Saturday Chat with Sandra from Tripper about Portugal and the Azores

Saturday Chat with Sandra From Tripper

I was so excited to post this week’s interview because I talked to Sandra from Tripper and I unwillingly made the questions very Portugal-centric. In all fairness, can you blame me? 😉

Sandra is from the Azores in Portugal, and has known since a very young age that the best way to express herself was through writing. Together with her husband Dhanish she has founded the blog Tripper and has a few more projects up her sleeve, all travel related of course. 

1. What would you recommend to someone who would like to visit the Azores?

Please make the effort to visit all the nine islands. Yes it will take some time and it will cost you some money, but you can’t fully experience the Azores until you visited all of them. I personally know three very well, and another two more or less. It’s fascinating because each island has its own accent and particular vocabulary, the customs vary, even food is different! For years the islands were isolated from the mainland but also from each other, and that adds so much to its diversity.

In each island you should take the time to explore and talk to the locals. Islanders are territorial (it’s a survival technique) but we also love to tell our stories to outsiders!

2. If you didn’t live in Portugal, where would you like to live and why?

I don’t consider myself to be a nomad but I find it hard to stay in one place for more than five years straight. For now I do though, because of my son who’s still in school, and because I found a house I enjoy calling home (we have the most amazing sunsets over Lisbon every day of the year, you can’t beat a view like that!). I’d love to spend some time in the US (we are torn between San Francisco and New York) and hop around some countries in Europe for one year. In the end, I love Portugal and I’m determined to show it off! It’s such an underrated country and I don’t know why. You have been here before, I’m sure you agree with me right? (Vlad: yep, totally! 😀 )

Sandra from Tripper in India - Saturday chat interview

3. What is the #1 destination on your bucket list?

I have a few dream trips and destinations in mind: walking the Great Wall of China, riding the Transiberian, visiting Nepal with my best friend (I think she and I would have the ultimate spiritual experience) and a road trip on Route 66 in the US. I don’t have a #1 though… I’ll tell you a secret: I hardly ever plan a trip! I have lists for everything else in my life, except travel.

4. How did you start your blog and what can we expect from the Tripper App?

The travel app concept came first, back in 2013, but I couldn’t dedicate any time or effort to it while having a full time job. I think that’s when, unconsciously, I started to plan my exit from the corporate world. After resigning, and while working on the app project, I started to write blog posts about our travels and they were meant to be published on the app blog once it was launched. Of course not all things are smooth and certainly they never work out as the Hollywood movies lead us to believe… We were stuck at design and at keeping it simple and clean, so both of us needed to step away from that for a few months and that’s when the blog began last June. Both Dhanish and I like to think of Tripper as a brand linked to the traveling experience, therefore many products can come from that… And there will be more news on that later, but for now some mystery is needed! 🙂

As for Tripper App specifically, you can expect it to be uncluttered, simple and user friendly. An app is a tool, it shouldn’t be a promotion medium for, say, travel agencies or travel boards. It should be something you know instinctively how to use, that has a purpose in your life (be it forever or for a couple of months) and that you would recommend to your friends (or like-minded people) based on your experience

Sandra from Tripper at the India Gate in Delhi - Saturday chat interview

5. What’s your favorite spot in Lisbon and what is one place always overlooked by travelers?

I love Alfama and Mouraria even though once in a while I find myself going back to where I used to live when I was in University, more in the “uptown” area (it really has “nothing” to see except my memories). I love those old neighborhoods because you can find all the traces of Lisbon’s History there, all the way back to the Roman Empire, and I’m a sucker for places that tell a tale! I majored in Portuguese Literature but had an Art History class for extra credit and I remember feeling offended when, in the first class, the professor said that words meant nothing, they could be manipulated and books would never be an accurate proof of an historical event; buildings however couldn’t be faked or edited without someone noticing. Even though I still don’t agree with him 100%, I can see what he meant when I’m admiring architecture.

It depends on the traveler, i.e. what do they travel for, but in the majority of the cases most visitors overlook the chance to know Bairro Alto by day. The neighborhood is often sold to tourists as a nightlife area, and it is a nightlife area with all the quirky and tiny bars and restaurants. But during the day it takes on a whole new persona, a totally different life of the locals going about their business and daily routines, which I think it’s always fun to see in Lisbon.

Bonus question: do you have any tips for someone who is learning Portuguese? (hint: that would be me)

I’m so glad you’re learning Portuguese!! Unlike what people say, Portuguese isn’t a difficult language to learn but it is a difficult language to teach. Mainly because our vocabulary origins from the Greek, the Latin and the Arab. So, in my humble opinion, you can’t learn a language without learning some of the History — just the basic events that will shed some light on certain customs and words. Then, in parallel while you’re learning all the grammar bits and pieces, be among Portuguese speakers as much as you can. If there aren’t any Portuguese speakers in your area, try TV shows or listening to Portuguese music. If you’re in a beginner’s level, don’t be shy and find kids shows in Portuguese or an educational app.

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