From Cruise Ships to Entrepreneurship: The Inspiring Journey of Danni and Fede
Danni & Fede
Danni and Fede are a couple from the United States and Argentina who first crossed paths while working on cruise ships.
24th Feb | 11 min read

Table of Contents

    Danni and Fede are a couple from the United States and Argentina who first crossed paths while working on cruise ships. Today, they are the proud owners of a travel-centric company that specializes in providing travel guides, travel planning services, and handmade travel-related products to enhance your journey.

    Their journey began with Scratchyourmapa, an Instagram project that they started while working on cruise ships. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck and forced them to be apart for eight long months, they decided to take their passion to the next level and launched their website, Scratchyourmapa.com.

    Now, with an impressive portfolio of over 350 travel guides, a complimentary travel planner, a weekly newsletter, Lightroom presets, merchandise, and their innovative Travel Pillow Case, Danni and Fede are dedicated to helping travelers across the globe make the most of their adventures.

    Their mission is to empower others to explore the world and create unforgettable memories.

    Basaltic columns

    Join The GAFFL Newsletter

    Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.

    SUBSCRIBE

    How We Met

    We met at a crew party working onboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. We started to go out in ports together, and after our contract, Danni decided to fly to Argentina to meet Fede’s family and friends. Our second contract together we were in the Balkans, and were exploring a new country every day together between our long work shifts.

    In 2019 on our vacation between contracts, we decided to do our first big trip together, spending 6 weeks in South America. It was then that we realized we wanted to help other people be better travelers too!

    We started our Instagram and started sharing travel inspiration, as well as tips for people to save money and explore more authentically.

    It is to this day that we strive to help people be better travelers every day. We believe that no matter your situation, everyone should be able to explore the world.

    Blue lagoon, Brazil

    Escape the Crowds: Traveling to Warmer Destinations in Winter

    While most people flock to tourist hot spots in the summer, we actually travel quite differently. 

    During the winter, we typically escape to warmer destinations, and in the summer, we search for places that are a bit more off the beaten path. We love to escape the crowds and seek beauty in less popular destinations.

    We always choose certain events we’d like to experience and then start to base our trips around location and price. For example, we really wanted to experience Feria de Abril in Spain last May. So we spent our winter and spring in the Canary Islands and then went to Sevilla from there. After that, we found $6 flights to Morocco, so we decided that we would go there.

    Then Summer was approaching and we thought, “Where can we go? That would be different, but super fun for the summer?” so we decided to spend 3 months exploring the Balkans, which are a highly underrated area of Europe!


    Iguazu Falls

    When it comes to preparing for a trip, a lot goes into it. We are always reading blogs, scrolling through Pinterest, and saving cool spots on Instagram. We then make a list of all of the places. We would like to visit them and pin them to Google Maps. From there, we start to connect the dots and create an itinerary!

    For packing, we always have a lot of photography equipment, flowy dresses for Danni, and our laptops with us, so our luggage can get heavy pretty quick! It’s for that reason that we created the Travel Pillow Case, which acts as an extra bag for our clothes, but we don’t have to pay for it!

    The Never-Ending Bucket List: How Our Wanderlust Keeps Growing

    We have had so many remarkable experiences in the past few years, from our 6-week trip through South America to our road trip around the Balkans, and our recent month-long trip around Scandinavia. 

    We have fun everywhere we go, because we are always seeking unique activities, and love to meet people from around the world. Our bucket list is one that ironically keeps getting longer, even the more and more things that we end up ticking off of it! 

    Some of the things on the top of our bucket list are to experience an active volcano, swim with whales, go SCUBA diving, and sail to Antarctica.

    We’d love to see every country in this world, and experience festivals and unique activities from all over!

    Lagoonfest Texas, US

    Our Best Travel Experiences Till Now

    So far we have traveled to 65 countries together, and plan on seeing many more! Honestly, Central and South America both have so many underrated places. We particularly love Nicaragua, El Salvador, Suriname, and Argentina. El Salvador really surprised us with its cool landscapes and friendly people, and Nicaragua was like a more fun and cheap version of Costa Rica.

    One of our favorite memories of Nicaragua was doing a Sunday Funday bar crawl in San Juan del Sur. We met a group of five girls from Managua and partied all day with them. When we then went up to Managua, we stayed with their families, and they took us out to the best local spots around!

    Suriname blew us away, as it was such a blend of cultures, had incredible food, and was so green.

    Finally, Argentina holds a special place in our hearts. Not only is Fede from there, but we call it our home half of the year, and the more we explore it, the more we realize just how diverse it is.

    Glacier

    Favorite Experiences Of Meeting New People

    One of the amazing parts of working on cruise ships was that we worked with and made friends with people from all over the world!

    So there are actually a ton of countries where we get to reunite with old friends and experience the local gems with them at the same time. We’ve also met quite a few locals along our travels, who we later met up with in other areas of their countries.

    Nicaragua was one of them, and another example was in Georgia. We were glamping in Adjara and became friends with a girl from Tbilisi. Later, when we traveled to Tbilisi, we went out to dinner and explored the city together, and she even hosted us for a home-cooked meal.

