Lustery couple Joana & Lee are known to their followers as The Barebackpackers, a nod to the global travels that backdrop their videos, and that introduced them to each other. Click to listen to this episode via Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, or Amazon Music.
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Aria Vega [00:00:00] [Voiceover] This podcast contains explicit content. Listener's discretion is advised. POV by Lustery explores culture, politics and creativity in the sex industry, one point of view at a time. I'm your host, Aria Vega.
Aria Vega [00:00:17] Lustery couple Joana and Lee are porn performers and global citizens known to their followers as The Barebackpackers. They've lived a nomadic lifestyle individually for over a decade, and together for the past two years. When I spoke to the pair, they were in the Dominican Republic, where they'd snagged an apartment that was glowing with sunlight. But it was a different earthly element that had summoned them to the island.
Joana [00:00:42] [Interview] We are here looking for wind. We originally were kite surfing instructors, and that is still our passion. We don't instruct anymore, but we're looking for kite surfing and that's what brought us here. So we're going to be here one more month and then we hop onto our next place.
Aria Vega [00:00:57] That's so interesting, you follow the wind. So what kind of places do you tend to find really good wind?
Joana [00:01:04] Places that are a bit isolated, like the northeast of Brazil, or places like Cape Town, the west of Australia, which is really deserted. Dakhla, in Morocco.
Lee [00:01:16] Yeah, and where we met, which was Vietnam, it's also a windy spot. So what brought us together was the kite surf. We met both at a school and were both instructors and we bumped into each other, and then we kind of started this journey together.
Aria Vega [00:01:31] [Voiceover] The couple met while working as instructors at the same kite surfing school in Vietnam. Within about a week, they were inseparable, and not long after that, The Barebackpackers were born.
Joana [00:01:42] So we met around December of 2019, and then it was around May of the next year that we were in a little town of the north of Vietnam, which is called Sa Pa. It's actually very touristy, anybody who has been in Vietnam would know which one it is. We watched a documentary about cam girls, and then nothing really came into my mind, but he said, "Why don't we do it?" I was not super pushing the idea, but then I felt like, Yeah, why not? So then we jumped into the first one that we saw, and it was Chaturbate, and it was insane, like the cam sessions that we had the first week. And of course, then he starts to jump into that mind race. It's like, Oh my God, Let's cam every day, let's cam every day. Then that's how the whole brand... Of course, now we're not only a cam couple, we branched out into different things, and I'm very happy that we discovered Lustery, because it's a brand that also we resonate a lot with.
Aria Vega [00:02:36] What is it about Lustery that resonated so much with you?
Joana [00:02:40] Probably the fact that it's porn that is not... It's not super elaborate. You know, it's more like real couples and authentic, I think it's the right word. That, for me, is the biggest part. I don't know for you.
Lee [00:02:53] Yeah, like the reason why I like I love Lustery so much is because when you're making a video or a porno or whatever type of thing you want to do, it can be so demanding. From my experience, it's like they expect the dude to have like this eternal stiffy. And that's so, it's unfair to try and expect that of yourself or from other people, and why I love Lustery is because it's just so chill, and it's so real. I love just the authenticity. And that Lustery is not just trying to capture, like performing a certain act, or a certain kind of fetish that's hot. It's like, just do what you do and share it with us. And and we're happy with that. And I think that that's why it resonates so much with us, because it's so real and it's it makes us feel comfortable.
Aria Vega [00:03:41] [Voiceover] Making porn around the world wasn't quite how Lee or Joana ever imagined they'd be spending their 20s. They'd initially departed their home countries (Ireland for Lee, and Spain for Joana) in pursuit of work and educational opportunities. But life on the road was just too exciting.
