I’ve been travelling for almost 20 years now – and blogging about it for the last two. So when I get occasional emails from new bloggers or people planning their next trip, I love helping out and sharing my advice and experiences. Travel is my passion and it’s great to be able to share it and encourage other people to see the world. But I can’t help feeling like a little bit of a fraud sometimes, because in some ways I’m a bit of a rubbish traveller. I’m miles away from that stereotype of a ‘serious’ traveller – visiting obscure countries on $50 a day, staying in dorms, eating street food and befriending the locals. But there are all sorts of travellers out there, so I thought I’d come clean and share my travel confessions.
I don’t really like travelling solo that much
A love of solo travel seems to go hand-in-hand with being a travel blogger, but most of the time I prefer travelling with someone else. I’ve done solo trips – like six weeks in New Zealand. But although I arrived as a solo traveller, I only spent a couple of days alone and ended up travelling with an American girl I met on the first day. Sometimes it helps to have someone there to push you – to keep you going if you’re exhausted and tempted to crash out with room service. And although being able to do exactly what you want is a bonus of solo travel, travelling with someone else means you’re exposed to their interests. You can always go off and do your own thing, but you might find out that that cheesy tourist attraction you’d never have visited on your own turns out to be one of the best memories of the trip.
I’m a picky eater
Picking up skewers of unknown meat and a bowl of mysterious stew might be some people’s ideas of food heaven, but street food scares me. The deep fried spiders and rat on a stick I saw in Cambodia probably didn’t help. It’s not that I don’t like food or am one of those people that won’t eat anything but Western food whenever I go abroad, it’s just that I like to know what I’m eating and how it’s been prepared. I do have some digestive problems that mean I have to be a bit more careful of what I eat than most people, and having recently had to give up gluten and dairy for a while it’s a major challenge eating out at the moment. This is why I’m a big fan of apartment rentals, so I can prepare some of my own meals and get to indulge my fondness for exploring foreign supermarkets.
I don’t want to see the whole world
Although part of me is in awe of travellers who’ve visited every country in the world, I’m not planning on trying to join them. I have a healthy travel wish-list that will keep me going for a long while, but there are whole parts of the world I’m not that interested in seeing. Antarctica tops a lot of people’s bucket lists and although it looks stunning, I don’t like boats and am terrible in the cold, so I think it’d be wasted on me. Same goes for a lot of the Middle East, Central Africa and the ‘stans’ of Central Asia – they just don’t appeal to me. Your travelling tastes change over time too – ten years ago I happily bounced through south-east Asia’s party towns, but today I’d rather go temple hopping and relax on the beach.
I’m neither a budget nor luxury traveller
Reading as many travel blogs and websites as I do, it seems like people are split between budget travellers (dorms beds, street food, 24-hour bus journeys and hippy pants) or luxury travellers (business class, luxury hotels, private chefs and champagne). But what about the middle ground – when you’re past the ultra-budget stage but you don’t have a luxury-style income? That’s where I’ve found myself, trying to stick to a limited budget and get the best value for money, saving money where I can so I can splash out on amazing experiences. We could do with a decent name for this type of travel though – ‘mid-range, good value travel with a bit of luxury on a budget’ isn’t all that catchy a title.
I don’t want to travel full-time
Being a permanent traveller seems to be the dream for so many people. And although the longest stretch I’ve done is 16 months in one go, these days a month is about enough for me. I love to travel and start to get a bit panicky if I’ve not got at least one trip lined up. But after years of moving around, where I couldn’t count the number of different places I lived in, I also love having a home base too. My latent nesting instincts have totally kicked in and if I have a few free days you’ll sometimes find me getting stuck into my latest DIY project rather than jumping on that last-minute flight. Having a gap between trips gives me chance to reflect on the last one and start getting excited about where I’ll be off to next.
So those are my travel confessions! Make me feel better about myself and tell me what are yours?