Before I went on my RTW travels, I could be often found stalking other travel blogs but what really interested me was the travel blogger behind the witticisms of their writing. Who are they? Are they real? Are they fit? So hence, for a long time coming, I wanted to do some travel blogging interviews and crack them open for their rawness inspiration of travel inside. Think Michael Parkinson.
This interview is with, without a doubt, one of the most inspiring travel blogs out there offering tales and advice of adventure for the unadventurous. She’s short, stocky and ‘puffin-like’ as she describes herself, but she certainly came to my attention rather quickly at our first Travel Massive in London holding a bottle of wine and wearing a grin before saying ‘hello’. Since then, we have traded pretty hilarious stories of our misadventures, met up at various travel events whilst bonding over our love of red wine and supported each other professionally. She’s in one sense, amazing personified. Without much further ado, I give you, Hayley of the LovePuffin Travel Blog!
Name: Hayley, from Lovepuffin Travel Blog
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lovepuffin-Travel-Blog/518159948244358?ref=hl
Blog URL: http://lovepuffin.me
Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I’m originally from somewhere I like to call ‘The Shire’, but others like to call Horsham, in West Sussex. These days, I live in London.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Short, stocky, puffin-like.
Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
My blog focuses on ‘Adventure for the Unadventurous’. I’ve never been the most nimble or sporty person; my feet are flat and I’m just a bit chubby. I’m crap at skiing and I always fall off my surfboard, but I try. Travel helped me to realise that no matter how unusual your centre of balance, or how well you fill your clothes, you can make your life adventurous. I’ve just visited my 49th country and I can safely say I’m addicted to travel. It’s made me who I am today and I would be lost without it. I aim to share my experiences in a fun and hopefully relatable way, and inspire others to reach outside their daily life and find something new, even if it is a trip to Cornwall. (ED NOTE: that was worthy of an Oscar Speech! Or is it an X Factor Sob Story?)
Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
I started my blog in May 2013 with absolutely no idea what I was doing. I just wanted to create a place where I could keep all of my memories. Setting up the blog certainly wasn’t a quick job, and I chose about 50 WordPress themes before settling on one. Everything that happened after that was down to good old google. If I didn’t know how to do something, I looked it up!
If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be?
I read loads of other travel blogs so this has taken me ages to decide on. But if I’m forced to only pick 3, I would pick Amanda from A Dangerous Business, as she looks like she has so much fun; Liz from Young Adventuress as she has a great way of turning a phrase to make you smile, and Vicky from VickyFlipFlopTravels as she’s a good friend of mine in ‘real’ life and she is a right laugh.
What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
I’d tell them 3 things: Blog regularly, learn about SEO, and if you live near a big city hook up with your nearest travel bloggers at official events. Networking is not only great fun (and trust me, you’ll make some awesome friends), but it gets you noticed. (ED NOTE: Please be assured you will notice Hayley with a large glass of wine superglued to her hand at these events.)
Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
It depends entirely on you. Find out your strengths and then play to them. For me, it’s freelance writing, public speaking or social media consultancy, although there’s really not a great deal in it if you’ve got a busy full time job – where do you find the time? If you travel regularly, why not list your house or room on airbnb to get some extra cash that way? Personally, I’ve built my career around travel and I work in the travel industry, so get pretty good deals rather than earn lots of extra money. If you adore something, make it your life’s work and it won’t feel like work at all.
Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
I’ve been all over! Working in travel all of my life has meant that I’ve been really lucky to travel to nearly 50 countries. (ED NOTE: Show-off!) It’s almost impossible to decide on one single experience, but I’m going to try.
Best: New Zealand – the home of everything adventurous, and one of the most beautiful and certainly most friendly places I’ve visited. http://lovepuffin.me/epic-experiences-new-zealand/
Worst: I wasn’t keen on Uruguay, although I think it’s because I spent a lot of time in smelly old cities. I know there are some really lovely spots there too.