Lee [00:03:58] For me, it was a little bit over 10 years ago, actually, when I left home to go to Australia to look for work. I extended from one year visa to a two year visa, and then I didn't want to go home because life was so good traveling around. So I jumped to New Zealand and it kind of just spiraled. I just felt like it was kind of a game that I didn't want to be over, and I just kept kept kind of pursuing it because it gave me so much joy. And that was like, now it's like almost ten years ago. So I don't want to stop this game! And when we bumped into each other then, it was two years ago, and she, which is so interesting, is that she was living almost the same life. We were both on a very similar journey, but just apart. We've been to pretty much most of the same countries. We both done two years in Australia and New Zealand. We both lived in China, but we never met each other. So we kind of joined forces now as The Barebackpackers.
Aria Vega [00:04:57] Joana, how long had you been traveling before you met Lee?
Joana [00:05:01] So quite interesting fact, I'm older than him. So for me, I've been traveling like 12 years. And yeah, it started with the fact that I was doing university. I was very dedicated student, and then I realized that Europe has very cheap flights, so I started to shift from going to school, to having to fly to every single city that I wanted to, and not going to school so much. So that kicks in the... How do they call it? The travel bug? The tavel bug. And then it never stopped.
Aria Vega [00:05:30] Yeah, that seems to be the the story for so many people, that it wasn't necessarily this set plan to go on this adventure. It just started with one thing that led to another, that led to another, and they just met the right person, ended up in the right place, found a, you know, series of cheap flights or whatever it is. I've always envied Europeans for having such easy access— no visasm traveling freely, all these cheap flights, all these trains. It's incredible what you can see, how much ground you can cover.
Joana [00:06:02] And how different the cultures are! You hop from Italy to France, and then to Spain and Portugal that has nothing like... they're so different.
Lee [00:06:09] Yeah, there's such a vast variety between language, way of life, you know, the culture, the food. And even with like a $20 or $30 flight, you can fly from France to Germany for like $30. And it's it's completely different weather, everything. Food... And so that is one of the joys of Europe.
Aria Vega [00:06:32] Are the two of you multilingual?
Joana [00:06:34] Oh, well, he's starting to pick up on some very good Spanish. He's very dedicated so... you speak very good English. Irish!
Lee [00:06:43] Yeah, my English is fantastic, most of the time! Because as an instructor previously, I wanted to— if you have multiple languages, you get more job opportunities. So I've been always working on my Spanish since we met, and I've been pushing it more and more. I'm pretty comfortable with my Spanish at the moment, but it's all thanks to her, really.
Aria Vega [00:07:07] It must be so helpful to have a partner to practice with.
Lee [00:07:10] It is, but having English, you're so lazy, you know? I always use this example. If you've a German and a French and a Chinese guy in a room, and they're all want to speak, they'll all speak English. So it always it's kind of like... I feel like it's kind of the curse of the people that have English as a first language, we're kind of naturally lazy with it. But I'm going to break that mold, and try and actually speak Spanish. But you know she's, you're multilingual.
Joana [00:07:41] Spanish is my first language. English, I was in American schools since I was little, so it's kind of very natural to me. Then I spent some time in France, and my next goal is Portuguese.
Aria Vega [00:07:54] All right!
Lee [00:07:55] She's got the brains! She puts me to shame.
Aria Vega [00:08:00] No, you can get there too! You can get there, too. I'm actually I'm learning German because, as you may know, Lustery is based in Berlin, so I've been studying German for the past year or so. And I have to say, I think of it as like probably one of the easiest languages that a native English speaker can learn. Just because English is a Germanic language, and so many of the words are the same. It's so phonetic. Every letter only gets said one way, or else it has its accent and you say it that way. There's so many compound words, and if you don't know what it is, just break it down into small words that you recognize and you can figure it out. It's like a math problem.
Lee [00:08:35] That's fantastic!
Joana [00:08:36] And do you like it?
Aria Vega [00:08:37] I actually like it a lot. I am having a lot of fun, and I can't wait to come over there and use it. So yeah, I encourage you, Lee, to keep up the Spanish! We can do it!
