All That Glitters is Marina Purpurina!
Have you ever met someone who you just know is a magical person? For me, that was Marina!
I first met Marina at the StayOkay Vondel Park Hostel in Amsterdam.
It was a gorgeous, chilly morning in December. I was preparing for my day when I looked over at my bed. In the bunk beside mine, sat that radiant lady applying her eyeshadow. She was one of those people who not only shines, she sparkled! This could be in part from the glitter she uses for work, but I believe it is mostly because she is simply a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, cheerful hearted lady.
As is the tradition when you are in a room full of people with a similar interest (travel), someone will strike up the “Who the heck are you?” convo, and sweet Marina responded with something like “I’m Marina from Barcelona! Can I make you a balloon candy cane?”
I knew instantly that this lady was going to be awesome. When I decided to start a feature on women travelers, Marina instantly popped into my head, and I am so excited to be featuring her today!
Marina is from Barcelona, Spain, and is a face painter/ balloon twisting artist. She is a kick-butt boss lady, running a business she calls “Marina Purpurina”, which translates to Marina Glitters. Her job is always a party, providing adorable balloon creations and breath-taking face paintings for parties and events.
“I totally love being my own boss. I let my creativity run wild because my business is not only about painting and doing balloon dogs, it’s about standing out from the rest of the artists/companies and create memories that will last forever.”
During the Saint James Way trip, I slept in a hostel which was a room of maybe 10 people in and we all slept in there, I had the feeling of being part of a ‘family’ during that afternoon/night. I met them during different stages of the way and sharing that space made it even more special.
When asked what inspires her to travel, Marina says it is “the need of freedom. Here sometimes I get the feeling that you just have to work, work, work, just pay your bills. It’s a life full of obligations created by this consumer society. And I don’t like it. I want to travel to meet new people, to know new places, to do things that make me happy and to keep discovering myself and being astonished at the small things of life, keeping my inner kid alive. Sometimes I close myself off too much to others because I want to live my trip on my own and I think this has made me miss some great experiences.”
Pertaining to her hike on El Camino de Santiago/ The Saint James Way, Marina says “I wanted to recreate the same trip that I did 2 years ago after the breakup with my ex-boyfriend. See how my life has physically and emotionally changed (for good) and to appreciate it. To think and recap basically, to be proud of myself. This was an 18-day trip.”
Her past travels include England, France, USA, Canada, Italy, Andorra, Germany, Holland, and Spain.
Of all the places Marina has been able to visit, her favorite remains to be Ponte Maceira, in Spain, which she visited during her last Camino de Santiago trip. “That landscape was a paradise, like being in South America. I absolutely felt grateful and with the need of exploring it. It was my favourite place due to how good it made me feel.
“During the Saint James Way trip, I slept in a hostel which was a room of maybe 10 people in and we all slept in there, I had the feeling of being part of a “family” during that afternoon/night. I met them during different stages of the way and sharing that space made it even more special.”
The community and the interactions she made and felt with the other residents at this hostel have made it her favorite place she has ever stayed.
“This picture sums up the moment where I felt most proud of myself during a trip. It was taken in front of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Santiago, Spain. It was the end of the trip, the moment when after walking 47,68km for hours that day, and after almost 400 km walked total. It was after days of inner travel and having experienced different emotions, having met different people and discovered magic places. After all that, I just couldn’t care less about finding a place to sleep because I just wanted to treasure that moment and what it was meaning to me.”
As a female traveler, it is so important to always be aware of your surroundings. Marina shared a story with me about a time when she was afraid for her safety.
“I was in Sheffield (England), it was already dark and went out from the bus and walked on my way to the English family where I was staying for a month as a student. I was with 2 more girls of my age and suddenly we noticed there was a creepy man following us. I was completely freaked out. We started to run to our houses (my house was the furthest one from the bus stop) and told my English family the situation and the father and son went out with me to face that man but he had already left.”
Advice From A Seasoned Traveler
Marina was full of advice for ladies traveling for the first time. She says to “Just go for it. Leave the prejudices at home and open yourself to new good experiences. Don’t over think but be awake and aware. Don’t carry “just-in-case” stuff. Take just what is really 100% necessary. Also, I think we all tend to visit big cities and forget about the richness that small towns have to offer. It’s surprising!”
Up Next for Marina
On her next adventure, Marina would love to travel alone around the world but at the moment, because her business is taking off and she wants to take advantage of this situation, she prefers doing small escapes when needed. Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Nordic countries are on the list.
Want to follow Marina on her journeys or follow Marina Purpurina?
All Photographs provided and owned by Marina Bardaxi / Marina Purpurina.