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 week’s interview is no other than the most disco-y travel blogger around. With her love for travel and wanderlusting growing stronger and stronger, this free-spirit wants to get adventurous and experience the new cultures along the way. Hey, she loved Africa as a solo backpacker. We have many things in common – cheese, wine (oh yes), singing to cheesy songs such as Glee and Grease, and also dressing up. Sounds like my kind of girl. Without much further ado, I give you Helen of Helen in WanderLust!
1. Name: Helen Davies
2. Twitter: @helenwonderlust
3. Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/heleninwonderlust
4. Blog URL: http://www.heleninwonderlust.co.uk/
5. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I’m from Liverpool. At the moment I’m back at home but my next big trip is just around the corner! I have made the most of my time back in the UK going on quite a few micro-adventures!
6. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Adventurous. Fun. Kind.
7. Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
I think every blogger is unique, no two stories are the same. With me, what you see is really what you get! I’m a thinker with a silly side, my friends just laugh AT me as I’m always getting into mischief. (Ed Note: Sure about that? Maybe they are laughing at you for something else…)
At the moment I’m writing mostly about travels (and working) in Africa but I have been all over! I didn’t realise it, but solo female travel in Africa doesn’t seem to be too popular, so in that sense, as I do travel by myself there, perhaps that makes me unique?
8. Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
I’ve always written about my travel experiences for friends and family back home and people are always asking for my advice on where to go/what to do, so I thought I’d put down all of my thoughts, stories, tips and photos in to one place. Was it easy to set up? To be honest – no. I’m not very technical and I’d never even heard of a widget before I started the blog a few months ago. But with a bit (a lot) of research and a few sleepless nights, I am getting there, now know how to use WordPress and really enjoying the whole process. Even with these big bags under my eyes!
9. If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I haven’t met any other travel bloggers yet, although there’s a few I’ve met over email or admire from afar… I’d have to say Toni from Reclaiming My Future, Arianwen from Beyond Blighty and you of course Ed. Reckon we’d have a right laugh! (Ed Note: Aw, thanks!)
10. What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
Persevere. It’s not an easy and you will probably think about giving up, but just keep going, write for yourself and for the fun of it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and just enjoy it!
11. Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
My general advice would be to make little savings here and there – do you really need that Starbucks every day or your copy of Heat magazine? No you don’t. Cut them out! Babysitting or doing chores in return for payment. I suppose this is work… Sell your things, I did a car boot sale before my trip and sold a few things on eBay. You won’t miss that Karen Millen dress you never wear, when you are rafting the Nile with the money you made selling it! Believe me. Karen Millen? Karen Schmillen! (Ed Note: I don’t understand Girl Speak!)
12. Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
I’ve travelled mostly in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and North America. Sadly I’ve not been to Antarctica or South America… yet.
Best: Africa – If I had to choose Zambia and Uganda. I love the wildness of Africa.
Worst: Cuba – I like most places but I wasn’t overly impressed by Cuba. Some bits were great, but I don’t know if I’d go back, but I’ll never say never.
Funniest: Vietnam – Just the funniest month of my life, loved the country, loved the Vietnamese people and my travel companions were just brilliant.
Most Random: Northern Ireland – I went to work there for a couple of months in 2002. I’d been there a few days when I met a group of guys in a bar who ‘adopted’ me. Over the time I was there, I went to a Christening, countless nights out and to all their houses for dinner with their girlfriends. If you’ve ever read ‘Round Ireland with a Fridge’ by Tony Hawks, you’ll know what I mean.
Scariest: Climbing Kilimanjaro, scary but exhilarating!
13. Naughtiest experience on your travels?
Skinny dipping – numerous times and I’ve ‘borrowed’ a few rikshaws/tuk-tuks in my time. I gave them back eventually! (Ed Note: I’m so shocked!)
14. Luggage or Backpack?
Backpack without a doubt.
15. Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
Camera, notebook, iPod.
16. Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
Skydive, although I’ve never done either. I’d probably wee my pants! (Ed Note: Can you get a video of you exactly doing that?)
17. Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
Bruce Parry, he’s on my ‘list’ (laminated Ross from Friends style). But also David Attenborough, who is NOT on my ‘list’ – but is equally, if not more, amazing.
18. What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
My Thriller dance routine. I tend to bring that bad boy out on a regular basis. It’s a crowd pleaser. (Ed Note: So you’re saying you’re a zombie?!)
19. Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
I’d do any, but I’d say hostel or guesthouse first.
20. Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
Live – UK (because I do already), Backpack – Vietnam (but I could live there as I loved it), Day Trip – Australia (but only because it’s so far away from my family).
21. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
22. Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
Tempting as that offer is, I don’t think my other half would approve…(Ed Note: he does, ask him…) but if you show me your best Thriller dance routine is up to it I might add you to the list…. 😉
23. Did you find love on your travels?
Yes – Africa! And all the wonderful friends I met along the way.
24. Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
Can I choose the celebrities? (Ed Note: No. You have to put up with Jedward)
25. And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
Well Neighbours, obviously! I even have the Neighbours Wedding Collection video. Scott and Charlene, Harold and Madge, Des and Daphne – all the classics. I’m proud of it too.
26. Which 3 songs have you played the most on your ipod on your travels?
Africa by Toto
Could You Be Loved by Bob Marley
Defying Gravity the Glee version
27. 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 love travelling by myself, I love the freedom of it, but I’m also very sociable so I make an effort to meet people as I go and find it easy to make friends. There have been times when I’ve arrived in a new place and not known a soul and I do sometimes feel those butterflies when I go over to a group of people and ask if I can join them, but never have I been turned away. And if I was, I figure they’re not my kind of people anyway and they’re missing out!
Friends you meet travelling tend to fall into two categories; those who you’re best buds for a day or two and then you never speak to them again, and those that become the lifelong friends who just ‘get’ you. When you go through a shared new experience with people you tend to have a special bond.
28. What are your next travel plans?
I’m off surfing for a week to sunny Devon, and then off to the US for a road trip (San Diego, LA, San Fran, Yosemite and Vegas – and everything in between). (Ed Note: Awesome!)
29. What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Don’t worry. Getting on that plane is the hard bit. Once you’re there, things become easier. Take your sense of humour!
30. Finally, tell us a funny travel story…
So my friend James and I were on a night train from Sapa to Hanoi. We decided that we were going to have a silent disco in our bunks. James was at the top on one side, me on the middle of the other side. Laying in our bunks, we scoured our iPods, and the only song we could find that matched was Midnight Train to Georgia (just so cool aren’t I). Anyway so we sync up – I’m Gladys Knight, James a lone Pip.
I’m looking up at James, we’re miming and gesturing with all our might, giggling quietly as we go. This goes on for a minute or so until I look across, and the Vietnamese man opposite me has woken up and is cowering under his blanket, staring at me as though I was about to murder him. Maybe you had to be there but it was bloody hilarious at the time. (Ed Note: Maybe it was because you were murdering the song?)
Thanks Helen 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 email@example.com and we’ll get you featured on here!
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Loving the blog! I’m about to go to Africa, as a solo female traveller so this fills me with confidence. Can’t wait now!!!
Most disco-y travel blogger, who loves Grease, sings and always has a cocktail in hand… pretty much sums me up!
Thanks for the interview Ed! x