Lee [00:08:50] I will, I will!
Aria Vega [00:08:54] So what would you say is the most adventurous thing you've ever done together on your travels?
Joana [00:09:01] On the end of our stay in Vietnam where we met and so on, we were in the south, and we got a trip to the north, which is Hanoi, the capital. And then there we had the idea of buying a motorcycle and just touring around the north, which is something that many people do. But we tried to do the part that nobody... Off the beaten track. And it really paid off! It was really, really nice.
Lee [00:09:23] It was like a little $200 motorbike and we drove it to death, and we drove all around with a little backpack. And yeah, that was a good adventure, to be honest.
Joana [00:09:34] What would you say is the most adventurous thing?
Lee [00:09:37] Yeah, that's definitely up there, probably actually at the top. But the other thing that I really enjoyed, which actually we incorporated Lustery in, was our trip to Turkey.
Aria Vega [00:09:49] [Voiceover] Lee is referring to the fantastic travel vlog that he and Joana submitted to Lustery back in January. It was an adventure through Turkey that seemed made for a movie.
Lee [00:10:00] [Audio from vlog] OK, so we've done the the pools. It actually was nice to be in there in my bikini! We're going to be spending the rest of the day here in Pamukkale, and then making our way towards Cappadocia for our own hot air balloon ride, which we're going to share with you guys.
Aria Vega [00:10:19] [Voiceover] When COVID hit in 2020, it didn't stop the couple's travels, but it definitely impacted them.
Joana [00:10:27] [Interivew] Once in the Canary Islands, we stayed there most of 2020, and we were working a lot, to be honest. And it was a good journey, it made us who we are today and we learned a lot about ourselves. But to be honest, it did kind of affect us because we wanted to travel to places that we cannot even till today, like India or Pakistan or Nepal, because they are still not open. Asia is calling us a lot, but they are still not doing that move. But then you have to just rethink and see which other places you would rather go that are still an option because there are so many. I think with COVID, it's very tricky, because you think that you are not able to go, but there are many people that are there flying, and you are thinking that it's not possible, and it is.
Lee [00:11:09] We were kind of like trying our best to go to the places that had the least kind of confinement or restrictions. But our densest moment in the COVID was in the Canary Islands. There was restrictions, there was implications. And it's kind of unique, because I feel like everybody has their own experiences in this pandemic and everything that happens. But when what you do and what you know is to travel, and for that to be taken away... Of course, I know there's bigger implications and everything, but not being able to travel really feels... You feel this really sense of entrapment, because it's what we've been doing for so long and we don't have a real base, to be honest. So it was quite a challenge as well. That's why we focus so much on the The Barebackpackers and making nice content and working with Lustery and everything, because it was such it was a pleasure, it was a pleasure to do. And it also did, it gave us a little bit of distraction and other things to focus on rather than just watching the media or getting down about it.
Aria Vega [00:12:09] [Voiceover] Even so, making porn is still more of a passion than a profession for The Barebackpackers.
Lee [00:12:15] [Interview] We were never really focused on like, OK, if we can do this, we can buy our house, or maybe we can push really hard and we'll be able to pay off some student debt, or something. We had nothing like this. So for us, it was more just an interest, that we were kind of peeking into the rabbit hole. For me personally, I just want to do what I enjoy and makes me feel chill and relaxed, and we don't need to push it on live cam because we need to hit these targets, or anything like that. It's just purely for a laugh! And then whatever you gain from that is a kind of a bonus. So we haven't done any type of studio work, we haven't even done a collaboration with another couple or anything like that.
Joana [00:12:52] Yeah, mostly because in Europe, it's not super easy to find all the cam models. They are mostly in the States. Look, if we went to the States, I would be more than happy to meet with other cam models, because it's such an interesting thing to even meet them in person and exchange ideas, what is it for them, if it's the same for you?
Lee [00:13:09] But would you be interested to do studio?
