.

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my laptop and headphones, I’m always working on the go.

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… iPhone of course. Facebook, Insta, Skype, etc. Does anyone still send postcards?

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… #takewalks! But seriously, take local tours & activities, of course! 

View this post on Instagram

When in #Venice… 🚣🏼🇮🇹

A post shared by Stephen Oddo (@travelvr) on


2. Ana Silva O’Reilly, aka. Mrs. O Around the World

I live in: Henley-on-Thames, not to far from London, in the gorgeous English countryside.

I am a… marketing consultant and a luxury blogger.

The thing I love most about my job is… the flexibility and variety. By day, I am helping companies market themselves better and create needs for their products and services. When I have my blogging hat on, I inspire people to travel in style. Or I hope to.

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Budapest. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Because… it was amazing and I wasn’t expecting the grandeur.

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my phone, my contact solutions and a (real) pashmina.

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… updating my social media, although my mother has become technology savvy and demands special updates via Facebook messenger. 

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… eat. Nothing shows you a country like their food. And calories don’t count when abroad. Of course.


3.  Otbah Rayess (aka OT), Director (visit: website

I live in: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

I am… a traveling storyteller. 

The thing I love most about my job is… the fact that this was actually a dream once. The excitement the adventure and thrill, the passion and motivation, the love for learning and discovering. 

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Seoul in South Korea, as I had no expectations whatsoever, I never actually thought of visiting; however, I was amazed and fascinated by its people and culture. I loved the variety and mix between culture and technology. 

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my camera! 

I keep in touch… I barely keep in touch with family and friends while I travel because I like to disconnect from the world and focus on discovering this new destination. I focus on connecting with new individuals that come from a complete different background, learn about them and from them. 

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is… to go to bars and bazaars, talk to locals and use their public transportation. Talk to local individuals and ask them about their favourite restaurant. Don’t go with friends, go alone, get out of your comfort zone, go wander and explore. 

View this post on Instagram

Zip it yo 🇮🇹

A post shared by Otbah Rayess (@otbarayess) on


4. Jeff Titilius, Travel Writer 

I live in: Mount Dora, Florida 

I am a… Travel writer who specialises in European travel and destinations plus European river cruising.

The thing I love most about my job is… that I have the extraordinary opportunity to explore Europe, with privileged access to some of the destinations’ experiences; and then write stories about those experiences for my website, EuroTravelogue.com, as well as third-party websites.

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Without a doubt, Norway!! 

Because… I ventured beyond the Arctic Circle in Norway and experienced adventures from skimming the waves on board a RIB-Boat Safari and kayaking through the fjords to encounters in the wilderness and even a French kiss with a wolf. Northern Norway was made for adventures and this expedition was epic! 

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my camera bag, iPad, phone, santiser and LOTS of water. 

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… Sharing updates on social networks as much as possible.

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… Get out and meet the locals! Schedule a family visit to discover their way of life. Sign up for wine tasting, pasta and bread-making classes. Or summon the artist in you and tap into your creative potential and try a painting class while walking in the footsteps of some of the most brilliant artists ever. Seek out connections with locals to learn from those who have carried on these traditions for generations. Also, rent a car and go for a drive, a long drive under the Tuscan sun!! You’re practically guaranteed new discoveries as well as meeting new friends along the way of your journey!


5. Gillian Longworth McGuire, Blogger, Gillian’s Lists 

I live in: Rome

I am a… Blogger

The thing I love most about my job is… that it involves beaches and cocktails. 

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Ponza

Because… Ponza manages to be both super chilled and relaxing and I feel like there is more to see every time I visit. 

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my iPhone charger and my Kindle

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… Snapchat and Instagram

The best way to experience a little local culture while traveling is to… Go to the grocery store or local market.


6. Georgette Jupe-Pradier, Girl in Florence & more 

I live in: Florence, Italy 

I am a… social media consultant and manager, and editor of ITALY Magazine, a digital publication about all things Italian. I am also creator of the blog, Girl in Florence, which provides a deeper look at the city of Florence, among plenty of travel around Europe and beyond. 

The thing I love most about my job is… the variety and flexibility it brings. I am location independent and can work from anywhere with a good WiFi connection. I am quite passionate about Italy and using social media to share insider’s perspectives on this incredibly dynamic country. 

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Marrakesh!

Because… Morocco is an explosion of colour, scents and feelings. We spent a long weekend there this past May and I was completely entranced by the energy there. 

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my kindle and an external battery (Anker) for my phone. 

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… social media, I probably have way too many ongoing whatsapp conversations going on at any given moment. Also having a blog makes it easier to keep these visual postcard of our previous trips alive. I used to write in a journal when I was younger and now it’s just all online! 

