I love to meet locals and believe that sharing a friend in common is a great foundation to a friendship. I had met other travelers who had cycled from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro and had met a few Argentines on the way. On my arrival into Buenos Aires a few Facebook messages were sent, half a dozen beers sunk and two and a half years later, i’m still great mates with Franco Carrizo. Franco was eager to get to know me, an inquisitive soul, with the travelers mentality that only sees the good in another person and wants to explore their mind.
When you meet Franco, you can’t help but be drawn in to his large smile and larger than life personality.
Over the time that i’ve spent in Buenos Aires, we’ve had many conversations in both English and Spanish, sober and drunk. Not sharing a common language means many words go misunderstood, but we can always have a laugh and find another way, another word, to say what we mean.
Franco has many friends around the world. I can see how much he loves to meet new people, new personalities, new cultures and new experiences. This is what it means to be a traveler and anyone that is a traveler knows that the greatest part of visiting or immersing yourself in another culture, is to sit and talk to a local. In this new series, Get to Know Me, we at where2wander are showcasing travelers around the world, hoping to build a greater connection between us all.
Get to Know Franco Carrizo and follow along with his travels over on his Instagram page.
What made Franco Carrizo decide to start traveling?
Well, I am not totally sure, but I think that moving from my small hometown to Buenos Aires, showed me how big and beautiful the world is. Living in Buenos Aires allowed me to meet a lot of people- mainly foreigners, travelers and adventurers. All of them inspired me to travel and go out for new adventures. After my first trip, I couldn’t stop! Once you have travelled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. Travelers speak the same language, no matter where they are from.
Okay we want some good statistics. How many countries have you traveled to?
I have been in 19 countries and more than 60 cities around the world, 15 from Europe and 4 from Latin America. Well, 20 including my lovely Argentina – i’ve visited almost all of my own country.
What has been your favourite destination and why?
I have been in many beautiful places, it is really difficult to choose one, but Croatia blew my mind. It is an amazing country with a strong history, interesting culture and dreamy islands. Who cannot love the Adriatic Sea? I highly recommend you visit Plitvice National Park, Korčula and Hvar Island, and obviously the Pearl of the Adriatic: Dubrovnik (fans of Game of Thrones will thank me).
Nowadays we do love a good list. Our parents have a shopping list, but us travelers have a Bucket List. What are your top 10 bucket list destinations and which ones have you done?
Without any specific order:
London, UK – done
Barcelona, Spain – done
Dubrovnik, Croatia – done
Prague, Czech Republic – done
Iguazú Falls, Argentina – done
Machu Picchu, Perú – done
Riviera Maya, Mexico – done
Southeast Asia – not yet
New York, USA – not yet
East Coast Australia – not yet
Who you travel with can make or break the trip. Who do you usually go traveling with?
I’ve travelled in different ways- solo, with another person and in groups. All of them are very different, but I believe that we have to try it all before choosing one. When traveling with others, i’ve travelled with friends, but also with people i’ve just met on the road. I think if you are fine with yourself you can travel in any way, so although i leave Argentina solo, i always meet other travelers.
Aren’t you nervous about traveling solo?
No, I’m not. I like traveling solo because I enjoy spending time by myself and i’m more open to meeting new people. It’s so exciting to discover a place on your own, because you can prove to yourself how capable and independent you are. I am a big fan of these kinds of challenges.
Tell us about your last holiday?
My last holiday was amazing! I went to Mexico with a close friend and we travelled from Mexico City to Riviera Maya, visiting a lot of cities and small towns. We sailed up the Grijalva River, enjoying beautiful views from Cañon del Sumidero, walked and slept in the Mexican Jungle, near the Guatemala border and swam in a green Cenote. Finally, but no less important, we partied at Puebla City, San Cristobal de las Casas and on the white-sand beaches of Tulum.
At some point, the thought of home gets very overpowering. What do you miss about home?
I really miss my family, friends and of course, my mom’s cooking!
It’s always mum’s cooking! Okay, tell us about your life in Argentina.
At the moment I live in Buenos Aires, working for a health insurance company as an analyst. During the week I am very busy with work, but on the weekend I usually go for a run, work out and go out with friends. Buenos Aires has many cultural events, so every weekend there’s something different. One of my favourite past-times is to have mate (traditional Argentinean tea) in a park or plaza enjoying the sunset.
How do you prepare for your trips and what are some of the challenges you face whilst planning?
A friends advice is my favourite source of information; luckily I have a lot of traveler friends. I also love to read different blogs and articles about the places I am going to visit. If I don’t have many days overseas, i’ll spend more time planning my trip as i don’t want to lose time whilst i’m traveling.
My biggest challenge is combining my work and travel. In Argentina the worker holiday system is quite bad and unfair; a regular worker has only 14 days of paid leave per year. On the other hand, Argentina is suffering from very high inflation, so as our currency is weak, we have to save even more money to buy dollars and euros.
The world is full of differing cultures. More often than not, this can be quite a shock. Where has been your biggest culture shock?
Mayan and Incan cultures really impressed me! People from both cultures are strong and clever. They made their empires using only natural resources and nowadays they still keep their magic and secrets. Doing the Inca trail- four days of walking into the mountains before arriving at Puerta del Sol – made me feel deeply in touch with their culture and respect how strong they are. In Mayan culture, nature is extremely important; they respect and protect the environment, so walking and sleeping in the Mexican jungle was an unbelievable experience.
What advice do you have for other solo male travelers?
Trust your intuition, it never lies. My own personal values are respect, loyalty and kindness; and as a solo male traveler it’s important that you exert these qualities.
As travelers, we get to experience so many amazing things! What do you think is the greatest?
Definitely, it’s the people! Places, cities and landscapes can be beautiful, but if the people are not nice, it’s not worth it. I love and believe in people. The best part of travelling is meeting locals and other travelers, spending time together and learning from them. We come from different cultures and diverse backgrounds, but at the end of the day, we all want the same. For me, travelling means friendship, loyalty and love. Travelling improves myself and makes me a better person.
Tell us your favorite traveling story so far!
Of course it was going to be from Croatia. Well last summer, going from Hvar to Korčula Island with two Dutch friends, we met two Spanish girls on the ferry. After two hours talking, we became travel mates and decided to keep travelling together from there to Dubrovnik. Intelligently, our first group decision was to save our accommodation money so we could rent a car the next day and drive around the whole island.
Our first group decision was to hire a car and drive around the whole island. To save money, we decided that we would skip staying in a hostel and instead sleep on the beach. So that night, the five of us slept without sleeping bags and blankets, on a beach where of course it was not allowed.
The funniest thing was that we all woke up at 5:30am with many painful mosquitos bites, except me. I don’t know why yet hahaha maybe they don’t like my Latin blood… I still remember their faces and bodies, the bumps were hilarious. Luckily, our road trip around the island was one of the best experiences I have ever had, an amazing journey with amazing people!
Quick Fire Answers
Favourite Food: Asado (Argentinean barbecue)
Favourite Drink: Belgian beer and Colombian coffee
Favourite Country: Croatia
Favourite Activity: Travelling and Running
Biggest Fear: Rats and Bats
Hometown: Santiago Del Estero, Argentina
Franco shows that no matter where you come from, if you have an open heart, you will have an amazing experience. A smile will get you into a thousand more places than a scowl and Franco’s smile has gotten him around the world, meanwhile gaining many lifelong friendships.
If you’re ever in Buenos Aires, please make contact with Franco via his Instagram page. He would love to show you his city!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Get to Know Me. Click here to meet more travelers in the series.