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MJ Lopes

The Wondering Wanderer

Read MJ's Articles

Born in Rio de Janeiro, MJ must have been under a month old upon boarding her very first flight. Travelling became a part of her life from a very early age, which just grew stronger and stronger after graduating from high school and moving to Vancouver, Canada, where she went to University and where her backpacking history kicked off.

During the 11 years spent in Canada, MJ traveled extensively, and from 2006 onward, started documenting her experiences through travel writing, as a form of sharing the world as she saw it, to those who wanted to see it.

Her insightful personal observations from experiencing life in its most authentic form, through focusing in engaging in social interaction with locals as often as possible, along with a never ending analysys of cultural and human behaviour differences around the world, has gained her a fair number of fans, that follow her along as she continues on moving around as often as she can. MJ aims to inspire people to travel more, and if possible, getting out of their comfort zone, and opening themselves to the world and some of its hidden gems, not easily found through the more conventional forms of travelling.

MJ is a big fan of local markets and cultural manifestations, such as traditional live music and dance acts, and religious rites.

If MJ is not picking her phone is probably because she is:

  • Trekking in the Himalayas just before jumping off the mountain top, paragliding her way down.
  • Gazing at the most incredible starry skies, while camping in Jordanian or Indian deserts or while boat hitch hiking in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Trying her luck and putting her bargaining skills to the test in some of the most incredible middle eastern markets, mostly for social interaction's sake.
  • Sharing a cup of tea with nomadic families in Iran's wilderness.
  • Learning new magic tricks and songs with school children at a Palestinian refugee camp.
  • Digging around for jazz clubs or traditional live music.

Or simply chatting away, anywhere in the globe, sharing her experiences and learning from whomever crosses her path, with whatever they have to share and enrich her life.

But do leave her a message after the beep, and if it happens to be an interesting one containing either a new song or a random interesting fact most people would find uninteresting, she might even send you a postcard, from wherever on earth she happens to be!

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MJ's Been There Done That

  • Travelled to over 100 countries in all 6 continents over 3 decades
  • Hugged adult pandas in China
  • Walked among lions in Zimbabwe while camping in Africa
  • 2 trips around the World including a solo trip for 28 months
  • Travelled for over 4 months of continuous non stop hitch hiking through the Middle East and Eastern Europe followed by another 5 months of hitching in South America after a break in between, totalling over 30,000 KMs of hitch hiking away
  • Fluent in 5 languages and working on the 6th for the past few years

Recent articles by MJ

  • 10 Oct 2017
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  • Travel Story
Globetrotting away - There goes MJ!

Georgia - A world of wonders in a small country

Mountains, hilltop monasteries, the Black Sea, a fantastic capital city and much more. The wonders of this tiny Caucasus country are endless, and what made my visit yet more rewarding was just how small the distances were, making its many attractions easy to reach. I spent only 18 days in Georgia, and it felt like I had travelled to several different countries, for the landscape changed so much, so fast! An off the beaten track destination to look out for.
  • 15 Sep 2017
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  • Travel Story
Globetrotting away - There goes MJ!

Iran part III - On my own, the final frontier

The most thrilling part of my unforgettable Iran journey was perhaps the last stretch when I ventured on my own, ready to immerse deeper into its culture and customs. For six weeks I journeyed along traditional villages, vast stretches of undulating desert, jaw-dropping mountainous landscapes and urban hubs, observing societal roles, joining family parties and generally blending in with the crowd. It was the most unforgettable experience! One that made Iran my new favourite country ever!
  • 23 Mar 2017
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  • Travel Story
Globetrotting away - There goes MJ!

Iran part II - A road trip

The second part of my eye-opening journey through Iran took me beyond the capital to the barely trodden, yet fascinating sights of Qom, the conservative city of Kashan with its traditional houses, the pretty rural beauty of Abyaneh and the amazing ancient metropolises of Parsagadae, Naqsh-e-Rostam and Persepolis. To round it all up I also stopped by Shiraz, the land of poets and came across the mountain nomads of Firuz Abad. Read on to find out about all the adventures that awaited me.
  • 27 Feb 2017
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  • Travel Story
Globetrotting away - There goes MJ!

Tehran - A great introduction to Iranian culture, customs and hospitality

My first week in Iran opened my eyes to the charm of Iranians and the beauty of their cityscape. As I discovered its capital city and got acquainted with the local lifestyle, the landmarks and the helpful approach of the people, I instantly fell in love with Tehran and made life-long friends who I would come back throughout my two-month backpacking journey in Iran. Read on to see my first impressions on this highly underrated and misinterpreted destination.
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