Hey I’m Catrina! Irish blood but raised in England! I have travelled to 85 countries and lived in 3 different continents! I traded in A&E and Operating Theatres for la dolce vita in Italy for 1 year before moving to The Middle East to work as a Flight Attendant.
Several years later now I find myself living and travelling around Australia with my partner! Through my adventures I hope I will make travel easier for you and inspire you to explore new places!
Since a young age I always had a passion for geography and travel. I remember countless times as a young child, my cousins and I would all be in the back of the car; they would all be playing games, whilst I would be there with my head stuck in an atlas or reading about a foreign land, or trying to learn a new language.
I was always crazy for big cities. I remember as a child I was desperate to go to New York. So much so that I convinced my father, after years of trying, to take us on a family holiday to New York once I had finished my school exams at age 16.
I couldn’t believe when he actually booked it. I took the guidebook of New York that my mum had bought and studied it harder than any of my school subjects that’s for sure.
I was reading about New York City every night; studying the layout of the city, learning about all the different neighbourhoods in Manhattan, getting inspired by quotes about New York, and even writing an itinerary for our trip to ensure we saw all the best bits.
When we arrived in New York, my family were amazed how I appeared to know the city like the back of my hand.
Albeit my family were a little shocked when I insisted we needed to visit Harlem, but they went along with it as I was so passionate to see it. This was to be the first of many trips I would plan.
When I was living in central London during my twenties, every weekend me and my friends would be out exploring a new corner of our city, and when friends or family from outside London would visit, I would organise a perfect itinerary each time.
I was, and still am, so passionate about that city, it will always have my heart, and every day spent there made my soul feel alive.
However, since my summer in South America in 2009, I just couldn’t shake that feeling that travelling and being in unfamiliar places gave me.
That sense of independence, excitement, empowerment, uncertainty – it was my addiction! My best friend understood how I felt – because she felt it too!
Every year we would take all of our annual leave in one go, leave London and backpack to far-away exotic countries together, including Mexico, Thailand, Belize, Guatemala.
I also had been training and performing dance all my life, and so travelled to Cuba a few times to dance with the masters – thus combined my two passions: travel and dance!
On the dancefloor one night in London I met my sweetheart, my soulmate, who opened my mind to spirituality: we had such a strong connection that could not be described in words, and he knew what I was thinking before even I knew.
The connection was so intense, and he could see this burning desire I had inside me to travel and live overseas and experience other cultures, without me needing to say a word.
Most people lose the travel bug after a while, but for me those feelings of curiosity weren’t going away, in fact they were only intensifying!
I was desperate to live abroad and immerse myself in a different way of life, learning and growing every day. I had wanted this for several years now, but always thought that kind of life was always destined for someone else, not me.
I looked up to these people and admired them, but I would never be strong enough to join them.
I didn’t believe I had the courage to step out of my comfort zone, nor was I comfortable to break away from all the social norms my friends were doing. My soulmate put all my fears at ease and helped me realise I COULD do it!
I had my heart set on Italy. But how was I going to be able to support myself there if I couldn’t speak the language?
My soulmate again stepped in and introduced me to the concept of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) and pushed me to do the course, even though I wasn’t too keen at first.
For months I studied hard for the course, whilst still working 45+ hours a week in the Accident & Emergency Department and surgical theatres.
After I finished the course, I handed in my resignation to my boss, who actually thought I had lost the plot!
I couldn’t really explain it either – I just knew that it was the right thing for me to do, even if nobody around me had faith in my decision.
Although leaving London was one of the hardest things I had to do, I knew there was a big old world out there just waiting for me, waiting to be explored!
I will forever be thankful to that soulmate for entering my life, leaving such a big imprint on my heart, and guiding me on the right path.
I cannot even describe the feeling I had when I boarded that flight to start my new life in Italy.
Whilst my parents were terrified my out-there plan would fail, and that I would come back with my tail between my legs after a few weeks once my money had run out, I was so full of adrenaline and excitement.
THIS was my life now. It felt like a dream, only better!
Almost immediately after arriving into Italy I landed on my feet; I ended up teaching Business English to Management in Italy’s largest companies and worked as a nanny/au-pair during the evenings, and after a few months I became fluent in the Italian language.
It was the most liberating time of my life. I was based in Palermo, Sicily, which was a total dream – I felt so at home in that city, surrounded by incredible warm people, delicious food, and unique Sicilian culture and history.
The family I lived with became my family, I loved them so much and even now I still go back and visit them as often as possible.
During my time in Sicily I met some truly incredible people and was able to travel around a lot as I only worked part-time hours – on days off I went off alone and explored almost every corner of the beautiful island.
This was when I first started to travel alone regularly.
I was fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot when I was younger, with family and friends, but this solo travel I was experiencing gave me such a sense of empowerment.
Often I would have to move around Italy with the family’s schedule and so I spent the summer between Turin, Sardinia and the Italian Alps – I was so lucky I was getting paid to stay in all these amazing places, have so much free time and discover so much of Italy!
My soul was alive because I was travelling and exploring all the time and adapting to a different culture (and let me tell you – living with Italians is a completely different kettle of fish than what I was used to back home and I certainly learnt a thing or two – mostly about how to cook properly!).
After one year in this amazing country, I didn’t want to leave but I knew I needed to carry on travelling and see even more of the world.
So I applied for a job as a Flight Attendant in the Middle East, where I stayed for 3.5 years as my passion for travel kept growing, despite already being extremely well travelled.
This job has given me so many opportunities and I have learnt so much whilst being here.
I have visited some incredible places I hadn’t even dreamed about, met some pretty cool people, learnt things you cannot find in any book, and have learnt a LOT about myself.
I started to write my blog as a way to remind myself of all the places I have been and useful things I had learnt from countries – so that I can look back one day and reminisce, kind of like a diary.
I also started documenting my travels as there have been a handful of times in my life when I have been utterly breathtaken by nature, and how I wished my parents could have experienced those things with me, so I write and take pictures so they can get inspiration!
And boy do they! They are both recently retired but travel almost as much as me!
Last year they travelled around Alaska, earlier this year I took them backpacking round Cambodia and Vietnam, currently they are cruising around south-east Asia, and next year they want to take on South America!
I’ve never met a pair of old fogeys who love to explore so much, but I guess I know where I inherited it from now!
They inspire me as much as I inspire them, and I’m so glad we share this passion and they are 100% supportive and understanding of my lifestyle.
“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
“Love the life you live.”
Disclaimer: Anything mentioned in this website is from my own personal experiences, a mixture of layovers and independent travel. It is the personal responsibility of any flight attendant to ensure they are well fit and rested before any duty and it is up to them to efficiently manage their time when off duty. This website denies any responsibility if any flight attendant attempts anything mentioned in the itineraries and feels unfit to operate a flight afterwards.
Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!