Joana [00:13:11] No, not really. Not studio, but like collaboration.
Aria Vega [00:13:19] [Voiceover] Being so transient is a large part of why Joana and Lee have struggled to connect with fellow cammers within Europe. That aspect of their lifestyle brings other challenges too, like long stretches apart from family and friends.
Lee [00:13:32] [Interview] When you travel for so long, you sacrifice your family relationships, you know. It is slightly selfish, but everybody has their own journey, so there's always downsides. Or like, we just discovered that the flights are canceled so you're kind of like, having to constantly reevaluate then and change...
Joana [00:13:50] ...And finding good internet.
Lee [00:13:53] and finding a good internet! But what we what we tried to do the most, I think, which helps our relationship and keeps us with good vibes, really is communication. You know, like we really try to open up if we're feeling shitty, or we don't like where we are, or we're not feeling it. So we try to genuinely speak to each other about it, because we have to have each other's back. Because if you're in a place that's unfamiliar and it's different, and it's a bit out there, like in northern Vietnam or even in here in the Dominican Republic, and you're not feeling that, you need your partner to be there for you because you know it can be it can be tough sometimes traveling as well.
Joana [00:14:33] Yeah. In fact, we thought that we were going to stay in in Dominican Republic for five months, and it didn't turn out to be exactly what.. You know, expectations are a bit tricky, so it's not exactly what we thought. So I said, OK, if we don't love this, then OK, let's stay here one more month and then change it. Let's go to Colombia, or let's go to X other place and try something different if it's not fitting the box.
Aria Vega [00:14:55] I hear y'all talking about the inability to put down roots the entirety of your relationship. You met while traveling, it's different than if you had been somewhere together first, and then started traveling. Your entire relationship has formed in this context. And I just find that really fascinating. You two are each other's family. You are each other's constant as you move throughout the world, and this is a really beautiful bond.
Lee [00:15:21] That is so beautiful. You make us sound so special!
Aria Vega [00:15:26] You are special! You are special. I mean, think about it, most of what you hear about traveling as a couple is about you know, Don't do it, going on vacation with your new partner for the first time is the kiss of death. That's when you really get to know the person, that's when you realize how incompatible you are. And that's just a vacation, away from your normal life and you have kind of turned this extended vacation into a fertile breeding ground for your relationship. When the two of you picture your future together, is there any part of you that imagines putting down roots in a particular place?
Joana [00:16:09] Like, we talked about this because, of course, it's kind of part of your process and your evolution as a couple. And I think that what is closest to that idea of setting roots is finding a place that we find comfortable, that we find that it has that wind, probably, that has that adventure factor, and that we would do seasons there.
Lee [00:16:33] Exactly.
[00:16:33] So a season there, a season can be something like four months, and then the other part of the year you have the ability to keep hopping around. But as of settling down to a place in buying house, me personally, I'm not nearly feeling that yet.
Lee [00:16:51] Yeah, for me, it's similar. I never envisioned myself like buying a house and settling down. I just have way too itchy feet, and I'm always hungry for something different. But recently we've been chatting up like, of course, this conversation pops up every time you meet someone. Like, normally the first thing, it's like, Oh, so when are you going to have kids, or something, you know? You kind of get hit with that one, and it's just always is a bit of a curveball, because then you have to kind of explain yourself. But for us, I think the conclusion at the moment is like, find a place that we enjoy that kind of ticks most of the boxes, and we can do like six months there or eight months there, or maybe three, and that's kind of our base. Which we haven't found yet, by the way, we're still looking. And then when we feel itchy feet, then we'll start to travel again. So at the moment, that's kind of where we're looking at, is a root place. We kind of think— I haven't ever been to Brazil. Joana has been and she's loved it, but we're thinking like somewhere like Brazil, where we could go for six months, do some kite surf, do some paragliding, maybe, and just relax and kind of chill. Then after that, then we start going, then you can do your India and more intense, but have a base. So it's on the cards. It's in the process, but it hasn't happened yet.
