The makeup maven is known to live her heart out at every moment of her life. Making this her travelling mantra as well, Marianna Mukuchyan set out to explore a host of countries with her pals. She recounts her journey, her favourite parts of the trip, and her list of must-pack, which includes a great traveller attitude amongst other important things.

[Q] Where were you staying during your recent vacation?
I was in Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Portugal, Dubai and Ibiza around the 2020-year end. I was staying at hotels, friends’ places and Airbnbs.

[Q] Why did you want to visit these countries?
I love travelling and even a pandemic couldn’t stop me from visiting different places and countries. Travelling is extremely essential to me. There is such a big change of energy with each new destination, which affects my entire being and I need those energy changes all the time.

[Q] How did you prepare for your vacation?
I don’t really prepare much, but nowadays a COVID-19 test is mandatory before every trip. Other than that, I always check the weather of the place I travel to and pack accordingly, which includes having enough outfits for the beach to restaurants and night outs to activities/sports, as I always try to include all these things in each of my trips.

[Q] What are some of the must-packs when you travel?
– My bikinis and kimonos always come with me! I’m a huge kimono fan and can pair them not only for beachwear but also for going out.
– Accessories like hats, heavy chokers and all my other beautiful, collected silver jewellery including the feather accessories that I make. I believe that accessories complete and upgrade even a simple, basic look.
– Maybe a pair of fancy high heels if I decide to wear a dress, but most of the time I wear boots and flats.
– Of course, my little speaker for some music under the stars or on top of a mountain after a hike.
– Gym/sportswear for some outdoor activists or yoga classes.
– Sunglasses and sunscreen.

[Q] Is there anything you wish you’d done before you left home?
Manicure and pedicure! It’s important to have your hands and feet always in form, and ensure that my root touch up is freshly done as well so I don’t need to worry about that on my vacation. (laughs)

[Q] How do you reach your destination and then to your hotel/resort?
I usually take a taxi from the airport to the hotel/Airbnb. But this time, my friends picked me up when I visited them in Italy. When I landed in Portugal, we had rented a car and drove it ourselves to the hotel. It was the same when I was in Dubai. In Ibiza, my friend picked me up from the airport.

[Q] What is the first thing you do when you enter your hotel/resort room?
I usually always unpack first. I like to have my things in place and kind of set up my home space for the next few weeks that I will be spending there. So, I make sure all my essentials are in the bathroom and my clothes, accessories and shoes are in place. Then I take a shower and get ready for some lunch or dinner, depending on what time I landed at my destination.

[Q] What do you do during your stay there?
I always make sure I have a good mix of lovely restaurants for lunches and dinners and some activities like hiking and yoga or other sports. I also love to visit museums and, of course, need to see some historical monuments. In Dubai, I went to some digital art museums and desert cycling; exploring the mosques and markets in Turkey; visiting monumental places in Italy and Hungary; museums, restaurants and beaches in Portugal; visited the hot springs in Tuscany and the Balaton lake in Hungary; and went on some beautiful hikes and did some yoga in Ibiza.

[Q] What are the activities or must-see’ or must-do things that you missed doing while you stayed there?
I am usually very active, so I make sure I really get the most out of each 24-hour day. It’s always good to try to see as much as possible of the place you visit. So, when I visited Italy or Hungary, I was making sure I explored the city (Rome and Budapest) but also took the chance and visited places out of the city like Tuscany (was especially in love with the hot springs in Tuscany) and the Balaton Lake in Hungary. It’s a completely different vibe when you step out of the big cities and explore some countryside of the places you visit. In Portugal too, we ventured off and visited some far-off beaches. What I missed doing in Dubai was skydiving. Dubai also has some areas with many man-made lakes that I really wanted to see but didn’t have the time for. Other than that, I think I took the most out of every place I visited, from visiting yummy restaurants to the beautiful museums and monuments and the countryside.

[Q] What local cuisine did you try?
I always eat the local food wherever I travel. From the typical homemade pasta dishes and cheese and wine in Italy to typical Hungarian food and Turkish delicacies. One of my favourite foods is Arabic food, so I had to try those!

[Q] How did you document your trip?
I love documenting everything on my phone and Instagram stories, so I took a lot of pictures and videos.

[Q] Your favourite memory from the holiday?
There are so many of them! Can’t pick one. Travelling warms my heart and so I’m always really happy.

[Q] Who is the most interesting person you’ve met during your recent vacation?
That’s difficult to say, but I met some really cool people in Turkey (Istanbul). I was very surprised to meet such beautiful, open-minded, cool and young people in Turkey.

[Q] What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned from your latest travel?
Everything is temporary. Enjoy each and every moment, place and company!

[Q] What was the most challenging thing you’ve done during your recent vacation?
Driving in Dubai was super challenging for me as the roads are very confusing. If you take one wrong lane or exit then your journey doubles in time. In Tuscany, it was challenging to get my friends to not be lazy and get into the car at 3 am to drive to the hot springs in the middle of the night, but it was so worth it! We were sitting in the hot water and watching the stars until the sunrise. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my trips!

[Q] What would be your piece of advice to other travellers when they visit this place?
Don’t stick to touristy things. Yes, definitely see some important historical places when you visit a place but connect with the locals there and try out new things. Eat local food, take invites from locals, explore nature and check out outdoor activities that the place has to offer!

[Q] Do you call yourself a traveller or a tourist?

[Q] What kind of packer are you – light or heavy-duty?
Heavy! Always pack way too much for all kinds of cases. (laughs)

[Q] What are your travel essentials?
Beachwear, kimono, accessories and boots.

[Q] How many gadgets do you carry while travelling?
Just my speaker and headphones.

[Q] What has been the most useful travel item you’ve bought?
Neck pillow and headphones.

[Q] What’s the most reliable source of travel advice?
My smartphone.

[Q] What’s the most important thing that you’ve ever lost on any of your vacations?
Passport and wallet.

[Q] Do you prefer to walk, take public transport, or take private transport during a vacation?
I love walking or renting a car and driving.

[Q] What’s the best souvenir you’ve bought?
Some kinds of local foods.

[Q] Would you rather see a lot of places or get to know one really well?
I would see a lot of places.

[Q] What is your dream travelling experience?
The Burning Man festival.

[Q] What, according to you, is that one most clichéd thing to do when on a vacation?
Take a picture in front of typical touristy, must-visit places like in front of Eiffel Tower etc.

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