So, as I approach my Twenty Seventh Birthday (which is in a few months), I started looking at what I want to achieve before I hit the big 3-0. So, amongst other things, I have decided to set a goal for my travels before adulthood seriously takes a hold of me. So having been to 19 countries already. Surely another 11 couldn’t hurt and be semi-reasonable to achieve? I am already over the half way hurdle and 30 seems like a nice round number.
So in light of this revelation, I thought it would be best to look back on my previous adventures and answer some of your questions that I regularly get asked:
How do you decide what countries to go to?
Firstly I set a budget. I normally look at around £250 a trip and then I go on Skyscanner. I normally set the destination to “Everywhere” and select “cheapest month” and have a look at the results. I then whittle it down to countries and destinations I’ve never been to and look at them in more detail from there (i.e. are the flight times good? how much are the hotels? etc). I normally base this on 2/3 nights. Once I have done that, I normally have a look on Google maps and see if there are any neighbouring countries or towns I can visit within about 2 hours on a Flixbus and consider them for day trips. It takes a lot of time and preparation but I believe it to be worth it and definitely makes my trips pocket friendly. I managed to do my Danube trip for £175 from this and knock 3 countries out in 5 days (not including spending money).
Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go?
Erm… Africa has never appealed to me. I mean, I would consider places like Morocco or maybe Tunisia, perhaps Cape Verde for a relaxing holiday…. But nowhere else really on that continent appeals to me. I wouldn’t be particularly fussed about going on a Safari.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Aside from Mr Rambling’s dodgy cooking, I tried a few weird things when I went to Beijing. I tried chicken feet and scorpion and that was definitely an eye opener. There were times when I was there that I would eat at a lovely Italian restaurant every now and again just to have some sense of ‘normal food’ as the flavours were sometimes a bit bizarre. Oh! And green tea chocolate. I saw a packet of Pocky and the packet was green with leaves on it …. I thought it was mint… I was sorely mistaken!
How do you manage to pack so much into a trip in such a short space of time?
Basically it’s effective time management. As I said in the previous question, I do a reasonable amount of preparation before travelling. I like to set a methodical walking route for each day and some sort of itinerary just to make sure that I don’t miss anything I really want to see. I like to set a time of leaving the hotel at about 9.30am and get back for 3pm. This allows a potential cat nap or swim in the pool before getting ready to go out for dinner. The cities I normally go to have a good tourist infrastructure so getting from A to B is quite easy. There is normally plenty of time to get lost and deviate from plans. I accidentally found Europa park in Budapest and the Jubilee Synagogue in Prague by just wandering. I also eat on the go if I can, I love food markets and pick up snacks and eat them on a benches at landmarks. This is a great opportunity just to people watch and enjoy the (sometimes) good weather.
How do you survive the long haul flights?
I don’t really know if I ‘survive’ them… I try and sleep if I can. I regularly took 10 hour flights in my teens and I just got used to them. I normally have a large Cointreau as soon as the drinks trolley comes around to take the sting off the stale cabin pressure. If I am awake, I make sure I’m occupied with a book, there are normally some good movies on the TV screens. Face wipes are handy just for a freshen up and some make up and a change of top to make myself feel a bit human before landing.
I don’t really think about it too much, it’s just something that’s got to be done to get to your destination and there’s no point complaining about it. It’s worth it once you land!
If you could move to any other place, where would you go?
This is a tough one as I can’t see myself living anywhere else that isn’t Scotland! I think if I had to pick somewhere, it would probably be Budapest. Not only is the city incredibly beautiful but it’s full of creativity and the locals are super friendly. It’s also relatively close to other beautiful destinations around central Europe so it would make my travels a lot easier!
Is there anywhere else in the UK you’d like to visit?
Of course! I would love to explore more of what my little island has to offer. On the top of my list, I would have to say that I’d love to visit the Channel Islands.
I hope that answers some of your most burning questions about my travels. Any other questions just comment below 🙂