Meet ImpacTrip Team: Programs Quality Manager

24th June 2020

Mariana Moura is our programs quality manager. After being local coordinator in Lisbon and opening Barcelona's programs she is now the one who ensures that all the programs have the right impact on the non-profits and volunteers. She has a person-driven and empathic personality always making sure everyone around her is comfortable and happy. Besides her job is more at the back office supporting all the local teams, you also can have the chance to see her around at your volunteer placements or at the accommodation.

3 curiosities about you (1) I cry very easily in movies (and always try do hide it) (2) I’m a latin dances addict (3) I brought home an abandoned dog with 4 puppies (we didn’t know that yet) when I was 13 years old. Since that day, my mom has managed to now reach 23 rescued dogs and more than 30 cats at her home!

Describe yourself in 3 words: "Active. Curious. And idiot (wait, wait… in Portuguese, we use to call “idiot” to those who are always giving “ideas”)"

What does traveling means to you? "To explore, connect, encounter, evolve, inspire, and get inspired. To soak in and integrate. To understand what’s around us and our place in the world – who we are, where and why we are and want to be."

Why did you choose to be part of ImpacTrip Team? "I believe tourism is one of the most powerful tools for a sustainable development, when done in the right way."

The most remarkable moment for you at ImpacTrip: "About two years ago, I welcomed a family of a mother and 4 kids in the Food Rescue program, in Portugal who had been traveling for 6 months already around the globe. Then, they went to Algarve for a weekend came back to Lisbon, where I picked them up again at the train station. When the little girl (about 7 years old) saw me at the platform, she ran to me and hugged me. Later in the evening, I was talking to their mother who was sharing how she usually questions and explores with the kids how the trip is affecting their views and values. At some point, the mother told me “this afternoon my little girl told me that today she realized that “home is not just where I have my bed, but where I have people that like me and take care of me… people who I also like, and so this afternoon, when I saw Mariana at the train station, I felt home”. Tears still get to my eyes when I think of her and this moment."

What is for you the biggest challenge in the tourism sector nowadays? "In the past years, we have seen how the increase of tourism has been negatively affecting the communities and the environment, not only because people are careless but because of the lack of options available. So, as I believe tourism rates will continue to increase, the biggest challenge is both to educate and raise awareness of travelers and to work on different and impactful ways of doing tourism. This way we will be able to lower the pressure of tourism in communities and the environment and instead taking those human flows as an opportunity for development."

The most unforgettable experience abroad and why? "I can’t choose one! But amongst all I can think of, probably: witnessing the indescribable national moaning in Cuba when Fidel Castro died, as it was in the middle of my two months there; working in the USA for 2 months and doing a road trip afterwards, crossing 26 states in 1 month over more than 10.000 kilometers, which allowed me to see how incredible different the states and their people are; and going across Haiti and witnessing the deepest poverty I ever encountered but also the most extreme social differences."

The 3 things you admire more in people: "Passion; Authenticity; Compassion/empathy"

What's your favorite travel time and type? Nature/City? Hot/Cold? Beach/Mountain? "Hoooooooooot! And then anywhere where I can explore new cultures and ways of living and thinking… always with the beach and nature nearby"

Three things you always take with you when you travel: "Openness. Both beach and mountain essentials (you never know where you end up). And a mini blender, when traveling for a few months" and three things you never take with you when you travel "My computer. My mom’s advices not to travel alone. All gear one shouldn’t forget (those you think “how could I forget this?)"

 Leave your motto "Eat your greens"