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Djulia Montana de Veyra

Djulia Montana de Veyra - Author Interview

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Djulia Montana de Veyra is not your typical 20-something year old. A rebel chick in her own way, Tahna always makes it a point to do more than be different: she creates a new mainstream with her every move. A graduate of the University of the Philippines, Tahna is currently working as a content writer for GoAbroad.

"Think aromatic coffee, fine food and wine, great conversations, dreamy ambience, and nostalgic views. Such dreamland."

What's behind the name "Djulia Montana"?

I was named after my grandfathers from both sides of the family. My paternal grandfather’s name was “Julian” while my maternal grandfather’s name was “Montano”. Instead of just calling me Julia, my father decided to give it a little twist and added the letter “D” to make sure that people don’t call me “Hulia,” and so I could have a unique name (he had to endure an argument with the person-in-charge at the registrar’s office). They decided to give me that name because I share the same birthday with my paternal grandfather, Julian.

Aside from writing, you're also into volunteering. What inspires you to lend a helping hand?

I lend a helping hand because I like the idea that an empty stomach is fed, that a mother is relieved of worrying for her child’s needs in school, that children are getting the attention and affection they crave, etcetera, etcetera. Our little efforts can mean the world to the less fortunate. 

Who is the one person that influences you to pursue your dreams the most?

Actually, that person has not been born yet. I hate to be cheesy but the one person that influences me the most to pursue my dreams is my future child (children, really). I want to create a perfect little world (“our” beautiful little world) for the children that I am going to bring into this world (hopefully!). Of course, there’s no such thing as perfect but I can always try to give them the best. Allow me to stress the word “try” (hahaha). I am not all that great or skilled or talented, so I can only really do so much.

Of all the enticing countries in the world, which one entices you most?

France! I think it’s the most seductive country there is. I love European architecture. It’s my favorite form of art. I would not be exaggerating if I say that structures formed in the Romanesque, Medieval, Renaissance, Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau style get my blood going. I dream of visiting the Louvre. I can imagine how euphoric it would feel to see “The Raft of the Medusa” come to life right before my very eyes. 

I would love to stroll along romantic, lily-clad gardens, and explore iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. And I have always had a special liking for European castles, and would love to be in an actual historical fortress. 

And oh, let’s not forget the evocative cafe lifestyle and heavenly French gastronomy. Think aromatic coffee, fine food and wine, great conversations, dreamy ambience, and nostalgic views. Such dreamland.

Your writing style is intriguing, you know just the way to draw readers in within the first few sentences. What books or writers have inspired you to write about travel?

There is no particular writer or book that inspires me. Still at the risk of being cheesy, I would say I write from the heart. That is, I write with awakened sensualities. I don’t just think of the place, I feel it. Writing is much like art, how the writer feels is reflected in his or her writing.

Through your work at GoAbroad you’ve had the chance to write about a handful of countries and interact with travelers from around the world. What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about traveling through your job?

I used to think that traveling is just something people should add to their list of “leisurely” things to do. Through my job, I learned that there is a more meaningful side to traveling and that everybody must experience it. I would suggest that people add it to their list of must-dos. Put it along the lines of education and health insurance, if you may. 

You’ve spent a good deal of time volunteering with children in a rural village in the Philippines, what is one piece of advice you’d give to anyone beginning a volunteer placement working with children?

You must approach volunteering with genuine concern and a curious spirit. Your genuine concern will help you become more sensitive to the needs of the children. And a curious spirit will help you engage in meaningful conversations, fostering real connections. Approach the children like you would any individual that you respect. That is, listen to them. Allow them to be just their own true selves. You will be surprised by how much they are willing to open up, and to let you influence them.

You are the type of person that is perfectly contented on your own, but you of course also enjoy the company of good friends. When traveling, do you prefer to travel with friends, family, or all on your own?

I savour time spent with both my friends and my family, and can have fun with just about any kind of activity with them. I genuinely enjoy the company of other people, but there will always be that side of me that craves to spend time with just myself. I have always dreamt of travelling alone, but I would love to travel with family and friends just as much.

Where do you hope life will take you in the next 5 years?

To be honest, I am still trying to figure that out. I don’t want to be an unwitting snowman wishing for summer (Yes, this is in reference to the character of “Olaf” in the animated movie, Frozen hahah!). To put that into context, I always thought I wanted to be a lawyer, now I am not so sure if I really do want to be part of such a turbulent industry. .  an industry that could easily destroy me or the peace of mind that I hold dear. A greater part of me just wants to be surrounded by all things positive.