Aria Vega [00:18:05] The two of you really are true nomads. Just like everybody else, I've sort of been drilled into my mind that the ideal life, the default life, is to put down roots somewhere and stay there more or less forever. And travel, but then always come back. And it's just I love... I love imagining looking at the future without that future being rooted to a particular place. It's a very courageous way to live, and I admire that about you guys.
Joana [00:18:38] Well, thank you! For me, I don't want to impose on other people that they have to travel, and they have to be a nomad life. Like it's very unique, and I don't think that everybody has to have that life. Many people are very happy in having their life in the same city.
Lee [00:18:52] Yeah, and that's OK! And also the level of joy that people get from doing maybe other things in their life could be the same level of joy that we get from doing the travel. We're very aware that our way of being and our way of doing is definitely not for everybody. I mean, when we're in a group setting or anything, we never push or say like, you should or you have to. Everybody's on their own journey. And you can also get beautiful moments of joy from that, from the simplest things and from different things. So we're quite restricted in terms of trying to encourage everybody to like, Go and do it! Quit your job, sell your house and be like us! I think that's definitely not the way to do it.
Aria Vega [00:19:32] Yeah, I think a lot of people, there's just so many influencers who make their whole brand like around, This is the way that life should be for everybody, and here's how to do it! That's their whole way to be relevant. So I appreciate that this is, it's a part of your brand without being preachy about it at all. And the world is plenty big enough for everyone to live exactly the way they want to in that regard, being nomadic or not. The last thing I'd love to ask each of you, I'll start with you, Joana. What do you miss most about Spain?
Joana [00:20:12] Oh, that's a good question! I think maybe the warmth of the people, and that's partially true because they are also warm people around, but the Spanish have something about them that is very... I don't know if it's the kind of the humor, or even the fact that you can go to any little bar to have a beer and talk to the old man next to you and have kept up with him. You know, kind of that, I don't know local feel. Because if if we go to Turkey, we obviously are foreigners, no matter what. You're never a foreigner in your own country. So I think that's what I would miss.
Aria Vega [00:20:47] And Lee, what do you miss most about Ireland?
Lee [00:20:51] This is the easy one. The Guinness! No, I should say my family, but mostly the Guinness.
Aria Vega [00:21:01] Both are good answers, both are good.
Lee [00:21:04] No to be honest, yeah, I miss the culture, I really do. I miss the cultures, I miss the warmth of the pubs, the music... My dad plays guitar and sings, and I play guitar as well, and we would be in this setting and we got to experience it together in Ireland. And that's what I miss, is that's such a powerful culture with the music and the traditions and the people. So when you travel, you rarely find them settings where there's music and drink and communication. It's different, but it's not like the Irish way, and that's what I miss.
Aria Vega [00:21:39] That's beautiful. No place like home, right?
Lee [00:21:42] Yeah, exactly.
Aria Vega [00:21:44] That's Lustery couple Joana and Lee. If you're 18 or older, and you love your smut infused with wanderlust, head on over to lustery.com to check out this couple's content. I'm obsessed with the way that language became a part of this couple's love story. Which has me wondering: if love can conquer all, does that include a language barrier? I'd love to hear from someone who fell in love with a person who didn't speak the same language as them. How did that work? How did you know how you felt? If you'd like to appear on the show, hit me up at email@example.com With an email or voice memo. Or you can find me on Twitter @vegadreamcast. You can always remain anonymous. If you're into the show, please leave us a five-star rating and a review. POV is brought to you by Lusteryy, and this episode was hosted by me, Aria Vega. It was edited and produced by Kathryn Fischer and Adrienne Teicher, and our showrunner is Paulita Pappel. Lustery the home of real-life partners filming their sex lives behind closed doors. If you're 18 or older, you can find us at lustery.com, and we're on Twitter and Instagram @lusterypov. Speak soon, lovers!