Bold, daring and in your face is only one of the many ways to describe our March Traveler of the Month, Santa Barbara. This 36-year-old international opera singer born in Buenos Aires has a powerful voice that allures and enchants anyone who hears it.
She has toured two continents with her cat Inga and is currently singing with Valeria Pasina, a theater producer who describes her as her muse. Without music and travel, Barbara feels that her life would be empty.
Barbara sees herself as a citizen of the world, not identifying with any specific nationality. Her body is her canvas; her many tattoos tell stories from the jungle in Guatemala to Agora in Greece.
We asked this talented singer a couple of questions and this is what she had to say:
At what age did you realize that travelling was a passion of yours ?
I remember during a Sunday family lunch when I was 14, mentioning that when I grow up I would leave my country for good and travel all over the world as much as I can. I packed my suitcase when I was 20 and left to Guatemala and stayed there for 6 years!
I guess my passion for travelling began with foreign music (my father named me Barbara after Barbara Streisand, and that’s the kind of music that was playing around me ever since I was born…soul, jazz, blues…And not to mention my grandparents who came from Italy, Opera was never missing at home either!).
What was your most memorable travel experience?
For sure my most memorable experience was my journey in Guatemala (because it was the first one), I learned that there is a different world out there! It’s still the place where I met most foreign people from all over the world…from Russia to Germany, French, Americans, Japanese and of course, it was the first time I heard all the different accents in Spanish.
I could spend hours; I think even days mentioning details about my trips. Being an artist has allowed me to see many unexpected places and meet so many people. I find different cultures very interesting and I love languages, I’m always eager to learn languages.
What countries you have traveled to?
Argentina, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Greece, Italy, Rome, Ireland, England, Spain, France, Belgium
What is the biggest reward you get from travelling ?
Learning new languages, like Greek, which I love!!! Languages are a very important part of understanding a new culture, or even one’s own culture – we learn where words come from and what words really mean.
When I was much younger I really enjoyed finding myself in very crazy parties with a lot of strange people, but now my reward is Art!
All these paintings I had been reading about, all these Operas my Nona told me about, I can finally have them in front of my eyes, and that is one experience that cannot be top.
What do you think about the common perception out there that anyone who travels long-term and isn’t interested in settling down and are trying to escape life?
I never really cared what other people have to say about what I do, but if I had to answer that question I would say that traveling long-term is not escaping life, but trying to find it.
Of course we are all different and as some prefer to grow up and basically die where they were born, some others… we prefer to explore (the world and ourselves) as much as we can.
Do you think traveling can change a person’s preconceived ideas and discrimination they may have towards other cultures?
Yes! Before travelling I must be honest, I had a lot of prejudices, and the second day I arrived in Guatemala I landed up at a Jewish wedding, I was unable to go back home and was forced to stay at the event.
After a while of me sitting alone in a corner looking at everybody with a sour face, one guy, realizing my discontent, approached me with curiosity and courage…he, instead of being offended by my coldness, was rather interested in why I was not interacting with anyone…his approach and kindness led to a wonderful friendship and to a very big lesson in life.
I have always said that travelling is like seeing new colors, let’s say you grew up seeing and being taught that there’s only black and white, and with travelling you discover red, blue, yellow, green, grey…and the colors never stop…how can you go back seeing only black and white again?
What is your favorite destination and why?
I don’t think I have a favorite destination yet, I know there is a lot more to come!
Although going through all Greece visiting the ancient monuments learning about the history, mythology and philosophy is a fascinating thing to do.
Paris architecture and it’s cultural movement is also one thing I never get tired of exploring.
What advice would you give to women who want to include traveling in their lifestyle?
The moment is now! Don’t be afraid, just to it, and you will not regret it!
Don’t wait till you have the perfect plan, the right amount of money or time, or even a partner to do it with.
All the new experiences in your path will show you how different life can be lived, how many different and fantastic people you can meet. The different languages and cultures are out there.
Don’t carry heavy material or mental ‘things’ and be free, fell free to enjoy and discover the only life you got to live!
Where to next?
I never know, I always let destiny surprise me!