I was super excited to be tagged by Nicky over on La Joie de Livres (check her out, she’s an incredibly accomplished writer and traveler!), but have actually been awful and taken my own sweet time to get this done. Oops and sorry for going off the grid! For a 22 year old, I think I’ve been ever so privileged to have done as much travelling as I have: born in England, immediately moved to Germany, back to England, to Malaysia, to Australia, back to Malaysia, and finally back to England (ta-da that’s me now). Travelling in South East Asia was my equivalent to the British going to Cornwall, the South of France, and Majorca — flights with Air Asia being [often much] cheaper than the domestic train or even bus tickets there.
In this post I answer a whopping 11 questions, share pictures from my more recent travels, pose my own travel questions, and then tag anyone who may be interested. If I haven’t tagged you and you’d still like to do it, by all means do, and comment with the link so I can check out your answers and read all about your adventures!
1. What is your favourite destination?
North Carolina, in the US. My dad’s American, and most of my family live in NC. My cousins are a fair bit older than me and all have their own children, and I love them to absolute pieces. I am very much a beach and ocean person, and my favourite memories all come from my summers at NC — renting a beach house, all 15+ of us crammed in, body boarding and boating and wave jumping everyday. We used to go every year, but now we don’t go as often. I’m currently saving up to visit next summer, as I haven’t seen my American family in two years.
2. What kind of things do you like to do when you travel (e.g. Museums, beach trips, sports, exploring)?
I love, love, love museums and galleries. I am an absolute sucker for a good gallery. Rome — the ceilings! — and Berlin — the museums! — are like, the best ever historical cities. I could go on about them for 101 years. The beach is always welcome, but my holidays tend to be separated into “beach holidays” (where the sole purpose is to spend time in the ocean and on the sand), and “non-beach holidays” (which, looking at my track record, seem to be city escapes, history-heavy, and with lots of ‘must-sees’).
3. Solo, couple or group travel?
I was very pro solo travel until I went on a month-long holiday with my boyfriend, Hugo, and it was just the absolute best time. He has since been my #1 travel companion. I don’t think I could really hack group travel — unless you were all of a very similar mind, and had similar interests. Travelling with my mum has always been very easy because we always want to see the same things, and are more than happy to split up and the meet up again later too. I have yet to properly travel solo, though I have flown alone and spent a day or two exploring by myself (in Washington DC and Sydney), but no full-on solo holidays yet!
4. Where would you recommend to a visitor to your home country?
For this question, I’m going to take my current city of London rather than the whole of England! This is how I did it when my wonderful old school friend Hannah came to visit (she has 32 hours, so it was FULL ON!) — we started on Oxford St. for the shopping, took Carnaby St. down to Piccadilly Circus, through to Leicester Square, to Covent Garden, south to the Strand, across Waterloo Bridge for the postcard views, and then onto South Bank for drinks, back across Embankment Walkway, through Charing Cross to Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery, and then home! That’s London in an afternoon. Instead of heading up the Portrait Gallery, you can head left to St. James’ Park and Buckingham Palace to knock that off to. That night we did Shoreditch, going to a Star Wars themed bar! On her second day we did the less-touristy-and-more-cool stuff: Camden for vintage shopping and the cereal cafe, and Broadway Market in London Fields. There is a never-ending list of things to do when in London!
5. How long should the ideal holiday last?
Depends on the destination, I think! 5 days is always a solid amount of time, but for some places you need more, and others you might require less to see all there is that you want to see. You want to get the feel of the place, see the ‘must-sees’, as well as do some uncharted exploring.
6. Do you prefer to travel by air, land or sea? Why?
Air! I love airplanes, they’re the fastest means of getting places, and grew up flying quite a few times a year to visit family. I don’t do very well at all on buses and can’t actually drive (which rules out land, really – though I do love trains, but that can get tedious if over long distances); and sea is really dependent on the type of transport. Speed boats are great fun, but anything that moves slowly I’m really not a huge fan of. I’ve yet to go on a cruise though, maybe that’ll change my mind!
