Storytelling Podcasts

Wo/anderers is a curiosity-based conversation and podcast that explores the lives of internationals who have a special place for Romania in their hearts. Meet us at woanderers.com




Wo/anderers is a curiosity-based conversation and podcast that explores the lives of internationals who have a special place for Romania in their hearts. Meet us at woanderers.com




Ep.19: From volunteering to the art of the Romanian verse

Ever wondered what a syllable square is? What about a fib poem? And what do these poetry-meets-math verses have to do with Romania? Our latest Wo/anderers guest, JoAnne Growney from the United States, untangles all these mysteries by inviting us on her rich, artistic, and science-inspired journey. A professor of mathematics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, JoAnne brought her unique passion for math-infused poetry unknowingly to Romania when she first visited the country during a teaching exchange experience in Deva, Hunedoara. There, she started out by teaching English to middle school students at the local “Andrei Mureșanu” high school. But her experience in this new land expanded exponentially (alliteration intended) with the help of a group of Romanian mathematicians, who introduced JoAnne to a new world of unconventional math poetry from this side of the world. Together with her new friends and her dedicated students, she published the results of an elaborate translation project of Romanian authors such as Ion Barbu, Ileana Mălăncioiu and Nichita Stănescu, among others. JoAnne’s sensibility and love for her Romanian adventure also inspired her to write original poems about those unique encounters with locals and with the land itself from her visits, poems that she brought home, to the United States. Enjoy this creativity-first discussion with JoAnne Growney as she takes us on her inspired journey to Romania in this episode of the Wo/anderers podcast.


Ep.18: The Dao, the Brit and the Dacians

What is love? What is your soul? What mission have you come here, on this planet, to fulfill? These important questions have inspired Andrew Kenneth Fretwell from the United Kingdom to direct his entire energy into bringing their content closer to home. Or more specifically, as a spiritual space holder, he took it upon himself to help others connect with their higher, truer selves. Romania played a pivotal role in refining Andrew’s life mission, which is closely linked to the ancient Daoist philosophy, through the unique openness of its people and the deep sacred energy contained within the land itself. His entry point into the country’s heart happened through friendship, growing from one special connection to the other. Today, even after having closed his Romanian life chapter, Andrew still carries all the lessons and special moments he picked up from his 5 years in the country, not to mention that he continues living the Romanian spirit through his thriving relationship with his Romanian girlfriend. The legacy that Andrew left in Romania is vast, from introducing spiritual teachings such as the Gene Keys to touching people on a personal level with his example and mastery. Enjoy a light and lovely conversation about life’s deepest topics with Andrew Kenneth Fretwell in Episode 18: The Dao, the Brit and the Dacians of the Wo/anderers podcast.


Ep. 17: Awaken thee, Romanian

Romania’s history regarding its national anthem has been as knotty as its own shifting path, especially in the last 150 years. Top the status quo with a continuous mystery surrounding certain important past events, and you get the questions that Matthias Ruijgrok from the Netherlands has been asking himself, particularly for his dissertation back in 2015. A musician and trained historian, Matthias had become interested in unravelling the veil of enigma off certain places that felt so far from his own culture (and even land). He took advantage of his university years in Utrecht and Amsterdam to explore Romania, to which he felt an unexplainable attraction. The result of his curiosity is transposed in his master’s thesis, which dealt with the origins and evolution of the striking, solemn, yet vibrant national anthem, "Deșteaptă-te, române!". In Episode 17 of Wo/anderers, Matthias generously shares his research process and personal findings around Romania’s most important song.


Ep. 16: Calling on the ancients from Canada

What secrets does our past hold? What magic can be found in our ancient roots? Stephen Aube from Canada has taken these questions to heart and ended up transforming them into the prima materia for his life mission. He has travelled the world from Peru to Turkey, from Ecuador to France, to learn from treasure thieves, shamans, star readers, and historians everything he could about ancient civilizations. All this preparation led him to his discovery of the Getae and their advanced culture in the heart of Romania. But truth be told: he had no clue what adventures were about to unfold. Dive deep with Stephen into the ancient Dacian civilization and find out more about his efforts to revive the old giants in the memory of humankind in Episode 16 of the Wo/anderers podcast.


