Interview Series, Edition 5
Allane Milliane is the subject for our fifth edition of the interview series. She is a Brazilian expat blogger living in Munich, Germany writing for Packing My Suitcase. Previously, we have interviewed Clare Laming of Monarch Butterfly Voyager, tattoo artist and world-traveler Amber Harris, Adrian Ann of Adrian’s Travel Tales, and Jenn Turnbull-Houde of Two Weeks in Costa Rica. In the series, we ask a handful of questions to female travelers and expats who can offer unique perspectives on the transient or foreign lifestyle. If you or someone you know falls into this category, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. The interview questions will be tailored to your specific story, as you’ll see below.
About Allane: Allane was born in Brazil but now lives in Munich, Germany with her husband, W, and her golden retriever, Enzzo. Apart from being an expat, she travels frequently with her husband and her dog, speaks five languages, and writes in both English and Portuguese. Read more about her on her website and check out the interview below.
SGT: You mention on your “about me” page that you speak five languages (Spanish, English, French, German, and Portuguese). Have you found it easier to integrate into a new country when you speak the language? What would you say is the best way to pick up a new language? Does being able to speak so many different languages affect the way you speak your mother tongue?
AM: I find it highly important to speak the language of the country you live in if you want to really integrate with the locals. When I moved to Germany people would speak English to me, but with time I noticed that the conversation was limited by the fact that my German sucked. It was pretty boring hearing everyone speaking German and laughing while I didn’t get anything!
I honestly believe that anyone can learn a language, for some it will be more difficult, for others it will be easier. The truth is that all depends on one’s efforts and motivation to learn the language. Listening and paying attention is the best way to start picking up a language. I also believe that reading is the key to improve it.
Speaking 4 languages in addition to Portuguese, really affects the way I speak my mother tongue! Sometimes I forget specific words, or sometimes I create new words where I mix German and Portuguese or English and Portuguese. It can be funny at times, my German husband often laughs at me when I say a weird Portuguese word that doesn’t exist (we speak Portuguese to each other). I guess that is the price you pay for having to memorize so many words in your brain. Hahaha.
SGT: You currently live in Munich, Germany, though you’re originally from Brazil. That’s a long way to go to visit friends and family! Do you find it difficult to make time to go back to see them? Do you see yourself moving back to Brazil in the future?
AM: Yes it is a long way, sometimes it seems like I am going from one planet to the other… just kidding. This distance makes it very difficult for me to go visit my family and friends, not only because of how far away Brazil is from Germany, but because flight tickets can be veeery expensive. I wouldn’t mind spending hours on a plane if I could get there cheaper than it actually is. Since I moved to Europe in 2011 I try to go once a year, however, last year with the World Cup the flight prices were outrageous, so I didn’t go.
I often get asked this question by Germans and Brazilians specially, but the answer is: no. I don’t see myself moving back to Brazil, at least not in the near future.
SGT: What is, in your opinion, the ultimate travel destination? What sets this apart from the ordinary tourist experience?
AM: This is a very hard question! I guess it really depends on what kind of traveller you are. For me, Raja Ampat in Indonesia and the Maldives are the ultimate travel destinations. Mainly because I am a diver and I am crazy about beaches and the ocean. I have been to the Maldives for my honeymoon and I would go back there every year if I could… as for Raja Ampat, it is definitely on my bucket list!
SGT: When you visit Brazil after having living abroad, do you ever feel as if you have outgrown your hometown? Do you ever find it difficult to relate to your friends and family who have not traveled as much as you have, or do you just fall back in with them like old times?
AM: Yes! I feel so different when I am there… I feel like they talk about things I don’t actually talk about when I am in Germany, and also that they worry too much about things that can be less complicated than they think. I don’t know, it is hard to explain… Germany and Brazil have different realities, and when I am in my home country I have the impression that I am able to live in 2 different realities. The good thing is that nowadays I can cope with both and be happy!
Many years ago, when I began travelling, this would have bothered me. Nowadays, of course I still notice the difference between me and some friends that haven’t travelled as much as I have, but I respect that and I understand that many people don’t have the same opportunities as me. I enjoy telling them stories and how different certain places are from Brazil, I love sharing my experiences with them and I can tell that they enjoy it too. I guess this is a way to inspire other people to travel there too, and I like that.
SGT: What is the most challenging part of living abroad? And the most rewarding?
AM: The most challenging part of living abroad is being away from my mom and my youngest sister. We are very attached and everything we do we share with each other. Of course nowadays we are lucky to have some awesome apps that allow us to speak for free with someone at the other side of the planet, but it is just not the same!
The most rewarding thing is to constantly learn about new cultures… how people behave, how they prefer things, how they see the World. I love observing that, it helps me to open my mind and to see the World in a different way.
Follow Allane on Packing My Suitcase.
Read the interviews with Clare Laming, Amber Harris, Adrian Ann, and Jenn Turnbull-Houde
Are you a female expat/former expat or permanent traveler who would like to be interviewed for Savvy Girl Travel? Get in touch.