Digital Travel Guru, Interviewed the fabulous Kiwi Ruby Travel Stories, as part of our featured blogger series, check out the interview below, as we talk about all things travel and rugby.

Please tell us when you started your blog, what inspired you to start blogging & anything about your blog you want to share, including how you came up with your blog name, how long you have been blogging.

Between 2014 and 2015 I clocked up close to 100,000kms travelling for rugby; in particular, a rugby player named Richie McCaw, and I didn’t really document my adventure or even put down anything as a memory, so that’s how I started doing my blog and vlog.

I started to blog first then I honestly forgot it, and came back to it about 2 years later after I established myself on YouTube. I’ve now been blogging for 4 months again on a regular basis and vlogging for almost 18 months.

My name was more organic if anything, I’m a Kiwi, who loves travelling for rugby, who wants to share my story.

Do you have any tips for our readers that want to start blogging?

Be patient, nothing happens instantaneously.

You need to be persistent on doing what you do, to reach your goals and gain recognition. Learn how to market yourself on social media, and keep your personal social media accounts professional and understand that anyone could be watching your every move, including potential collaborators, this could make or break a deal.

Most importantly, learn to sacrifice your time to make sure you achieve what you want to do, and make sure to allow for changes to your goals, as you will find that a lot of things you set out to do, may not work.

Have you got any exciting travel plans for this year or planned? If so where are you going? Tell us about it.

 I’m heading to Melbourne for 1 day on 27 – 28 May to see the Crusaders rugby team take on the Melbourne Rebels, due to my battles with an auto immune disease, I missed out going to Sydney in early April to see the Crusaders play against the Waratahs, so I am going next month.

I am hopefully heading to Sydney from 18-20 August to see the New Zealand All Blacks team take on Australia’s Wallabies in the first game of the Bledisloe Cup, I am hoping that the NZRU and ARU can help me with Media Accreditation for the match so I can share a more in-depth experience.

From 3-20 October, I am heading to Japan with my partner, to check out the Japanese Top League Rugby tournament and see more of Japan since I missed out on so much on my trip in 2016 due to a typhoon so, I am returning to see more of Japan and stake out the finest food and drink in a convenience store.

Do you have any useful apps you use to plan your trips? If so which ones do you recommend & why?

 Trip It and Visit A City are my go to apps for travelling:

Trip It, you can store all your travel bookings for that one trip in one place which is so handy compared to having to flick through emails or papers to find things.

Visit A City can give you an itinerary of the places to visit of the city you might be in an even how long and how fast you wish to take your visit for, which is a god send with planning my trip to Melbourne and Tokyo as being a vlogger, there’s only so much you wish to film and how long it will take you to do so.

 

What’s been some of the best places you have visited / travelled to? Why did you like these places?

London, New York and Tokyo, I had a bucket list I wanted to complete, to see Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and Shibuya Crossing, because of the lights and advertising, a real information overload to someone’s senses.

The other thing, was the amount of people and the cultures as well, in New York I appreciated Jewish culture so much more and in Tokyo I still couldn’t comprehend that the equivalent of the entire population of New Zealand passes through Shinjuku Station EVERY DAY. Then in London, I went on the Tube and took photos of the station signs to play my game of Monopoly.

What’s your favourite cities & why? Share some things to do that you enjoyed or must see’s.

Berlin, Chicago and Seoul.

Berlin is a bit of pilgrimage for me, one reason being that my favourite band, U2 recorded their 1991 album, Achtung Baby in Berlin so it was great to see a lot of references to the city and also, the infamous Trabant cars that were used as part of the set in their Zoo TV Tour. The other reason is that I am a modern history student, and I have studied in-depth about Nazi Germany so to come to Berlin and see a lot of the things in person, rather than a photo in a text book or on the internet.

Chicago was where I watched my first ever rugby game that was not in Australia or NZ plus it was my 30th birthday as well. I have so many great memories of Chicago, from seeing snow for the first time, to drinking with friends who I had been internet friends for many years, to meeting the former All Blacks captain, Tana Umaga.

Seoul was somewhere that I didn’t know enough of until only about 2 years ago when I booked flights to Europe with Korean Air and had a 19-hour stopover in Seoul. Because of that I wanted to learn more, and I then found the YouTube channel Eat Your Kimchi and learnt more from a westerner perspective. After my visit to Seoul, I fell in love with the culture, the friendly yet curious Korean people and wanted to learn the language, I then returned to Seoul in September 2016 being able to speak the language and exploring Seoul for real for 8 days and had an amazing time!

What’s your favourite beach destinations & why / where were they?