Funniest: I find people in the west of the USA pretty funny, especially in the smaller towns in Arizona. Pull up a bar stool next to any old craggy-looking guy in Arizona and he’s bound to have some stories for you! (ED NOTE: Wait a minute…that’s how you met me!)
Most random: When I was in Laos I ordered a mango salad which I expected to be fruity and fresh, but when I bit into it, it was the hottest things I’d ever put into my mouth! The pain was unbearable and it took about 3 days for my tummy to be right afterwards…
Scariest: I was mugged in Buenos Aires, which made me retaliate like a crazy person. That was pretty scary.
Naughtiest experience on your travels?
A lady never tells! But I’m hardly a lady… any of my friends will tell you that! (ED NOTE: An hour with you is a naughty experience!)
Luggage or Backpack?
Backpack, all the way! Check out my guide to choosing a backpack, your best travelling buddy! http://lovepuffin.me/travel-backpacks/
Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
Are you freaking crazy? I’m not going in if there’re sharks! It’s only stuff!
Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
Skydiving all the way! I did a bungee jump in Thailand and just before I jumped, I got terrible pins and needles in my feet, and now whenever I’m teetering on the edge of something high (or even just thinking about it), I get that horrible tingling feeling in the soles of my feet again. I’m convinced it’s a side effect of a mild trauma! I did recently do another bungee jump in Canada, and it was pretty freaking scary but I did enjoy it more! http://lovepuffin.me/video-bungee-jumping-whistler/
Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
I would have to say Michael Palin, although if I actually were seated next to him I think I would turn into a dribbling mess! (ED NOTE: But you’re the same with me!)
What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
I can shake my eyeballs from side to side, and I’m pretty good at that game where you pick up the cereal box with your teeth without touching the floor. Doing both at the same time would be pretty cool!
Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
I’m a fan of a nice Guesthouse with a communal area so you can meet your fellow travellers.
Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
Day trip Australia, backpack Vietnam, live in the UK (I’m a sucker for the self-deprecating culture).
Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
Don’t make me choose.
Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
Are you offering? (ED NOTE: Will your boyfriend mind?)
Did you find love on your travels?
False love, yes. But it wasn’t until I was back in the UK where I found the real deal.
Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
Nothing about this sentence appeals to me in the slightest.
And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
I actually can’t stand either of them! In fact, just the concept of a show where you’re meant to take pleasure in someone else’s depressing life for ever and ever baffles me.
Which 3 songs have you played the most on your ipod on your travels?
MGMT Time to Pretend, Duran Duran Ordinary World and M79 by Vampire Weekend (it’s just sooooooo happy!)
You travelled on your own, how did that go for you and did you find it easy to make new friends on the road?
I never have too many problems meeting people. (ED NOTE: Best understatement ever!) They’re only people, and most likely looking for other people to talk to (massive assumption!) so you might as well go up and talk to them!
What are your next travel plans?
I’ve been all over recently, and Canada is my last big trip for a while. I’ll probably fill the next few months with city breaks and short hiking trips, but I am planning something massive for 2015….. so stay tuned! (ED NOTE: C’mon, tell us!)
What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Make sure you’ve got yourself organised before you set off. Know the visa rules for countries you’re visiting, organise proper insurance and have a plan B in case things don’t go your way. It’s not the most glamorous of advice, but a little forward planning can go a long way!
Finally, tell us a funny travel story…
Hmmmm too many to choose from. Well, I once wandered into a party in Chiang Mai which I believed to be a cultural festival. People were dancing and offering us food and drinks, and started gathering around to take photos. Well it turns out it wasn’t a cultural festival at all… You’ll have to check out my blog for what was really going on! http://lovepuffin.me/stumbled-party-chiang-mai/ (ED NOTE: Tease!)
Thanks Hayley for doing this interview! If you would like to know more about her journeys, click here.
If you would like to have an interview, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you featured on here!