Welcome to another installment of my travel blogger interview series! Today, I’m beyond excited to share the lovely Bliss from Travel for Bliss.
Hi, I’m Bliss, a traveller, matcha latte lover, and cat mum living in beautiful Barcelona with my Instagram Husband. In my spare time, I blog about the cultural experiences I’ve had in Spain and the places that I’ve loved visiting. Travel is a huge passion of mine, and I’ve been lucky enough to work in the travel industry for over eight years. When I’m not travelling and dreaming up a new blog post, I’m a Travel Counselor, sending VIPs around the world, and rescuing travellers stuck in international airports.
I started my travel blog back in January 2019. I went through a few months of not committing to it, so the real blogging focus and what I think of as my actual beginning was in October 2019. I wanted to create my own space, somewhere where I could share my travel experiences, but also use the knowledge I have from being a travel agent in the travel industry since 2011. What I love about it is that it’s completely mine (also slightly terrifying). I get to make all the decisions and its success is all up to me.
I wish I’d spent more time reading and investigating other travel blogs. It really helps to see how their web pages are set out. There’s a fine line between only being a pretty blog, and being a blog that people can actually navigate around and find what you want to share with them.
Also, my biggest piece of advice would be to remember to write for others and not just yourself. If you look at my early blog posts you’ll notice they have hardly any structure or headings and really don’t provide much advice or help for people wanting to have the same experience.
However, sometimes the only way to learn all of this is to just get started. Your writing will get better. Your photos will get better. Your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t will improve. You’ll never reach this point unless you just take the plunge.
Sometimes travel is scary or boring or will make you anxious and doesn’t turn out the way you had dreamed and that’s okay. The first day of my world trip (think country bumpkin suddenly in the middle of Tokyo) I was so overwhelmed. The worst part was the pressure I was putting on myself because I felt like I’d failed. I eventually just let myself have that crappy day and the days got better after that.
Having a tiny plan can make everything go smoother. I’ve done super organised travel and super unorganised travel. I enjoy both. What I’d recommend is to have at least the first few nights organised. I’ve learnt that the worst feeling after a long flight and battling jetlag is to have to find somewhere to stay.
Travel is such a unique experience. I fell in love with it after doing a world trip for a year with my twin sister after high school. It was such a transformative time. We grew up and learned so many life lessons, and met so many amazing people. It made my world so much bigger and varied and showed me other ways of living.
Now, over ten years later, I’m still as passionate about it. Travel makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile with my life. It makes me feel that I’m not just letting life pass me by, but instead living it to the full. I’m learning and evolving and making a positive impact.
There’s so many that I could choose for the best experience. Seeing the northern lights in Finland, sleeping on the deck of a yacht under the stars in Greece, watching a pagan fire festival in Spain, picnicking amongst the flowers in France. But for the best, I’m going to have to go with swimming with whale sharks in Mexico. I’ve always wanted to do it and we had such a perfect day. Great weather and about seventy whale sharks feeding in the one spot. Swimming with these gentle giants felt like it was life-altering (still trying to figure out what it changed). I would turn on my side and swim beside this huge creature and stare into its eye and feel the magnitude of the power and beauty of nature.
The worst travel experience would probably be ironically in what is now my favourite city (and where I currently live). I live in Barcelona, but over ten years ago I arrived on an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona. This was during the world trip I mentioned before, and I was traveling with my twin sister. We hadn’t slept at all and were super tired. We made our way on to the metro and stood in the corners of the metro with our heavy backpacks on our backs. Suddenly my sister said very loudly “excuse my ma’am” and I looked around to see a guy withdrawing his hand from a woman’s bag, as she snatched it away from him. The pickpocket was super embarrassed at being called out in front of everyone and walked up to us and spat in my sister’s face and started shouting abuse. All I could do was push him away and tell him he was disgusting and to get away from us. The worst part (and I still find this hard) was that absolutely no one helped us. They wouldn’t meet our eyes, even the woman my sister saved from being robbed ignored it all. We got off the metro at the port of Barcelona, bought a ferry ticket, and left within a few hours to Mallorca. Because of this I almost refused to move to Barcelona, but luckily I gave it a second chance, as it’s truly an amazing city.
