Introducing Diana Bernardo
I am 32 but I’ve had many lives. At 22 I was a reporter in Paris, at 27 a hotel receptionist in the UK, at 30 a travel vlogger in Europe, and now a Business Analyst in Budapest. And that is cutting the story short.
This goes to say that, depending on when you read these words, some of them might be already outdated. But some things never change, and that is what I will focus on here.
My parents say that, at the age of 2, I used to correct my granddad when he spoke. He was a countryman with a wide range of skills, that didn’t include speaking properly. And, apparently, even at that young age, I was already an annoying little bastard, with an inclination for words.
That never changed. I grew up reading and writing. From diaries to poetry, from short stories to theatre plays. It was always “my thing”, although I never thought of making a job out of it. But when the time came to decide what to study at university, I chose journalism because my best friend did too. I have always made life decisions in the most ridiculous ways.
As I entered my 20s, I became more and more interested in exploring the world, trying out new things, and spending my time living rather than writing about life. Slowly, my writing hobby faded out.
I grew up going on road trips with my family. Every summer, we would fill up our van with half the contents of our home and hit the road. We always had a vague plan in mind, but never knew exactly where we would end up. We saw every corner of Spain like this until we decided to explore further. In 98, at the age of 10, I went from Portugal to France by boat. A plastic boat that my parents put on top of all the stuff in the back of the van. You see, there were only 3 seats, and 4 of us, someone had to go in the back. We broke every safety rule, but we also broke my fear of the unknown forever.
I take this as the most precious lesson that my parents ever taught me: the world is mine. I have been applying it all my life. I traveled with my family, with friends, with partners, and alone. Nothing else gives me as much joy than discovering a foreign place, its people, culture, history, and soul.
I have also explored another form of “travel”, living abroad. Although being a completely different experience, it also allows for this constant state of being challenged, and learning about myself, others, and the world.
From Portugal, I moved to France, then to the UK, and I have now been living in Hungary for 2 years. I have no idea if I am done with this hopping around or not. I also don’t need to know now.
I never knew what I wanted to do in life. As I said, I studied communications and started my professional life working as a journalist. But all my life, I have seen my parents working hard on the business they built from the ground up (they make cakes!), so I never really believed the corporate career was for me. I am too much of a free soul. I believe in doing whatever makes you happy at the moment, experimenting, and taking chances.
So at 25 I quit my well-paying job in Paris and started a period of “doing whatever the heck I wanted”. I created a biography writing service, I worked in communications as a freelancer, and I went traveling full-time while making videos about it. I had a lot of fun. But then I got tired. Or older.
So, I decided to do something that had been in my mind for a while: get a job in IT. I packed my bags again, moved to Hungary, and enrolled in a programming boot camp. I found a job after, and now I have the corporate life that I never believed in. But you know what, most days I am happy. Others, I just want to hit the road, but there is one thing making sure I don’t, for now: coronavirus.
Medium: a Casual Love Affair
I first wrote on Medium when I started the programming boot camp. I wanted a way to differentiate myself when the time would come to look for a job. A friend suggested I could write on the platform to document my journey during the course, so I started publishing an article every two weeks.
At the time, I used to hit “Publish” without ever submitting to publications. In fact, I didn’t know publications existed on Medium. And I was too busy with a super intense boot camp to understand more about the platform. Interestingly, those are still my best-performing articles.
A few months later, I had found a job in IT. It is decent, interesting, and challenging. But do you know what it is not? Human. As someone who grew up amongst words, being away from them for too long makes my soul cringe. I start losing the connection to what it means to be human, to the beauty of life, to the wonders of the world.
So, one day, almost without realizing it, I found myself writing again. I drew on my experience and wrote “I live in a country where I don’t speak the language and this is what I learned”. I published it here on Medium without any expectations, other than sharing a story with others. It was my biggest hit! So I kept writing, without any pressure, about whatever I felt like.
And then came coronavirus. You know the story, you have probably been through the same: quarantine, more free time…Medium!
Medium: a Committed Relationship
Since then, I have been writing regularly on the platform. Putting it simply, I write about everything I mentioned above. About my experiences and the learnings that came out of them.
I particularly like to write about travel, but I cover work, money, writing and life lessons too.
I have been publishing on Medium regularly for over six months now. It’s been an incredible journey! It taught me to write better, but also to be persistent and stick to my goals. But, most importantly, it reminded me of my long lost love for writing. Life has funny ways to put you back in the right place when you go a bit off track. I am now writing again, as I was always meant to be.
It’s a pleasure to take you with me on this journey!