7. What was your most recent holiday?
I totally messed this question up, thinking I hadn’t been anywhere since Christmas! Rubbish. I visited my best friend in her .. crown dependency? bailiwick? island?! of Guernsey this summer! I had so, so much fun, and was absolutely amazed by Guernsey: you practically see the sea at all times, its population is the same as my old university’s, and it smells so gooood! It smells exactly like you’d think: like you’re always within walking distance from the sand, ocean, or a cliff walk. We ate lots of ice cream, I was taken to all the sites, and we swam in the coldest water I have literally ever been in. And I had a deep fried cheeseburger. Special mention right there because it was so ridiculously good.
Disposable cameras! I love travelling with at least one. There’s something lovely about having to take a camera in to Boots, getting it developed, then opening the packet up with a sense of both excitement and dread. I always travel with sunglasses, a notepad and pens, and enough medication to open up a small pharmacy.
9. Has a destination ever surprised you?
Yeah, absolutely. I think when you travel you want to be surprised. There’s no fun in having a very rigid list of things to do, and to go into it with very fixed expectations. The most glaring example of being surprised when travelling, for me at least, was Berlin. It just reminded me so much of Melbourne, Australia — the coffee culture, minimalist shops with bare concrete floors and a single rack of clothes, the trams and bicycles, the use of laneways. But, more than that, it was the way history just intersected everything. And their museums blew my mind. I have never been into museums like that before. Everything was interesting. I would love to go back, especially to their Museum Island — and I don’t often have the urge to go back to places, I tend to see something once and be done with it. Berlin was especially cool because I do speak German (once well, now poorly), and it was nice to be able to get around without looking like a total fool.
10. Luxury or budget travel?
My mother is the most budget person I have ever met in my entire life. As far as family holidays go, they’re as budget as they get. We’ve done hotels with no running water or electricity, seven hour off-road van rides instead of flying, and she has tried to put my ever-suffering father into hostels. That didn’t go down well. My dad isn’t into luxury per-se, but he appreciates that spending even just a little bit more can often go a long way when it comes to travelling. As a full-time student, budget is definitely how I’m going at the moment! When travelling with my boyfriend, we always have at least one night somewhere really nice though, which is always wonderful (especially after I’ve booked us in to some real shockers of hotels.. RE: cockroaches in Florida, in NJ to ‘commute via hotel shuttle’ to NYC (10/10 do not recommend), and having very haphazard lighting in Paris).
11. What advice would you give other travelers?
I think travelling needs to be something special, it’s not “I’ve been to 25 countries!” or “well, my friend said this was a good place I guess”. It’s often about gut-feeling and weird urges, about a place you may have studied or read about. Make your travels a big deal, invest in them. Read up, be culturally informed and appropriate. Be ready to be surprised, to learn, and to reconsider things you may have previously been set on. Everyone has different reasons for travelling, and some people might not even realise their reasons for travelling, so it’s hard to give blanket advice.
So my loves! Here are the questions that I have for you:
- Would you rather go on a beach holiday or city holiday? Why?
- Do cruises or rail holidays appeal to you?
- Do you believe in guidebooks and doing a lot of research before going somewhere, or would you rather wing it and play a trip by ear?
- If money was a non-issue, and you could take time off from any responsibilities, where would you go right now? For how long? Who with?
- What’s been your favorite domestic trip?
- Do you think domestic travel can compare to travelling somewhere on the other side of the world?
- Is travelling important to you? Why or why not?
- Your top three already-visited destinations!
- Your top three have-yet-to-visit destinations!
- Have you ever stayed in a hostel? What was your experience like?
- And finally, what impressions did your last travelling experience leave on you?
And I’m tagging: Vinspire, edited by Laura Vickers, Lorraine from Let the World Float By, and some of my favorite followers and followees (is that a thing?): Allie-May from The Friday Girl, the lovely H from sailwme, the incred team over on The Elephant Adventure (probably my favourite travel and lifestyle blog to date), and, finally, the super cool duo over on Sistafromanothermista because they just seem to have an instant knack for blogging, so why the hell not!
By no means are you obliged to do the tag-a-thon, especially as this post has turned into an utter mammoth; and if you weren’t tagged but you do want to, then please! Be my guest. Love ya x