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Welcome to today’s installment in my new travel blogger interview series! The goal of this weekly series is to help spread the blogging love and introduce you to some other awesome travel bloggers! Any travel blogger, whether new or experienced, can sign up to be featured in this new series. Today I’m happy to share that I’m featuring Stuart from Just Travelling Through!
Hi, I’m Stuart from Just Travelling Through. I’m originally from the UK although I’ve been living in the north of Spain for the last few years working as an English teacher. I started travelling thanks to a friend I used to work with and haven’t really looked back since. Most of my travelling has been done backpacking and staying in hostels where I’ve met a lot of very cool people and had a lot of fun. There’s still plenty of places I want to visit and most of what I write about is on the road stories and some of the less popular locations.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING FOR? WHY’D YOU DECIDE TO START A TRAVEL BLOG?
I began writing my blog seriously at the start of last year. Then this year I decided to change the name to something other than just my own name, although that did involve quite a lot of work. There’s plenty I wished I’d known a year ago that could have saved me time and frustration now!
I’ve always enjoyed writing since I was young and with my love of travelling it just seemed an obvious thing to do. Whilst travelling is still my main passion, when I go somewhere now I’m starting to think about how I can write about it and make sure I take some useful photos. I love sharing my stories with other people and letting them know about things they can find.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW TRAVEL BLOGGERS/ASPIRING TRAVEL BLOGGERS?
Take notes! I’ve recently been looking back at old journals from previous trips and it’s rare that I actually keep notes all the way through a trip. Despite thinking I’ll definitely remember all the most important moments, going back now there is so much I’d forgotten about.
Even if you don’t write about it in your blog, it’s fun to just read later and remember your experiences. Other than that, just write. Don’t worry too much about the technicalities of blogging. If you’re doing it because you enjoy writing just start writing and see what comes out.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU STARTED TRAVELING?
It never ends! Travelling is so addictive and the more I do it the more places get added to my list, either I meet people from somewhere or they tell me about a place. Not that this would have stopped me going, but it would have prepared me a little. I think some people go on one big trip (after university for example) and then that’s it.
Others keep going. Always looking for more places to explore and learn new things.
WHY DO YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL?
I love seeing new places, the incredible scenery, famous sights, learning a few words in another language (badly) and experiencing different cultures. However, my favourite thing is meeting people. Whether that’s other travellers or locals. I was always quiet growing up and everyone was very surprised to learn I’d gone travelling on my own.
Travelling by myself has forced me to be more open and meet new people as I travel the world. My confidence has improved as a result to the point where now I’m living in Spain working as an English teacher and leading a group of students from the front of a class. That’s not something I ever thought I’d do.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST AND WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE?
I think I’ve been fairly fortunate in my travel experiences, but getting from Krabi to Koh Samui was a bit stressful. It included a rough ferry crossing where the sea was visible from one window of the boat and sky through the other, the minibus driver forgetting to drop me off at my hostel then trying to charge me extra to take me, getting lost on the way back to the hostel, chased by a large dog, the least friendly dorm roommates and a massive cockroach!
But I also met some guys in the middle of a jungle who happened to be from the next town at home and I spent what turned out to be a fun Christmas with them. It’s funny to look back at it now, but not so much at the time.
There are too many good experiences to think of, although seeing a lion in Namibia was a real highlight. It was pretty much the only thing I definitely wanted to do when I went to Africa (I even Googled where to see them!). I remember taking one photo and then just watching him, enjoying the moment. A few weeks after that I did my first volunteer/travel experience when I worked at a big cat sanctuary in South Africa.
DO YOU PREFER SOLO TRAVEL OR TRAVELING WITH OTHER PEOPLE? WHY?
I usually travel alone and meet people as I go. It’s not always by preference, I just prefer to travel for a few months and generally my friends can’t get that same length of time off work. It means I get to meet a lot of people though. Spending a few months alone doesn’t really appeal to me so I try to make friends as I go.
Whether that’s for the few days I’m in a city or going on a road trip for two weeks with some people I just met. It’s part of the fun of travelling.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE EVER BEEN TO? WHY?
Some cities I get a good feeling the moment I arrive, while with others it can take a couple of days. Some cities I never really like. My favourite country is New Zealand. There’s so much to do, the views are stunning and the people are the friendliest I’ve ever met anywhere in the world. Patagonia is similarly beautiful and somewhere I’d like to go again some time.
For cities Rio, Munich and Lisbon are three of my favourites. Although part of that was the people I met and the fun we had.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST TRAVEL TIP?
Packing cubes are my latest favourite accessory. On my first trip, I took so many things I never used and I’ve learned to pack lighter each time I’ve gone away since. Any kind of accessory that can help you do this is so helpful and packing cubes are the most recent addition. It’s easy to keep everything separated into little squares and only pull out what you need.
They also slide into my backpack easily so everything doesn’t end in a jumbled up heap and I have to start dragging things out just to find the sweater at the bottom.
IS THERE ONE SPECIFIC THING YOU LIKE TO DO, SEE, OR BUY IN EVERY PLACE THAT YOU VISIT?
I try to do free walking tours in a city. Aside from the obvious (it’s free!), you learn about the history of the city, what there is to do, local food to try and also gather your bearings forgetting about. Viewpoints are always good too. I have a lot of photos from high up over the city. Either from a lookout or the top of tall buildings.
For souvenirs, I like to bring my family back something from everywhere I go and after a few months, my backpack would be full. So I buy something small such as fridge magnets and ceramic thimbles. My parents’ fridge is now covered! They might need to buy a new one.
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?
I like to try some local food when I travel although I haven’t eaten anything much weirder than stingray. Each country has its own little intricacies, even for something like breakfast. In South America, they always had cake available, especially in Puerto Madryn where I was given about 5 different ones!
The meat is good too. I went to a buffet in Foz Do Iguaçu and was constantly being offered more until I could hardly move. The steaks in Argentina are as good as their reputation suggests. Even the fatty, not-so-good-looking ones taste amazing.
Plane or train? Train
Hotel or hostel? Hostel
City or nature? Nature, but both really
Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path where I can
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack. Definitely.
Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel, although I’ve gone too fast at times
Professional camera or iPhone photography? My photography skills aren’t the best, so I just stick with the phone.
Warm or cold weather? Cold. I really want to go to Antarctica!
All photos used throughout this post are taken by Stuart from Just Travelling Through.