What Inspired Me To Start Traveling
I’ve always wanted to travel from a young age. My parents both traveled a lot and we used to go to Europe quite a bit when I was growing up. So I guess you could say it’s in my blood! I love everything about travel. The new cultures, experiences, food, spontaneity, and freedom that come with it.
How I Decide On My Next Destination
My list of destinations I want to visit just keeps growing. I usually start by thinking about what’s on the top of my list, whether I can afford to go there and what works with my timeframe. I find documentaries or travel journals help inspire me where I want to go.
Sometimes it’s as simple as a good deal on a hotel, transport or tour. I try not to set my heart on a place until I’ve worked out the costs to get there. I like to be as flexible as possible to get the most out of my money.
Duration Of My Trips
The duration of my trips really depends. I work another job so I have to be mindful of the time I get off.
Nowadays, the average trips I take are about 10 days at a time. I’m also making the most of long weekends away whenever I can.
I’m lucky enough to work remotely so I’m planning to trial working and traveling for a month in the summer. If that goes well, I will happily embrace the digital nomad lifestyle!
Once I’ve decided on a destination, I dive into blogs and guides to starting shaping my itinerary. I’m a little biased here but I think they’re a great help when learning about what to expect from the trip.
I’ll also pore over packing lists to get a feel of how best to dress so I’ll be fully prepared for my upcoming trip.
Countries I Have Traveled To So Far
I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 20 countries. It’s not a huge amount, but I like to go slow and return to places whenever I can.
One of the most exciting adventures I’ve had was swimming with sharks in Fiji. It was certainly nerve-wracking at first but they were reef sharks so not dangerous. It was amazing being in the water with these creatures!
Some other great experiences I’ve had were meeting giant tortoises in Mauritius, hiking the Tongariro Crossing in winter in New Zealand, and seeing the beautiful Quiraing on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
In terms of bucket list destinations, I mean the list keeps growing. I would love to visit Jordan and camp in the desert under the stars (something I’m hopefully ticking off this year!).
Costa Rica is high on my list as it’s a top ecotourism destination and I would love to go wildlife spotting in the jungle. Borneo is up there for that same reason. Then there are the salt flats of Bolivia I’m keen to see too!
Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals
One of my best memories of meeting new people while traveling was in a hostel on the beach in Fiji. Everyone there was just so friendly and I met some amazing people from so many walks of life. Some of the people from the local town would come and hang out on the beach in the evenings too and we would have BBQs, bonfires, and beers! I find when I’m traveling solo I meet more people. I’ve found the best ways are through hostels and tours.
My Reason To Start Blogging
I first started my blog to document my experience traveling solo for the first time. It began as a solo female travel blog but then a few years later it morphed into a sustainable travel blog. The environmental aspect of my travel blog was always there but I became more passionate about it so I pivoted.
Now it’s a blog that helps make sustainable, nature-based travel easier and more accessible. It’s also a resource for having more authentic and meaningful travel experiences.
Why I Decided To Travel Sustainably
Traveling is such an amazing experience, but it’s something that can easily be taken for granted. Before the pandemic, the world was incredibly accessible. You could go virtually anywhere.
However, ecosystems and destinations around the world were struggling to keep up with demand. Popular tourist destinations were suffering from over-tourism and destinations were (and still are in some cases) begging tourists not to come due to a lack of resources. Then there are the fragile natural environments under threat from too many people and bad treatment. Take Maya Bay in Thailand, a popular tourist site that closed indefinitely in 2018 due to the effects of over-tourism causing irreparable damage to the coral reefs. The world is precious and not something to be taken for granted. As we build tourism back after the pandemic, we have a real opportunity to make sure that travel benefits all rather than the few.
How I Plan To Promote Ecotourism & Sustainable Travel
I hope to spread the word about the benefits of sustainable travel by showing that it’s accessible and affordable. Travel doesn’t have to come at a cost to the planet.
If done right, tourism benefits communities, support local economies, and funds crucial conservation initiatives around the world.
For example, in Mauritius, doing an eco-tour with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation directly supports giant tortoise conservation. Giant tortoises help with seed dispersal on the island which in turn creates a healthier ecosystem.
It’s about finding ways to make sure your tourist money goes into the right initiatives that are helping to protect the environment whether that’s accommodation, activities, tours, or even restaurants. That’s who I intend to promote on my blog.
One of My Coolest Travel Experiences
One cool experience I had recently was riding the Jacobite Steam Train over Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands. The particularly railway is one of the most scenic in the world!
How I Manage My Work & Travel
I’ve found that the best way to manage work and travel is to give yourself as much of a routine as possible. That way you can minimize distraction and focus when you need to.
I think it helps not to be on the go all the time. Really slow down and stay awhile in a destination. Make it a base. You’ll have a much deeper appreciation for it and you’ll feel less stressed trying to keep on top of work. Another key factor is to make sure you have a good WiFi connection, particularly if you’re working remotely!
How I Manage My Travel Expenses
During some of my more long-term travels, I would send myself a direct debit every week which was my budget that I had to strictly stick to. I would try to identify any majorly expensive activities I wanted to do in advance so I was prepared. On the whole, I tend to be quite careful with my money. I don’t dine out every day so I like to choose the accommodation that makes cooking possible. These days, that doesn’t limit you to an Airbnb or a hostel, apart-hotels with their own kitchens are becoming more popular for travelers!
I also try not to spend too much on accommodation and get discounts and rewards when I can. I have a Booking.com Genius Level discount which helps me save a lot too!
GAFFL In My Words
I think GAFFL is a great way to find travel buddies safely. If you’ve always wanted to travel but don’t have anyone to go with, it can help you take that leap.
Another app I use is Countries Been which helps me keep track of places I’ve been, lived, and want to go to.
I use Google Maps quite a lot too. Although it’s not always 100% accurate! Meetup is also good for finding social events based on your interests when you’re traveling.
My Plan For The Upcoming Years
I’m hoping to travel to Jordan with a tour group and then later work remotely in Portugal this year. Next year, I’m keen to visit Central and South America. Whether that’s Peru or Costa Rica first, I’m not sure. I’m playing by ear when it comes to travel these days!
Advice That I Can Give To Aspiring Sustainable Travelers
My advice would be to take it one step at a time. Taking effective action is about making small changes wherever you can rather than trying to be perfect.
First, take a look at what you usually pack. Think about whether you can swap out single-use items for reusable ones. That’s an easy win and the right swaps can save you money too! Second, try to mitigate the carbon emissions from transport such as flying or driving by making sure your money goes directly into the local economy of the destination you’re visiting. This could be supporting local businesses, choosing a homestay instead of a chain hotel, or traveling with an ethical tour operator.
Lastly, watch out for greenwashing. Sustainability sells so, unfortunately, brands can abuse it. If in doubt, look for certifications that back up a company’s sustainability claims. That could be Green Key, Green Globe, Earth Check, etc. The more we support companies that are committed to sustainable tourism, the bigger it will get.
Things I Wish I'd Known When I First Started Traveling
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if you want to travel, you should go for it. Don’t wait for that perfect moment or for people to tag along. I wish I had known that earlier as I would have traveled a lot sooner!
My other lesson would be to trust yourself. Travel, particularly for the first time (or even if you haven’t done it for a while!) can be intimidating. There are a lot of ‘what ifs’ about going into the unknown but ultimately, you’re a lot more capable than you realize.
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