Gonçalo Cadilhe

Feira Livro do Porto 2010

© Gonçalo Cadilhe

He is a Portuguese travel writer who has published ten books and has documented some of his travels in three television shows. In this interview I tried to know more about the way he intensely lives while travelling all around the world. 

How and when did you begin living “in transit”?

In 1993 (in a professional way) after writing my first travel article for the extinct Grande Reportagem.

In the last few months where have you lived (for at least 2 days)?

Excluding small towns (with less than 30.000 inhabitants) and villages: San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Coolangatta, Byron Bay, Sydney, Manila, Jakarta, Padang, Katmandu, Goa, Bombay, Chiavari, Figueira da Foz (Portugal), Jeffrey’s Bay, Cape Town, Windhoek, Livingstone and e Maputo.


Moorea – © Gonçalo Cadilhe

Is Figueira da Foz (Portugal) your “safe harbor”? 

It’s my safe harbor and my harbor for affections. I always return to the initial position.

And what makes it your home and not any other place?

My roots. And a flat that I have there, exactly because it is my hometown.

In what type of places do you usually accommodate yourself in?

If I can choose, I will pick for backpackers houses which have shared kitchens. Usually I stay in someone’s home who I met before while travelling.

In all of those places that you mentioned before, what is really the appropriation and comfort degree you establish while there?

There is no straight answer to that. I can go from a dorm with ten other backpackers, to a tent located on a trekking path, to a chalet in the garden of some wealthy friends, to luxury hotels in countries with devalued currency where I can afford to stay in them.


Arugam – © Gonçalo Cadilhe

Which objects do you usually have with you?

Credit card, toothpaste, laptop and camera, surfboard and/or guitar, several books…

Are there things that help you transform each place where you stay in a place that is more “personal”?

Yes, a pair of portable USB speakers that allow me to listen to jazz and classical music stored in my laptop. It’s so rare to have that type of ambiance while travelling that, to find it in a hotel room makes me feel like I’m close to my “home sweet home” idea.

I imagine that while in intense transit there are things that are difficult to maintain.

My footwear in good conditions.


Indonesia – © Gonçalo Cadilhe

Does the way you live your home depend more on the house itself or on its context, on its surroundings?

Well, it depends on the house, and in a more wider scale it depends on the fact that my home is located in the city where I was born.

Is there any alternative to hotels and hostels for people who are moving regularly?

Beyond some home exchange possibilities which I have never used (I have no knowledge about its efficiency) I think that the regular returning to the same destinations and the establishing of solid friendships can permit alternatives to hotels. In my case Chiavari in Italy and Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa are two good examples.


© Gonçalo Cadilhe

In the end, what role does your home have in your professional life?

It’s a sort of Nulla Osta stamp which authorizes me to close a door on a specific travel project and start the planning of a new one. Returning home, putting the books back into the shelves, reuniting with family and friends, it has that symbolic power of separating in compartments my travelling projects.

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