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A 64-year-old retiree who has traveled to more than 60 countries shares how she saved up to do so


Josefa Feitosa worked for more than 30 years in the Ceará penitentiary system as a social worker; she looks at how she has organized herself financially to have a comfortable retirement

Josefa Feitosa, 64, from Ceará, decided to make the most of her retirement by traveling alone around the world. She left the house she had in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, to her three children, and today lives in hostels in the towns she visits. She will visit the 64th country.




Feitosa is a social worker and has worked for 35 years at the Department of Justice of Ceará, 30 of which were in the penitentiary system. During this time she also taught and invested in a private pension so that she could live more comfortably in retirement. During her travels she also uses a financial reserve, which she has managed to save over ten years.

“My whole life has been about the issue of violence, justice, incarceration. When I retired, I wanted freedom. No more gates, no more bars, I don’t want anything to hold me back,” he says

He documents his travels on social media, with his profile @joviajando on Instagram. Check out his story below.

From work in prison to life in freedom

Josefa Feitosa left more than three decades of working in the penal system and freed herself from everything that held her back in Juazeiro do Norte, her hometown. “After I retired, I let go of my altruistic side and started living my selfish side,” she jokes.

She retired on October 1, 2016. Exactly 15 days later she already had a one-way ticket to Belém, Pará. So she made her first trips to Brazil. “I didn’t know either the North or the South of the country,” she says.

Before he retired, Feitosa fondly kept a list of 20 countries he would like to go to. “But I’m a woman, I’m black and I don’t speak English. My daughter always asked me these questions, and I thought: she’s right,” she reveals.

But one day, a group of female students from a university in the city of Coimbra, Portugal, came across Feitosa’s journey, and invited her to carry out academic research on the female penal system in 2017.

“I left without any pretensions. I thought I would stay in Portugal for a few days and, who knows, maybe I would take advantage of it to take a break in Spain, in France. But there I understood that things are not as complicated as they seem, the borders are open “, remember.

He hasn’t stopped traveling since and is heading to his 64th country. That year she traveled to 15 European countries, including Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France and Ireland, where she spent five months studying English. “I became another person, the world and my head opened up,” she says.

“I managed to organize myself to live on the salary of a social worker who works in the prison system and I saved everything I earned as a teacher in ten years. I also adapted to minimalism. I cut out many superfluous things for myself, such as weekly trips to the beauty salon, to the restaurant, shopping for clothes and shoes, bags… Furthermore, the children have become adults and independent, without having to bear many expenses”, explains the woman from Ceará.

The pensioner emphasizes that she followed her parents’ example to save money. “They always saved to buy properties, which they rented. They said they didn’t want to put the burden of their old age on the shoulders of their children. They left and left us an inheritance. We, five children, have never had any expenses with them,” he says.

When traveling, Feitosa sets a daily spending limit. “Today I have an idea of ​​my expenses, which are not many considering that I no longer have fixed bills such as electricity, water, condominium fees, IPTU, IPVA …”, she says. Currently in Europe he pays around 40 euros a day. In April the average expense was 35 euros per day.

He gave the house to his children and traveled the world

At the end of 2017 she returned to Brazil and donated the house she owned to her three children, who shared ownership. She then went to South Africa.

“I don’t have a house anymore because I don’t want it, I don’t feel the need for it. We have a house anywhere in the world, I live in different places and I leave. I don’t need much and I feel happy without a bill to pay every month “, He says. Feitosa travels with four changes of clothes in her backpack and lives in hostels wherever she goes.

He responded to the news Estadao by telephone directly from Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. He informed that the next day he would be heading to Bratislava, Slovakia, before heading to Budapest, Hungary.

The lifestyle she has adopted has brought her closer to her family. “I take very good care of myself because I don’t want to put the burden of old age on their shoulders. I’ve learned that I have to give them space to live their life, I’ve always been very controlling as a single mother. Today we admire and respect each other much more “, He says.

On the other hand, he says he lost the friends he had in the city where he lived because they didn’t understand his decision to live that way. But, along the way, he picks up new friends. “There are always people who go out with me, I have a lot of fun. I love staying in a hostel, so for me it’s a solution because I find company, make friends and gain space.”

She says she has suffered discrimination in many places in the world, but that doesn’t stop her. “There are prejudices everywhere in the world,” she points out. “Now, in Estonia, there are no black people like me. I got on a bus here and people seemed very angry, I was scared,” she says.

According to Ceará, there are many hostels that do not welcome people over the age of 40. “I’ve been rejected a few times because I’m too old,” she says. At first she stayed everywhere. After suffering an accident when she fell alone from a bunk bed in Buenos Aires, she realizes that she needs to be more selective with the places she stays. “I have more needs,” she admits.

Retired woman encourages other women to travel with Instagram account

Feitosa created an Instagram account with the help of her daughter in 2019, with the goal of “preserving memories and providing news to the family.” Today the profile has more than 28.8 thousand followers.

“I didn’t have a social network, and a cell phone with 32 GB of memory, I deleted a lot of photos. The images I recorded were of cars passing by, of the ground… In Boston I bought a new cell phone, and an Italian boy I met in a hostel he hung out with me all day, showing me how to look while taking photos, I learned a lot from the young people,” he says.

She currently receives many messages from women who would like to enjoy their retirement by travelling, but she says many cannot free themselves from the responsibilities that weigh especially on mothers, and she is happy to talk to them to try to change this situation.

“I have learned to use social media, I don’t know much about it. What I know concerns me. I have already received proposals from people who want to send gifts, ‘receipts’. I say: don’t send them, I don’t want to stress myself, I just want to post a photo and be a nice old lady,” she says.

Every year Feitosa returns to Brazil for bureaucratic matters, such as the life test for the INSS. But this year she will return to Fortaleza in July, for a theater show that will be performed in her honor.

“It’s a very interesting monologue, a woman with a backpack on her shoulder telling her adventures. The text is based on my interviews and my writings on social media”, she announces.

He will then travel the world again. “Being a nomad is the best thing that has happened to me. I feel free, I use my money for myself. I want nothing more than to buy tickets, go for a walk, drink beer, eat what I like, walk and try things and new flavours”, he declares.

He says the world is not as horror as they make it out to be. “If it had been that bad, I wouldn’t have gone through 63 countries without knowing the languages. We are all vulnerable, but this vulnerability gives us courage,” she says. In the future he intends to launch a course to teach and encourage people to travel alone.



Luang Prabang, Laos


Buenos Aires, Argentina


Cuzco, Peru


Paris, France


Retired woman in Budapest, Hungary


Josefa Feitosa in Prague, Czech Republic.

Source: Terra

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