Photo Credit: Josefa Feitosa
Traveler Story: 'I Started Traveling In My 50s And I've Already Visited Over 50 Countries'
Josefa Feitosa is an Afro-Brazilian woman who spent 30 years working as a social worker in a female correctional institution in Brazil. After retiring in 2016, the now 61-year-old decided to embark on an adventure that was a childhood dream— traveling around the world alone. Now, she’s been to over 50 countries.
Born in a small town in Brazil’s northeast region, this Brazilian grandmother says that her dream of traveling around the world started when she was a child, and one of the best things she loved to do was watch people arriving in her city by train with her father.
“When the train arrived, I used to pull my father’s hand saying that I wanted to be a passenger when I grew up. Today, I’m making it come true,” she said. “The result of this dream is more than 50 countries visited across Europe, Africa and Asia.”
From experiences in the rice fields of the Philippines, Auroville, the city where people live without money in India, to wild nights in Amsterdam, and the beaches of Zanzibar. All of her adventures are posted on her Instagram page, where she keeps her friends and children informed about what she is doing during her travels.
Her first international experience, however, was through an opportunity to give lectures in Portugal about her social projects within the female correction institution.
“It was the key that opened my world”.
From Portugal, she ended up visiting other countries and had already found the courage to walk alone without speaking English, or another language. And it was in these wanderings that she was introduced to the accommodations shared by young travelers. She then started to plan her trips and save by staying in hostels, with the opportunity to meet more people from all over the world.
After her tour around Europe, Feitosa returned to Brazil to sublet her apartment, get rid of what was left and head to South Africa in March 2018. Since then, she has visited Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Egypt, Israel, India, Nepal, Laos and Vietnam.
“After raising three children, and dedicating myself fully to stressful and low-paid jobs, a relationship without respect and reciprocity, I decided to give myself pleasure and joy”, Feitosa said, adding that she covers her travel expenses with her pension and the money from her apartment rental.
The 61-year-old solo traveler also said that she started to save more, too.
She carries her own coffee and eats a lot of vegetables, avoiding a meat diet.
“Another tip is, before entering countries, try as much as possible to get used to the value of the currency, researching the exchange rate to make good deals.”
After seeing over 50 countries around the world, she has met some amazing people in the places she has visited. Feitosa revealed that while traveling in Southeast Asia, she met a Portuguese traveler who fell in love with her, and together they traveled through the continent for a while. But she says that she prefered to continue the trip alone, so the romance didn’t last long.
During the pandemic, she only traveled to cities in Brazil. But Feitosa wants to continue her international journey. Now, she is planning to explore Latin America as soon as countries start to ease restrictions.