I’m not much of a beach goer, the last time I went to a beach was in Croatia, and it was a rocky beach and I got way too much sun. When I lived in Sydney, I used to live a 700 m walk away from Coogee Beach so I was there whenever I could be, but I have now heard that it’s been destroyed by backpackers, which is so sad, because it had such a lovely vibe.

Do you have ny travel tips you have for our readers? 

Less is more, I generally take only 3 days’ worth of clothes and make sure to stay somewhere that has laundry facilities, I used to be that person with the suitcase but after a while of frequent travelling, it gets tiring, expensive and also, frustrating. I pack everything, including my vlogging equipment into my 85L bag and I can manage to get it down packed to 15kgs.

Zip lock bags are great for protecting your important travel documents such as your passport.

If possible, do invest in a tablet device, I have found this great especially for storing travel guides, games, movies and other apps that may come in handy when on a long-haul flight or on a low-cost carrier.

Before booking accommodation, check out sites like TripAdvisor first to see the reviews, as much as it may be something you’re looking for, generally the public leave more honest reviews on the place rather than the accommodation website itself, I found this out travelling in Tokyo, when the place I stayed in was a fleapit but on their website, it looked completely different.

 

Best places for shopping, from the places you have visited? Any great finds? If so where?

 I’m not much of a shopper, mainly because that I am more of a budget traveller so wish to save my money for experiences and food. I will admit in 2009, when I was travelling the North Island of NZ, I bought an Adidas All Blacks jacket which set me back about NZD$200. 8 years later it is still my ‘go-to’ jacket when I am going somewhere really cold.

What’s on your bucket list?

Firstly, Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Hiroshima and the DMZ. I’m a history buff and I love to see the places that have shaped human history.

Israel is also on my bucket list for similar reasons as well, but the main reason is this is where my partner was born and raised. I would also like to go as a Jew to do my pilgrimage to Israel.

Favourite travel quote? 

It is one from Gustav Flaubert;

‘Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in this world’

 Have you had any scary travel moments? Is so what happened?

Flying from Los Angeles to New York City, I started getting the ‘lovely’ symptoms of gastroenteritis midway through the flight. This was around the time that the first cases of Ebola Virus had made its way to the United States, so when we landed in New York, the paramedics came on board in full HAZMAT suits, being on a full flight, it freaked the passengers out. I wouldn’t say it was scary but quite funny when they came on the flight to stabilise me.

It was ok, a gastroenterologist who treated me as soon as I started to feel unwell was quite adamant that I had nothing more than gastroenteritis, and calmed everyone down. I missed out on a lot of New York sadly because of this.

Another scary moment was that I was on a Top Deck tour around Europe and after a few full on days in France and Switzerland I noticed my wallet was missing. After a few stressful days and moving onto another country, I finally got a replacement card. It was very scary especially when they people who took my wallet had a grand time on my cards which was annoying. MasterCard were great and returned my money back into my account so I could enjoy my holiday.

 

What’s been some great places you have visited for food that you have loved? 

Japan, just how convenience store food, can be so good yet so cheap. I was able get a full Japanese breakfast, with drinks and snacks for later for under 1000 yen. In Australia and NZ this is simply not possible.

South Korea, I went to a hole in the wall kimbap joint at 1am one night, and they never got westerners come into their restaurant, and was surprised I could speak some Korean. They treated me like I was family, showed me photos of their son who was doing his compulsory service in the South Korean army at the time, and although we were from two different cultures and I could speak some Korean, they wanted to share their life with me and were curious about my my life.

BTW the food was amazing and they gave me more than I paid for.

What has travel taught you?

Patience – you are one of many tourists wanting to see the same thing, it does mean sometimes you have to learn to patient and that sometimes body space might be invaded, you might lose something on your travels and you might get sick.

Education – understanding cultures, languages, cuisines and most importantly people.

Finances – I used to be a terrible spender, but after my first long haul trip in 2014, I’ve learnt to budge better and not to buy unnecessary items, and the best things to experience are free.

Three things you always pack?

Passport, Wallet and Camera. Those things I cannot go without and a vitality to having a great holiday.

Here are some fantastic blog posts and YouTube videos from Kiwi Rugby Travel Stories:

How I Spent 1 week in New York

Overbooked Flights – The Positives

Japan Rehashed

YouTube video – Typhoon Ruined My Holiday To Japan 

YouTube video – Going to the Rugby with Abroad 365 

Check Out Kiwi Rugby Travel Stories social media links below to see more:

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YouTube: http://bit.ly/1qxda9k  (Please remember to LIKE, SUBSCRIBE & SHARE)

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2iL6Uqq

Blog: https://kiwirugbytravelstories.com/

We would like to say a big thank you to Kiwi Rugby Travel Stories for taking the time to do our interview, we loved reading about all your adventures and travels, and also checking our your blog and YouTube channel.