Ep. 15: Gene Keys magic in Romania

When spiritual teachings collide with scientific knowledge and ancient writings, that is what you’d call a breakthrough. Richard Rudd from the United Kingdom is no stranger to such a wonderful coming together, as he is the soul behind the Gene Keys, a wisdom-infused synthesis that helps people from every corner of the globe know more about themselves and the world. His encounter with Romania has a special seat reserved in his heart, since this is one of the places that have embraced the teachings of the Gene Keys so early on and so eagerly. Fast forward to the present day, Richard’s interactions with Romanians have been a cauldron of continuous growth and transformation for both parties. Find out more about how the people and the culture touched Richard, what he observed in the Romanian people and what are his hopes for this special place in episode 15 of the Wo/anderers podcast.


Ep. 14: No Limits in Jiu Valley

Felipe and Janelle Silva, the first couple on the Wo/anderers podcast from Brazil and Canada, started their Romanian adventure back in 2012, when they got involved in developing youth projects for children in Jiu Valley. Little did they know that their heart would not let them leave this corner of natural paradise and that this would be the place they would settle, and even where they would start a family. A dream of Felipe kept both of them focused and determined to remain in Jiu Valley, to strive towards their noble cause of putting together a youth climbing gym, where children could learn valuable life skills like will power, teamwork, discipline, and commitment. Many years and a huge collection of stories later, the Fără Limite climbing gym is a thriving, lively hub for the entire Jiu Valley community, a place that adds its much-needed good vibes to the place. Find out Felipe and Janelle's Romanian stories in this episode of the Wo/anderers podcast.


Ep. 13: British hope in the Romanian South

Not many can claim the experience of a simple Google search sending them off into the journey of their lifetime. But Claire Melinte, President of the “Asociatia Bunul Samaritean” in rural Galati, can certainly tick that box. And what an adventure she signed up for! Originally from the United Kingdom, Claire ended up in Nicoresti, Galati, as a volunteer for an international charity, which prepared her for her leading role that she shares with her husband at the Good Samaritan Association. Her Romanian adventure started in 2005 with plenty of culture-shock moments, but also with a big, heartfelt desire to help the people from the village out of their murky status quo. More than 15 years later, one can see the beautiful results of Claire’s patience and hard work, that she achieved together with the entire Bunul Samaritean team: many children from Nicoresti are being put through school and are supported in their educational pursuits, elderly folk are being well looked after, and those disabled in the village are finding a caring place to call home, most for the first time in their lives. This episode promises to warm your hearts up, a perfect treat for the beginning of the year. So open your ears, your curiosity and heart, and enjoy the show.


Ep. 12: The quirks, the crazies, and the Romanians

He has had some of the most profound conversations of his life with Romanians. Interacting with them also led him to want to go vegetarian for a couple days, see his life flash before his eyes #Romaniandrivers, and make him wonder what all those food jars are that Romanians keep getting from their moms. Vincent Joris, a Belgian-born, internationally-versed marketeer and branding expert, spends some time in this podcast episode analyzing the many quirks he noticed in Romanians. What he ends up describing is close to a fine, well-constructed psychological profile of the people, including many of their cultural and personal facets. So, sit back, sip some tea, and enjoy the conversation!


Ep. 11: Embracing beauty in Brasov

Elena Junc is a Russian entrepreneur, make-up specialist, natural perfume magician, organictarian, wife, and loving mom. She is currently living in Brasov together with her family. Her passion for aesthetics, design, fashion, and everything natural have gotten her to build her own make-up brand from scratch in Russia, which became a national success, put together special natural perfume lines, and consult world-class luxury brands like Prada and Dolce&Gabanna with their marketing actions. Now that she is in Romania, she is planning on exploring new creative directions by sharing her rich knowledge on living beautifully with the world, from this sweet place she made home. You will get a feeling about Elena's active demeanor after listening to her talk about her experience as an entrepreneur, her transformational journey, in which Romania played a big role, how her spirituality helped her push through tough moments, including when she met her husband, how she follows a mantra called beautology in her work and more. Please enjoy the conversation!