To be honest I have never experienced solo travel. I always travelled with my twin sister and now I travel with my husband. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve missed out on something. I do enjoy wandering a city by myself sometimes. It’s very contemplative and almost meditative just being you and your thoughts. I’ve done it in Florence and Naples and really enjoyed it.
However, I love sharing travel with someone else. I can’t wait for my twin sister to be able to visit me again in Barcelona. There are so many great new places I want to share with her.
I’m kind of biased, but I love Spain. It’s such a great country and culture. I love the heat of the south with the beautiful Arabian buildings and the cold beer and tapas. Then there’s the French-like elegance and deep green of the north-west with the creative Pintxos. And of course, the beautiful east coast where Barcelona is. The food is amazing in Spain. I think tapas are some of the best food ever invented. And the Mediterranean summers are full of cool ocean swims and lazy afternoons in plazas. It’s definitely one of the best lifestyles in the world.
Golly, being a travel agent I have so many. Maybe check out my Travel Hacks article for the full list. Here’s a few below.
Get creative with your flights. So often we just book a boring one way or return for our holiday. The reality is that airfares have so much to offer. You can fly into one country and out of another, you can add stopovers and create world trips if you wish. Understanding which airline will fly where really helps with this, it could also save you money.
Another tip would be to pack for your destination. I always have a rule. If you can’t lift your own bag up to the train baggage storage then you need to pack less. If you’re travelling through Asia it might be better to use a backpack, whereas a trip to Paris would be okay with a suitcase.
I am becoming seriously obsessed with food experiences wherever I travel. This has escalated in the last two years to the point that I will gladly spend more money on a dining experience than the cost of my plane tickets. I just love the insight into a country that food provides. I will carefully research restaurants and prebook the ones I really want to eat at.
My favourite souvenirs are always ones I can use later. In Scotland, I bought a scarf and I always think of Scotland when I wear it. In Positano, I bought an olive oil dispenser and whenever I use it I think of Italy. In Paris, I bought a lipstick in Galleries Lafayette and the smell brings me right back. I love something I can use and experience a memory each time. I don’t want something that will end up on the fridge and gather dust.
I have fallen in love with so many foods while travelling. I’m going to share my longest running obsession. I LOVE RAMEN. I love Japan (I’ve been three times) and Ramen is one of my favourite dishes from one of my favourite countries. The mix of delicious broth, noodles and assorted meat or veggies is the best invention ever made. I’ve had some of the best Ramen of my life in Niseko, Osaka and some tiny little town near Hiroshima that I can’t remember the name of. Barcelona even has some amazing Ramen (maybe I should do a blog post!).
Plain or train? Plane, because you can go to so many more exciting places. But I want to change this to train to be more sustainable.
Hotel or hostel? I loved hostels when I traveled with my sister. Such great places to make new friends. However I’m totally a hotel type person now with my husband, especially something small and more boutique.
City or nature? A bit of both really, but I guess I never get sick of nature, but I do need a break from the pace of a city sometimes. Nature probably wins by a little bit.
Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path is always so much more fun. The experiences are usually a surprise, and you don’t need to deal with hoards of other people. However, some popular sites are popular for a reason, because they’re amazing.
Suitcase or backpack? Can I say both? I like to mix and match depending on my style of holiday.
Fast or slow travel? I was such a fast traveller when I was younger. The longest I’d spend in a place would be two days at the most. Now I’m slowing down and enjoying a place in a deeper way. I think they both have their places, but slow travel definitely has more benefits.
Professional camera or phone photography? Professional camera 100%. iPhones are great for happy snaps and videos, but the quality is definitely not the same. I love going over our photos from the day and editing them.
Warm or cold weather? Warm weather! In winter I’m always cold and it’s the worst. Summer is better for pretty dresses and swimming in the ocean.
All photos used throughout this post are courtesy of Bliss from Travel for Bliss.