Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Brazilian traveller and writer Igor Galli. You can read more about this true adventurer on his personal website, available in both English and Portuguese.
Igor, tell us something about your early years and how you developed your interest for travelling?
Well when I was fifteen years old, I decided that I don’t want to stay in one place. So, I started studying languages: Spanish, English, Italian, French… Then I started studying tourism, I graduated in tourism, and when I was twenty-two years old, I went on my first trip to Europe. The world was too big to stay in just one place!
Tell us more about Igor the person.
Well I come from the centre of Brazil, from Goiânia, the capital of the state of Goiás, from a middle-class family. Everybody thinks that I am rich, because I travel that much, but it’s not true. I have worked very hard to get where I am now… For example, in my first job, I worked for free! For a few months, just to gain some experience, and then I quit that ‘free’ job to get another one for minimum wage. Actually, half of the minimum wage for few months, then for one whole Brazilian minimum wage! So, my early life was tough, very hard. After that, I moved to England, where I worked as a waiter for six years. Ten hours per day, seven days per week, no day off! Saving money…in order to then be able to experience the world.
Igor, you are now the author of several books, tell us about them, when did you start writing and what are they all about?
Well, my first book is being printed at this moment, and in February, we will release three more books. My first book is ‘The Best Cultural Attractions in the World’’, I have thirty-three categories like: palaces, castles, cemeteries, mausoleums… Which I divided in top five, top ten, top fifteen… And in total the book has 364 pages and weighs a kilo! This is the cultural book, while the second one is on nature. So, it will be my best beaches, caves, treks dives and other natural aspects. The third book is thirty stories of my life. In those stories I wrote about the many times I almost died on my trips, about many people who died in front of my eyes and people I saved from death… So these are thirty stories from my trips in Iraq, Iran, Mali when the Ebola outbreak occurred… And the fourth book is a kind of an autobiography. It took me ten years to get the first two books written, and they will be available in both Portuguese and English.
Igor, you are one of the very well-travelled Brazilians and Latin Americans, right at this moment you are ranked 54th on Nomad Mania. Considering all the places and countries you have been to, which one surprised you the most, in a positive way?
If I need to choose just one place or attraction, it would be Iguazu falls, and it is not because it is in my country, it is just because I prefer nature. And, I think that waterfalls are one of the most majestic things in our planet, and Iguazu falls are the biggest in the world by far! You can take a boat and go almost in the falls… You can also take a helicopter and see everything from the top. And those are the most beautiful things my eyes have seen.
If we are talking about countries, it is very difficult to decide on just one, but I can choose a region. Or regions. So, for me, the best regions in the world are Southeast Asia and Latin America. They are both warm, with wonderful nature, they have good food, they are cheap…
And were they any you feel more negative towards?
Well, I don’t like to say negative, but if I need to say which countries I like the least, I would say Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. I did not feel like I have much to do there.
Based on this, what were some of your most memorable travel moments?
If I need to choose the most memorable one, it would be the one when I lived with a tribe where white people can’t go. I went there because two months earlier I met Emma in the Gili Islands in Indonesia, and we fell in love. At the time of my arrival, she was taking care of English courses for three tribes from the Northern territories in Australia. She was the only white person there. So, I needed to marry her, and I did. Then I stayed there. It was great experience, I learned a lot.
Unfortunately, Emma died in the MH17 plane crash over Ukraine.
Have your profession or nationality shaped your view of the world?
Of course, when I say that I’m Brazilian, it is like opening up an invitation! Everyone is always like ‘oh, football, dance!’ People are always really happy when they hear that. So, I’m always very welcome anywhere I go, and at the same time it makes me really happy. And my profession is connected to my travels, I write books and give speeches about travels around the world, have my blog as well, and I give coaching… So, my travels and my profession are shaping each other.
And what about your future plans?
I think now, in 2018 I will travel more to Africa, because I have done all the countries in the Americas and Europe, and am just missing eight countries in Asia. But I have done only seventeen countries in Africa. So, I will now travel around Africa and I’m thinking of finishing my master and PhD degree in tourism in Sweden. But I do not know what’s going to happen, you know. I like to say that you need to plan about visiting place as if you are Japanese, but when you arrive at that place, you need to be more of a Brazilian.
Finally, a question we always ask – if you could invite four people from any time of human history to dinner, who would you invite and why?
Oh, four guys for dinner! Good question. I’m bit of a nerd as well… So, I can imagine Einstein. And if I were given the opportunity I would really like to talk with James Brown. I love dancing, and I think he is the best at dancing. In terms of motivation and inspiration in life, I really admire Muhammad Ali. And if I have to get into history, I would love to talk with some of the greatest conquerors like Napoleon or Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan… I would like to see their perspective on ‘conquering countries’…
The photos in this interview are from Igor’s personal collection and we thank him for sharing them with us at NomadMania!