About: I am a high school English and Performance studies teacher who only picked up the travelling bug when I turned 30 - proving that it's never too late!
Why did you decide to travel? I turned 30 and realised that I had everything sorted - I owned a nice apartment, I had a decent career, I had a decent savings account...but I had never experienced the world - I had barely been out of Europe! Even though I had been to America, this was to Disneyland when I was 15 with my parents so I wasn't sure that counted! In the UK, schools close for 6 weeks every summer so, in my 30th year, I bought a return ticket to New York and spent a month in America, knowing no one and without a plan! It was the most liberating thing I have ever done and I've been hooked ever since!
Where do you come from? Hampshire, UK
Where do you want to go next? This summer I'm off to Australia for 6 weeks where I shall be touring around the Northern Territory and Uluru, before I fly to Cairns and make my way down the East Coast to Sydney. This is definitely the furthest and most adventurous travelling I've done so far and to say I am terrified is an understatement! Well...terrified and ridiculously excited!
What is your number one tip for travelling? Always book at least your first night's accommodation and don't underestimate guided tours. There's a perception perhaps that travelling needs to be truly independent but honestly, guided tours give a wealth of information and they do all the organising for you, taking the stress out of things. If, like me, you only have a limited time to do things, then they are a great time saving option too!
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome? When I went to Amsterdam, I checked into my hostel and hated it straight away. I attempted to spend the night there but, after a sleepless night, I was awake at 5am trying to find alternative accommodation for the rest of the week. Using the internet and a polite yet assertive nature with the hostel staff, I managed to check into a pretty swanky hotel for the rest of my time with a sweet last minute deal. I also got a refund from the hostel and used this money to pay for the hotel! Any problem is fixable as long as you remain calm.
What do you miss about home? Well I guess for me, I don't always get to be away from home long enough to miss it as I travel in every school holidays (which is about every 7 weeks but sometimes only for a week at a time) But after 2 weeks in New York I was certainly missing home a bit. A combination of late nights and early mornings was taking it's toll and my hostel was full of business men who were attending a conference for the weekend and needed cheap accommodation, so the social side was severely lacking. I felt pretty lonely and just wanted British TV and a bacon sandwich! I went to a supermarket, got some nice food, had a hot shower and skyped my friend and then had an early night. The combination of a filling meal, cosy pyjamas, a chat with someone from home and an early night left me feeling refreshed and renewed in the morning!
What have you learned about yourself? That I am self reliant and can do anything I set my mind too. That I can read a map pretty darn well. That I enjoy my own company. That I can make new friends easily. That I am a massive foodie. That I love history. That I am actually quite adventurous. Quite a lot really!
Favourite Quote? In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take.
Favourite new thing? (i.e. food you have tried, skill, tradition, place) Scuba Diving in a glacier lake in Iceland!
What advise would you give to other girls wanting to travel? Do it! Save a little every month,look for travel deals and find a way to go! Oh and never underestimate the importance of decent travel insurance!