Ep. 10: Solitude and serenity from the Carpathians

Arabella McIntyre-Brown is a British writer and journalist with deep roots in West-Sussex and a profound appreciation for Transylvania, which has been her home for the past years. Her arrival in Romania was more situational than planned, but her journey let her discover much about herself and the world. And she made the best out of it. In today's episode, Arabella talks about what her definition of peace is and how she has found it in Transylvania, the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown in Romania, the similarities between Măgura and rural West-Sussex where she grew up, Romanians' dark humor, how she does not consider herself a storyteller despite her writing background, how she met President Iohannis, the revival of the traditional lifestyle in Romania and more. Enjoy Arabella's musings in episode 10!


Ep. 9: Adventures in Transylvania

Finding adventure, friendships, meaning, love, and a super-sweet cat called Sonia, all in the land beyond the forests, aka Transylvania. Julia's relationship with Romania is nothing short of rich, to say the least. She is a buoyant soul coming from Ukraine, who has explored much of what Eastern Europe has to offer and who enjoys connecting with interesting people on a regular basis. That is how she created initiatives such as Transilventures, a community of Romanians and expats who want to enjoy the best of what Transylvania has to offer. In this episode, Julia lets us know her thoughts on why she fell for Transylvania, what binds Ukrainians and Romanians, but what also sets them apart, what she thinks of pig roasting in Bucharest, what the challenges are to settle in Romania as an expat, and more. Get your chill mood on, it's podcast time with Julia Leescu!


Ep. 8: Hope with an Italian twist

Matteo from Italy, or Matt for short, is a youth worker and writer with a passion for positive change. A gentle young man, Matt's purpose is to create the space for personal transformation especially around children who have less hope for life through art, travel, and non-formal education. He found himself in the summer of 2019 in Romania, teaching empathy, compassion, communication, and self-discovery to different age-groups in the village of Haghig, Covasna. The ride so far has had its challenges, from finding out a way to gain the children's trust, although he didn't speak their language, to dealing with harsh discrimination against the Roma community (even from the Roma community itself). Listen to Matt's thoughts on the benefit of non-formal education for these kids, how he dealt with his first months in the country, how is it to work in rural Romania, his experience at Romanian funerals, and more. Please enjoy the conversation!


Ep. 7: Know thy neighbour

Bulgaria and Romania share so much history, so many cultural aspects, and even words (hello zacusca!). And yet, these two nations seem to have gone their own way, on a different path from one another. Instead of studying the tidbits of some far-away land, today we take a closer look at Romania's old neighbour through the eyes of Stefan Nenov. A young marketeer and aspiring entrepreneur, Stefan has not lived in Romania, but instead, has gotten close with the Romanian people and culture, especially through work. In Episode 7, we dive deep into the common past shared by the two countries, what connects the two cultures at their core, what both Romanians and Bulgarians should learn about meeting their potential, and what actions both could take for a prosperous future. Enjoy this rich conversation with Stefan!


Ep. 6: Latvian Mom Meets Transylvania

Alisa State has always exuded a crazy love for life. She cannot live too far away from nature, she's always on the go, and has more than enough energy to love and care for her beautiful Latvian-Romanian son as a single mom in Brașov. She didn't know much about Romania before she decided to change her life forever. But the decision to explore and make Romania her home remained one close to her heart. In this episode, we dive deep into Alisa's love for the Romanian customs and traditions, her hope for its society, what makes Transylvania so great, the Romanian education system, and what Romania can learn from Latvia in dealing with its communist past. Listen to all of that and more in episode 6 of Wo/anderers. Happy audition!