    One of our wildest stories was when we first arrived in French Guiana. We had nowhere to stay and no car. A local offered us a ride to the car rental office, and on the way, he stopped and showed us some tourist points. We never actually made it to the car rental office. We ended up spending a full 3 days with him and his friends at their house, exploring the city, having barbecues, and partying in the rainforest. Some may think we’re crazy, but it's spontaneous moments like these that make traveling so fun and rewarding.

    Liberty State Park, US

    What Inspired Us To Start Our Blog

    For years our family and friends kept asking “when will you start a blog?”. We knew we could help people, and really wanted to! But life got so busy, and it was one of those things we kept saying we would start “later”. Well, when Covid hit, it was our moment. We were like “okay this is our sign. Let’s do this!”.

    We started to brainstorm an endless amount of travel tips, and gathered pictures and information from our previous trips. Now, we actually dedicate our time to speaking with locals, checking information, and bringing everything together so that other people can seamlessly travel and not stress about the little things.

    Our mission is to help people be better travelers. Whether it’s inspiring them to book their ticket, helping them find unique places, or giving tips to save money, we want to bring the world of travel to everyone.

    Abandoned plane, Iceland

    Difficulties We Faced Starting Our Lives As Full-Time Travelers

    We aren’t going to lie. It’s not so easy to just make full-time traveling into a lifestyle! It is scary, and it takes a lot of work and dedication. Just like anything, it has its glamorous moments and not-so-glamorous ones.

    Constantly repacking and missing family events are two things that we have had to sacrifice. However, with technology nowadays, and doing longer trips, each adventure gets easier and more fun. We are actually finishing an Ebook right now to help people become full-time travelers!

    How We Manage Our Work & Travel

    Working and traveling can definitely be tricky to balance. We have met a lot of creators who are all work and no play, and some vice versa! In order to sustain your travels, you do need to put the time in. It’s not a vacation, and it’s important to realize that you do need to cut back on expenses and save time for working.

    On the contrary, we’ve also met a ton of people who forget to have fun! Being your own boss can be overwhelming because there is no such thing as “I’m done with work for the day”. There is always something to do, and we could honestly work 24 hours a day. But it’s important to have that balance.

    What’s the point of traveling full-time if you aren’t going to experience the place you are staying? Set an amount of hours you want to work a day, and try to get work done during flights, car rides, train rides, etc. Work while you’re having your breakfast, or fit in times throughout the day where you’re not sacrificing a ton of adventure time.

    Black Sand Beach, Iceland

    Mobile Apps We Use While Traveling

    GAFFL is a great tool to use to help people get out of their comfort zone! I can’t express how many times we’ve heard people say they wanted to travel but they had no one to go with. Bringing people together is one of the greatest gifts of travel, and having an app to do that is something we should all take advantage of.

    Some other apps we also use are, Skyscanner for finding flights, Bla Bla Car for ride-sharing, and Instagram for meeting up with locals!

    We Are Budget Travelers

    While it may not look like it, we are super budget travelers. Some of the ways that we manage our costs are by setting daily and weekly budgets. If we happen to splurge on a meal one day, we’ll probably opt for the supermarket or cooking at an Airbnb the next. It’s all about tracking your expenses, and adjusting your budget accordingly.

    Canyon, Iceland

    Scams We Have Experienced Worldwide

    Some of the biggest challenges to traveling are when things don’t go as planned. Whether it’s bad weather, reservations getting canceled, or any other mishap, traveling won’t always go 100% as planned. The key is to have flexibility and a plan B. Give yourself extra time in each place, and don't let a change of plans ruin your day.

    Travel scams are another thing to be aware of, and unfortunately, they can happen in many places. In our experience, the majority of travel scams occurred throughout the Caribbean, South America, Western Africa, and Southeast Asia.

    I think our biggest travel scam was in Gambia. While traveling as a foreign couple, we were stopped by the police (no joke) every 5 minutes! They would ask us for money and, weirdly enough, our phone numbers. The key to not losing your money is to literally carry none on you, and have snacks to offer them instead (bribery is really big in the countries of West Africa).

    Skogafoss

    Our Advice For People Who Want To Travel Full-Time

    If you’d like to travel full-time, start making a plan! Pick a budget-friendly area, such as Eastern Europe or Southeast Asia, and travel slowly through one area at a time. Don’t let other people’s judgments and opinions get in the way, and trust the process! It won’t always be easy, but it will be the most rewarding and exciting thing that you’ll ever do. Stay tuned for our E-book as well! It’s coming up and will aim at really helping those who want to start traveling full-time, especially as creators.

    Cetina Spring, Croatia

    Things We Wish We Would Have Known When We First Started

    When we started traveling, we would go on big sites like Tripadvisor. Sites like these are honestly the worst! The fact that anyone can give an opinion on a subject drastically reduces the value of it.

    The best recommendations you’ll ever get are always from locals and travel bloggers. Stop falling for all-inclusive packages, massive tour agencies, and chain hotels. Your best experiences will be those small restaurants tucked away in the side streets. The best hotels will be family-run bed and breakfasts, and the best experiences will be simply by speaking with locals, socializing, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

    At Scratch Your Mapa we are constantly trying to improve and get the most local experience possible so that everyone can be better travelers.

    Horseshoe beach, Bermuda

    Join The GAFFL Newsletter

    Join our subscriber list to receive the best tips on solo travel, helpful travel guides, inspirational travel stories, and more. You can unsubscribe anytime with just one click.

    SUBSCRIBE