Friday, September 13, 2013

Bad@ss Travelers - Leire López

Helloooo all you Viva My Yoginis out there - far & wide -


~Meet bad@ss travler Leire~
She's a Spanish beauty with more spontaneous travel stories than most anyone I've met. She currently works and lives in the Basque region of Spain (she speaks the oldest language in Europe!), enjoying life while musing on her next adventures and seeing where her dreams will take her next. She's not afraid to be bold, take the reins, and lead by example.

I met Leire through a mutual friend Jill. Jill was Leire's host mom when she lived here in the States, and a friend of mine from time spent in Key West and Montana. Leire and I have been penpals and mutual inspirers ever since! I love when she proposes questions like, 'Where is the balance between taking that first step, into the possibility of failing, versus living a life full of regret?'

Let Leire be a good example in having your intuition guide you, living versus merely existing
and that sometimes being at home is exactly where you need to be

Que disfruten!

What does the word travel entail to you?

Travel to me means peace and balance. Traveling has allowed me to see for myself that there are a million alternatives to the “go to school – university – get a job – get married – have kids – retire and die” way of living. That’s not my kind of life, at least not now, and it keeps me sane, balanced, positive and at peace with myself knowing that I don’t have to follow the crowds. I can do my own thing and I can do it wherever I want to!

How have you created your life around your travel & your travel around your life (and made it sustainable)?

Traveling has always been part of my life. I was lucky to have parents who owned a caravan and we travelled around Europe during the school holidays (*since she was 1 month old!*). I liked it and I wanted to do it long term, so at the age of 15 I convinced my parents to send me to the US for a year. Since, I have also studied and worked in Germany, England and Thailand (*and coincidentally speaks Spanish, Basque, German, English, & Thai*).

'When you make up your mind to go after your dreams & look for inspiration, 
it appears in different forms everywhere.'

When I finished my studies, I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted to have (in fact, I still don’t), I just knew I wanted to see the world. I’ve travelled short and long term and I’ve been getting different jobs around the world to make the traveling sustainable and to see if I figure out what it is that I want to do. 

What’s one travel memory that had a truly lasting effect, a total life changing or ah-ha moment?

When I was 16 and moved to the US, my American host family (*Jill*) had just come back from a 6 month trip around Central America. They spent part of that time living on a beach camp, working at the beach bar and surfing every day. I had never met anyone who was not stuck in a place with a regular job. To learn about their experience was eye opening to me and it completely changed my perception of life and what to expect from it.

What’s one thing that you love to do in any new place?

Find a local person to answer my countless questions about the place, their culture and their language and/or find a place to eat local tasty food.

What was a travel situation you found very trying & how did you pull through it?

Leire in Cabo Matxitxalo, Spain 

Being on a little island in a Muslim country during the Ramadan can be really trying. For a few days on Tioman, in Malaysia, the few restaurants and the shop would just close without previous notice. They’d open the shop for a few minutes some days, so we had to keep watch in front of the door to be able to buy some bread, canned tuna fish and water to survive on!

Also, like most travelers, I’ve encountered temerarious taxi and bus drivers… The worst, on an island in Croatia. I just laughed nervously instead of crying and soiling my pants as I looked down the cliff the road ran along and saw old crashed cars down there, while my driver was overtaking on a curve with absolutely no visibility way over the speed limit.

How do you feel you inspire others?

I hope that people see in me what I saw in my American family first and then in many other people I’ve met around the world: there is always a way to live the life you want and If I can do it, so can they. 

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

The feeling of freedom I have when I go someplace new and I have no particular plans and the amazing people I get to meet.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who feels stuck in their current life, afraid to take that first step?

I’d say there’s no need to be radical, if one is scared of taking a step, take half a step first. But do it, move forward in your own chosen direction. Living a life full of regrets will make you miserable and it will be immensely worse than any risks you may face when following your own path. Don’t let fear rule your life.

Leire (L) spontaneously backpacking in Iceland
How did you end up where you are now and where do you see yourself     going in the future?

Right now I’m home (Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain, that is – I can always come back here) and I have an office job. Not very exciting. For a while I forgot my dreams, I got caught up in the lifestyle I’m supposed to live according to western society. But a trip to Nepal last year (that would then turn into 4 and a half months travelling around Asia) and the inspiring people I met on my trip made me remember that I too had dreams.

I am now saving and getting ready for my next adventure. My next destination: The Canadian Wilderness! I’ve started taking horse riding lessons (and I’m loving it!) because I am determined to work with them and in the nature. Why not?!

A question from Leire for all you Viva My Yoginis out there:

What do you live for?  Are you leading your life the way YOU want it to go?

Meet Leire for yourself. Email her at:

Know someone you'd like to suggest as bad@ss traveler?
Email to find out more!

Thank you Jill!
For always being such a wonderful psuedo mama to us!
And for knowing to introduce such kindred souls to each other.
Namasté amiga.


  1. You always make me feel so special Jess! You are a beautiful person! :)

  2. This was really lovely to read! You seem like an inspiring person Leire! <3

  3. Thank you Coco! I'm happy you liked it :)