Ep. 5: From Vienna, with love

Love is the magic word for the first wo/anderers podcast of 2020. You will hear it come back again and again in today's episode, because love represents the glue that binds together all of the dreams, aspirations, and experiences of our podcast guest, Damita Pressl. She is a Viennese woman to the core, with dirndls, Waltzing Balls, and a typical cosmopolitan attitude to match. She found out about Romania from Harry Potter, but it was love that immersed her in this culture for good. In today's special New Year's episode, we will talk about Damita's love for Bucharest, why she thinks Romanian is an easy language to master, political corruption, the Colectiv case, and more. Enjoy the conversation in Episode 5: From Vienna, with Love


Ep. 4: A little Hindi Christmas

Take an Indian young man out of his hometown of 5,5 million people, and drop him off in Romania's Pitești. Add some local teenagers, Romanian buses, tough pălinca moments, and heart-warming life lessons from your next-door Romanian grandmother and you have the perfect recipe for the adventure of a lifetime. Abhishek Pandey, or Panda for his friends, knows all about Romanian adventures that change you. Currently working in the banking sector in Poland, Romania prepared Panda more personally than professionally. He came through a volunteering program at the age of 18 from India to Pitești, being drawn in by the educational impact that he could have on teenagers as a trainer. Little did he know he would end up falling in love with the country's people, its hospitable culture, and its lessons in what it means to be human. He also was impressed by how important Christmas is in Romania. Listen to Panda's journey through Romania and get some Christmas cheer with episode 4 of the Wo/anderers podcast!


Ep. 3: First times change you

Imagine an old man, taking care of his little coffee house next to the beach, talking to strangers and getting to know them better. This is Luis Garcia's dream, inspired by his first out-of-the-country experience that took him to Romania. The Belgian-born, half-Spanish-half-Belgian is still in his early 20s, but is already aiming to achieve his dream of living life in a laid-back, relaxed manner as soon as he can. Straight after finishing highschool, Luis decided to adventure out into the world. Although planning to move to Cluj-Napoca, he eventually ended up living in Brașov, where he rediscovered his love for nature, his passion for snowboarding, and got to know himself more than ever before. Enjoy listening to Luis' winter adventures in episode 3 of Wo/anderers!


Ep. 2: A new perspective, a new life

A former soldier in the Royal Netherlands Army turned traveling gardening salesman, Bart Lunenburg from the Netherlands takes the stage for episode 2. He found Romania by accident in the middle of his soul-searching, at a time when he needed some drastic change in his life. Following a "why not" attitude and diving head-first into the unknown, Bart flew to Romania and never looked back. Living and working in Brașov, Bart got to find himself through beautiful friendships, road-trip adventures, and being touched by the unique Romanian hospitality and spirit. It was the best decision he could ever take. Bart is even reaping the benefits of his Romanian wo/ander now, in his current job - which he calls his dream job. He says his Romanian experience was the key to secure this opportunity. Overall, Romania carved a soft spot in Bart's heart. We get to discover this together in episode 2.


Ep. 1: Happy birthday, Romania!

Birthdays are always special. They are a great way of reminding us just how far we have gotten in life - how many beautiful moments we have lives, but also, how many challenges we have managed to put behind us. For the 101st celebration of the birth of Romania, things are not that different. Together with Guido Marthi, a young Argentinian engineer and our first guest on the wo/anderers podcast, we looked at Romania's historical triumphs and tribulations. From the age-old linguistic debate about polenta versus mămăligă, to what role Romania's communist past has played in shaping its people, Guido shares his opinion and feelings about the Romanian folk, through his experience with the country. He also is inspired by Romania's rich cultural legacy, along with all the great Romanian inventors who have changed our world for the better. Guido also hopes that Romanians will take pride in accepting just who they really are, and wishes internationals who plan to visit Romania a deep dive into this crazily interesting country.