You asked, so here it is! Here are the answers to all those questions I get frequently asked!
What were your best travel moments?
Spending New Years Eve at the Sydney fireworks, being in New Orleans for the Mardi Gras celebrations, watching the sunrise at Ayers Rock, arriving at Macchu Picchu, dancing salsa in Havana with the locals, being a guest English teacher in Bogota, swimming in a Mexican cenote, backpacking across Vietnam with my parents, swimming with humpback whales in Queensland, having Bedoiun tea in a cave in Petra, experiencing sakura in Kyoto, cycling across San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge, standing at Christ the Redeemer in Rio, being in total awe at the vast Iguazu Falls.
What crazy things have happened to you on the road?
Oh my gosh, far too many! So many friends tell me I should write a book with all the crazy things that have happened to me! Don’t ask me how, but I once rode a wild zebra in South Africa, a giraffe licked my face in Nairobi, my friends and I hitchhiked across Peru convinced we were going to get kidnapped, I slept out in the wild in a sleeping bag with no tent in the Australian outback, once I went 40 hours straight with no sleep, a Mexican cowboy rode me across the border to Guatemala on his horse, I broke my collarbone whilst I was living in Sicily and I now have a titanium collar bone as a souvenir, I woke up in Peru and a baby scorpion was crawling on my bed, me and my friend got chased on a beach in Sardinia by an ugly naked guy who then turned out to be the local yoga teacher, a koala pooed on me in Brisbane, and my luggage went on holiday to Vegas without me. It’s safe to say there is never a dull moment when I travel!
Do you ever get homesick?
I actually left home and moved away 12 years ago, so I’ve been living away from my family for a long time now. In all that time I have very rarely got homesick. I’m close to my family, but my mother raised me to be very independent, which I am so thankful for. Of course I always feel sad when I say goodbye to my family as I often don’t know how long it will be until I see them again. I have a young niece and nephew who I adore, and they adore me, and when I hug them to say goodbye and I feel how tight they are hugging onto me and not wanting me to leave, that always brings a tear to my eye and I feel guilty for leaving and living abroad. But over time you learn to protect your feelings and make yourself numb to it, and if I feel sad I just think of all the things I have to look forward to – I always try and get home for big events where possible, or try and surprise my family when they go on holidays (I have a habit of just popping up that they sort of expect it now!).
If you could only bring one thing travelling, what would it be?
It would have to be my phone so I can take photos and of course stay in touch with loved ones! For me, photographs are the most precious thing I can take away from my travels, not a fridge magnet or any other souvenir. You can capture so many emotions and memories in your photos.
Why and when did you start your blog?
I only started working on my blog in June 2018 when I finally bought myself a Mac laptop. At that point I had already been travelling and living abroad for a number of years. I had initially thought about writing a blog when I first moved to Italy in early 2015, but I just didn’t know where to start: I knew nothing about setting up websites, I hadn’t written much since leaving University several years earlier, and I was never confident in my writing skills – I thought nobody would be interested in reading what I had to write! When I started working as a flight attendant and going to lots of different destinations, I would research and briefly write notes in my notebook before each layover planning an itinerary for each trip and useful tips for certain places. I would always post my pictures on Facebook and write a little caption next to it about the amazing places I visited, and I always had crazy stories and adventures that so many friends kept telling me I should start a blog! After debating for a while, I researched a lot about website hosting, CSS, plug-ins and the likes, and then I just bit the bullet, I set up my website, wrote my first blog post, pressed the publish button and the rest is history!
Why did you name your blog 24 Hours Layover?
I wanted a blog name that was relevant to my travel lifestyle and that was easy to remember. I also wanted a name that was a bit different to all the other travel accounts on Instagram. The average layover time we get as cabin crew in my airline is 24 hours layover, and seeing as I also write 24 hour travel itineraries, I thought this would be a good name for my blog!
Why do you often travel solo? Do you not get lonely on your own?
For me solo travelling started not out of choice, when I was working in Italy. I often would have 3 day weekends and so I wanted to get out and see as much of the country as I could. My friends living there couldn’t afford to be exploring new places all the time and often had different schedules to me so it wasn’t always possible to do weekend trips away together, so the option was either to go away alone or to not go away at all (and well, that was never really an option!). At first I wasn’t too keen on solo travel – I was worried people would think I had no friends and I always felt awkward having a table for one at restaurants. When I started going on layovers as a flight attendant, I was really taken aback that a lot of the crew never want to do anything together on layovers! I was always really keen to explore places but many of them just wanted to sleep and rest and save money on their layovers, or sometimes you would make plans with one of them and then they wouldn’t turn up as they were too tired. So I learnt to rely on nobody and to always have my plans: if somebody wants to join, great, if not, it’s no skin off my nose. Now solo travel has totally grown on me and I love it! I never feel lonely or awkward and it’s so easy for me to strike up a conversation and friendship with anybody if I feel like it (I met some of my best friends through travelling!), although I also do really enjoy time by myself!
Do you prefer solo travel or travelling with friends?
Honestly, I love a bit of both. When I travel with friends it is a lot more chilled out than when I travel solo: we often stay in really nice hotels and enjoy a lengthy breakfast, lunch and dinner together and go at a slower pace, which is nice sometimes. Whereas when I’m travelling alone, I love to stay in hostels so I meet other like-minded travellers and I always set my alarm early so I get to the touristy places before they get too crowded. I often grab street food to maximise my time and so I am able to pack a lot more into my day. When you travel with friends you always need to compromise on things, and so I like the freedom of travelling solo as I do what I want when I want. I also find you get a totally different experience when you travel solo – you are more observant of everything, you are more open to local traditions and being immersed into the culture, and you actually meet a ton of people!!
My favourite destinations for:
The local people: – Cambodia, Cuba, Ireland, Indonesia, Iran, Vietnam.
Beaches: – Sardinia, Seychelles, Western Australia, Thailand, Mauritius.
Nature: –Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, USA.
Backpacking on a budget: – South East Asia and Latin America.
The food: – Australia, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Thailand.
The history: – Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Italy, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan.
Photography: – Hong Kong, Japan, Oman, Guatemala, Brazil, France.
Wildlife: – South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Sri Lanka, Brazil.
Spirituality: – Bali, Australia, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, New Orleans, Zion National Park Utah.
Being totally out of my comfort zone!: – Japan, China, Nepal.