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… talk to them! Honestly, as digitally connected as I am for work, my favourite moments are when I can communicate with local people who adore their home country. I want to hear what makes them tick and often this is done with curated, small group tours or on our own when we are feeling adventurous. Also visit any local coffee or tea bar and you’ll typically get a little taste of whatever is local, people tend to congregate in such places. 

7. Name: Saskia Balmaekers, Founder & Blogger at Ciao Tutti 

I live in: Amsterdam

I am… a blogger/writer, with Italy as my one and only love.

The thing I love most about my job is… being able to travel to all those beautiful places in Italy and to meet inspiring people who are so happy to share their love, traditions and food.

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… the little island of Ponza (Lazio).

Because… it is such a magical place. The rythm of island life, the colours of the little houses, the fishing boats dancing on sparkling waves, quiet beaches, fresh fish on the menu… Need I say more?

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… my e-reader, notebook & stroopwafels (the perfect Dutch gift).

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… whatsapp (and some photos on Facebook)

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is… to indulge in the very normal local life, following their rythm. Having a coffee at the bar early morning, taking your time for grocery shopping at the little alimentari, having small talk in the piazza… and ending up making & having lunch with some nonnas!


8 Vicky Hampton (aka Amsterdam Foodie)

I live in: Amsterdam

I am a… food writer, blogger, editorial manager, feminist and amateur chef!

The thing I love most about my job is… I can work from anywhere – at home or abroad. And most days I get to think about food pretty much the entire time 🙂

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Istanbul, Turkey.

Because… People are scared to travel to Istanbul at the moment because of fears of terrorism or political violence. But what I saw was just a city full of people trying to get on with their lives – and it’s pretty hard for them with their biggest industry, tourism, having nose-dived in recent months. I was also surprised that it was so easy to travel there as a woman – it was like any busy, cosmopolitan city: full of people from all walks of life, of all different religions and ethnicities, both male and female – it felt very inclusive. Oh, and did I mention the food? A-MAZE-ING.

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… ear plugs.

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… Facebook, mostly. And a friend of mine recently put me onto this postcard app called Touchnote: you simply upload your favourite holiday pics and some text to the app, and it turns them into a physical postcard that’s sent in the (snail) mail to your family and friends!

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… Take a food tour!


9 Name: Adam Groffman (aka Travels of Adam)

I live in: Berlin, Germany

I am a… traveller and a blogger 🙂

The thing I love most about my job is… getting to see new places and meet people doing amazing, interesting, diverse things.

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… the deserts of northwestern Argentina in Jujuy and Salta.

Because… I’m regularly traveling to city destinations, but for this trip I went out into the nature and the stillness, solitude and quiet was a welcome change.

I never get on a plane, bus, train without… a mild panic attack… I’m always afraid I’m forgetting something and I’m a notorious last-minute packer.

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… WhatsApp!

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… meet locals – however or wherever! 

https://instagram.com/p/BKvumHogUUX/


10 Nardia Plumridge, journalist and founder of Lost in Florence  

I live in: Florence

I am a… journalist by trade with a focus of travel, food and wine writing about boutique/chic/unique places around the world.

The thing I love most about my job is… that no day is the same; exploring is a way of life that works to my curious nature. People and places inspire me, so discovering both for work is a dreamy way to live.  

The destination that inspired me the most this year is… Puglia in southern Italy. 

Because… road tripping around the south coast of Salento eating fresh red prawns (shrimp) and swimming in water so turquoise you could be in the Bahamas was incredible. And they have their own ‘tarantula’ dance that is worth joining the locals at for a fun night out. 

I never get on a plane, bus, and train without… my passport and credit card. I am a relaxed traveller and ultimately know if you’ve forgotten something, say your toothbrush, you can buy one once you arrive at your destination. As long as you have your ID and money, the rest can be found. Though I am pretty good at not forgetting my toothbrush! I also like to travel with my own earphones and a cashmere eye mask for overnight flights plus a beauty bag filled with moisturisers and calming essential oils. 

I keep in touch with family and friends while I travel by… What’sApp. I love this tool to send images from my travels and make international calls. It’s ideal for both. 

The best way to experience a little local culture while travelling is to… eat where the locals do and eat what they eat. Street food stalls are a favourite place to start; people watch as you dine taking the sights and smells on offer. 

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Poolside kind of day #summerinitaly

A post shared by Lost in Florence (@_lostinflorence) on

Travel if and when you can. It truly feeds and enriches the soul. 

Signing off from Trastevere (with a travel bug that refuses to be cured),

Baci Maria  

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