Meet Charlotte from Charlotte Duff

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Welcome to another installment of my travel blogger interview series! Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Charlotte from Charlotte Duff.

My name is Charlotte Duff and I have just started Charlotte Duff. I am from a small coastal town in the North of England called Tynemouth. In 2016 I started my Undergraduate degree at Newcastle University where my passion for Asian travelling really took off. Since then I have travelled to 24 countries and have studied in three. Writing travel blogs about my experiences is something I have wanted to do since I lived in Malaysia in 2018. My travel blog offers tips aimed at University students on how to travel cheaply and to make them aware of any overseas study programmes they might be eligible for. 

How long have you been blogging for? Why’d you decide to start a travel blog?

I have thought about travel blogging for 2 years now but never found the time to get round to building a site and actually doing it.

Since the outbreak, my international Cancer Research Placement was cancelled so I have eventually found the time to devote to building my website and writing blogs.

I have always wanted to share my experiences because I have been lucky enough to experience so many places of the world, have thoroughly enjoyed it, and want other people to do the same.

I am not the best writer & it is something that REALLY does not come naturally to me, but I am loving the challenge and seeing the personal growth that has happened since starting the blog. 

Do you have any tips for new travel bloggers/aspiring travel bloggers?

1. It is a lot of work to start the website initially and can be very frustrating at times! 

2. Do not give up and persevere through as you really can see all your hard work in the finished product. 

3. If you are feeling down, think about how far you have come and not about how much more you have to do.

4. Do not compare your newly developed site to one that has been running for years; just keep slowly moving forward with yours and focus on the positives. 

What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started traveling?

I wish I knew all the money-saving travel tips I know now! That would have saved me so much money haha.

A lot of travel on social media is portrayed as a luxury, but it really does not have to come with the luxury price tag. Take time to research, read blogs, and work out what your budget is; this will make sure you always stay within your means.

Why do you love to travel?

What is not to enjoy? No matter where I am in the world there is something that really excites me about being surrounded by everything new. Standing in a busy city or on a deserted beach stimulates a different combination of emotions and feelings which I have become addicted to.

I grew up competitively swimming which took me all over the world, however, when I was competing I didn’t see or experience the places or the cultures; I was just stuck inside a swimming pool the whole time!

I did, however, meet people from all over the world, and listened and learned about their native country which ignited a passion inside me to go and visit them all.

What’s your best and worst travel experience?

The best travel experience was my 1 month Easter break whilst studying in Malaysia. I started in Singapore and travelled all the way up through Malaysia and ended on a Thai island. This was the most time I had to travel while I was out there and I loved it so much.

It was also the first time I travelled in Asia alone which gave me so much confidence in myself, which then led me to travel to whole Asain countries, such as China, alone!

The trip was fast-paced at times and utterly relaxing at other times, it was a whirlwind of experiences and emotions, and I still talk about the trip fondly. 

My worst travel experience was when I was staying the night in a 20-bed hostel dormitory and my friend and I got our money stolen from our bags overnight. It was awful! It was our first night on Koh Samui which is a Thai island, not the best start….

After a lengthy conversation with a receptionist who was claiming not to be able to speak English until I started mentioning the police I eventually got to speak to the manager and managed to sort things out. 

Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with other people? Why?

I much prefer travelling with others, I love experiencing things with other people and then reminiscing over our trips. This can be with really close mates or people I have met on my travels.

I LOVE to plan, so most of my friends see me as an asset when organizing a trip; I am pretty good at it too so usually they don’t mind me taking over a little. 

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to? Why?

My favourite place is probably Koh Lipe. It is one of the less known Thai islands off the Western Coast of Thailand. It is actually closer to Malaysia than it is Thailand which made it super easy for me to visit while I was studying out there.

It is the perfect combination of tropical water, sandy beaches, beautiful hikes, and Thai full moon parties. 

Another reason why I LOVE Koh Lipe is that it is so small and you can walk around the whole island and get to know the locals who live and work there. 

What’s your biggest travel tip?

Plan Plan Plan. Pre-planning helps you get the most out of your trip and even if you just make a list of all the places you want to see rather than a schedule that’s a great start! Just being aware of what the place has to offer and finding any secret, less well-known spots.

Also, do your own DIY tours of the sights rather than paid guided trips. This allows you to be spontaneous and spend the perfect amount of time for you at each sight. 

Is there one specific thing you like to do, see, or buy in every place that you visit?

I like to visit either an area of natural beauty or do an ‘extreme’ activity like Scuba Diving, Skiing, Hiking etc.

One thing I like to buy at every destination is a postcard to send home to my family to let them know how I am getting on. I date stamp them, and they have kept them all in a cabinet in my living room which is nice to look back on. 

Is there one particular food that you’ve tried while traveling that you loved? What food was it and why do you love it so much?

YES! Oh my gosh, I had forgotten about this until I answered this question! When I lived in Malaysia, it was actually cheaper to eat out than it was to buy the ingredients and make food yourself!

I loved all Malaysian food two dishes will always be my favourite, Chili eggplant (AMAZING) and Nasi Goreng Ayam Kunyit, which translates to ‘Tumeric Chicken Fried Rice’.

My Malaysian adopted second mother used to make this for me at the on-site University cafe. I used to eat it almost every day for my lunch (and sometimes even breakfast).

Quick Questions

Plane or train? Train

City or nature? Nature

Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path

Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase

Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel

Professional camera or iPhone photography? iPhone

Warm or cold weather? Warm

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