Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Just starting out on your world travels? So is Laura.

I get lots of mail from readers, but the vast majority of it falls into two categories: travellers who've got home and are experiencing reverse culture shock, and people at the other end of the spectrum - would-be travellers who are a bit nervous about up and leaving their normal comfort zone and taking off into the world. Sometimes I forget that before I headed off to teach in Japan, I was pretty nervous about the whole idea too. Once you've travelled enough, it's easy to forget that some people might be (understandably) concerned about issues like safety, transport, language barriers and so on.

Anyway, this ramble is all a precursor to an interview I've just done with a British reader named Laura. She contacted me to get some advice about hitting the road to do lots of travel, and I must add that she doesn't sound nervous at all - mostly just excited! But I thought that hearing her thoughts before her travels - and hopefully, over the years, coming back to see how she's going on as she does travel - might prove helpful for some of my would-be traveller readers. So, without further rambling, here's Laura!

Laura the soon-to-be world traveller!
Why are you planning to travel slowly, spending several months in destinations when you can?
For me, I think to be able to fully appreciate a place, you need to spend more than two weeks in your chosen destination. I am a person who always wants to know just a little bit more, so I know I wouldn't feel fufilled leaving feeling like there are so many things undiscovered. To be able to know how you truly feel about somewhere, you need to live in it - see all the sights that an average tourist wouldn't get to see/do without being part of the community. The thought of having the opportunity to embrace all the cultures of the world, really excites me, and I only wish I had started earlier.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be, and why?
Oh my goodness, there are so many places that I can't wait to visit in the future, but the one that I am extremely eager to go to is Bali. Just the idea of locking yourself in your own serenity on an island as beautiful as Bali sounds absolutely wonderful to me. I am greatly interested in the Buddhist culture too, yet I know little about it, so I am definitely looking forward to finding out more about that. I have a feeling that a place like Bali is going to be a place that I will never want to come home from.

Is there anything about travelling which worries or scares you?
One of the main things I am scared about travelling, is the feeling of disappointment. I hope that after all of my dreaming, research and planning of where I want to go and what I want to do is as amazing as I expect. I am aware that there may be a few places that I go to that I may not enjoy, but I don't want to feel out of my comfort zone. However, I am a very adaptable and I do consider myself as adventurous, so I am excited to put that to the test.

Another factor that does worry me (as I'm sure it does everyone else) is the financial aspect of travelling. I will try to live on a minimum spend, and I intend to work whilst travelling, but I think it will always be a thought in the back of my mind.

Thanks so much Laura, it's really interesting to hear your thoughts before your first trip to Thailand in 2012, and I love your attitude towards travelling. I recently mentioned that I'm not particularly keen on going to Bali, but that's because I imagine it is completely full of Aussie tourists, but your description of it makes me consider changing my mind! And I wouldn't worry too much about being disappointed. There will definitely be (many) things on your travels that don't match your expectations in some way, but there will also be so many unexpected experiences that make up for that well and truly. I look forward to following you on your travels!


  1. Yes, funny, Bali has such an exotic image over here, whereas when I've talked to Australians it has sounded like Benidorm. I am sure that even if she is disappointed with some aspects of it, she will find other places which delight and surprise her. Good luck, Laura!

  2. Yes - we saw a TV series on Benidorm here recently and that's exactly what we think of Bali! But that is definitely only parts of it, there is much more to see and enjoy and I'm sure you're right Jenny - Laura will definitely have some wonderful experiences.


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