Hi I’m Mel and I have the blog The Wandering Darlings. I started blogging about 18 months ago. I started the blog at first as a way to talk about my adventures as I was pretty sure everyone I knew was getting bored by my stories and photographs constantly being pushed down their throats and news feeds. Blogging gave me a way to get it out to people that would be interested. As with anything it’s evolved over time and the more I interact with other bloggers I feel inspired about pushing myself to generate better content and share my travel stories, hints and tips. I also have a regular feature every Sunday called Globetrotters which features travel bloggers and Instagramers. We learn best from others and I love hearing about others thoughts, tips and adventures.
What tips of advice could you give our readers that may want to start a travel blog?
Don’t do it if you just want free holidays or to make money. Sure some people get this but most don’t. Start your blog to share stories and your experiences, to inspire others , to engage with other travellers and bloggers, to help people discover and experience things you have. Blogging is a lot harder than people realise so you need to be really passionate about it to put the time in.
Have you got any places on your bucket list? If so where?
I have soooo many places on my bucket list. Iceland, Amsterdam, India, Canada, Maldives, Antarctica are all top of the list!
What are some of the best things about travel?
That feeling of excitement when you arrive somewhere different . Different sights, sounds, smells to home. It’s a form of escapism when you get to switch off from the daily life. I love that we can experience new cultures and therefore are more open minded and more aware of just how big the world is. It teaches you to budget and to watch your money. To plan a trip take patience
Have you experienced any downsides to travel?
Yes and no. I guess one of the main downsides I have had is the amount of times I’ve had to say good bye to family and friends. I’ve spent a third of my life living in the UK and have been back and forward to many times to mention and saying goodbye never seems to get any easier.
Is there any advice you can give people who want to start traveling for the first time?
As Nike say ‘just do it’. Get out there and see the world. Yes things will go wrong but sometimes these situations come back around to be good and if they don’t then it’s something to learn from.Don’t take the fact that you can travel to other places for granted sadly not everyone gets this opportunity. It’s a privilege not an expectation.
Whats your favourite city or cities and why? What are the top attractions to see in each?
I have several favourite cities and whilst they also might be a bit cliched I don’t care.
I love Melbourne. It was probably my first favourite city as my family would always spend time there in the summer holidays. We’d got to St Kilda, the Australian open and shop in quirky vintage stores. I would get myself lost in its streets and manage to find something new and most importantly find my way back! I have a post here about my favourite place in Melbourne.
Copenhagen I first visited when I was 16 with my parents but have just returned from another trip and I am firmly in love with this Nordic gem of a city. Nyhavn just feels like you are in a Hans Christian Andersen fable and the mix of the old world buildings and new danish architecture is just amazing. https://thewanderingdarlings.com/2017/07/08/17-reasons-to-visit-copenhagen/
New York is somewhere I wish i had lived in at some point of my life (there is still time!) it’s an amazing city and whilst I have been several times there is still so much I want to see and explore. My ultimate favourite thing was walking over the Brooklyn Bridge!
Any recommendations for best beaches you have visited? where were they?, and what did you like about them?
Being an Aussie I grew up on some of the best beaches in the world! I have a couple of firm favourite Hyams Beach- Jervis Bay (Australia), Little Wategos Beach- Byron Bay (Australia) and Mission Beach- Queensland (Australia). I love them as they are just what an Aussie beach should be to me. Sand, bushland, blue ocean and the sweet smell of summer.
Whats your biggest travel achievement?
I think it would have to be backpacking around Italy and Greece for a month when I was 18 years old. I lost my wallet at Heathrow but still got on the plane with my friend and had no idea how I would pay for things. Thankfully my friends mum was able to send us some money. We also hadn’t really planned much of our adventure we’d turn up on Greek islands in the middle of the night and book accommodation right there on the jetty with which ever hotel had the best offer. We caught trains in the middle of the night, slept on the deck of a the ferry from Brindisi to Athens, got lost. We made a lot of silly decisions back then and whilst I wouldn’t do it the same way now I do miss how young and carefree we were. We saw some amazing sights, met brilliant people and had the adventure of a lifetime. I have blogged about being jealouse of my former carefree travelling self here https://thewanderingdarlings.com/2016/01/09/jealous-of-my-former-self/
What’s your favourite travel apps?
Share your top three Instagram photo links.
What are 3 things your travels have taught you?
-to be open to new ideas and new experiences
-to be grateful and not take it for granted that i get the opportunity to see the world when not everyone has the same opportunities
-to keep my eyes open and absorb as much as I can
Can you recommend any great places you have visited for our readers that has delicious food? What sort of dishes were they? Where were these places?
A couple of great places are the following.
My Little Kitchen in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. We ate brunch here many times and I whilst I loved the food the smoothies are what made it for me. The breakfast menu was awesome as was the lunchtime tapas they offered. It’s also right off the beach so you can come in after a swim. https://thewanderingdarlings.com/2017/02/11/my-little-kitchen/
I don’t have any exact places but everywhere we ate in Morocco had the most amazing food! You haven’t eaten proper Moroccan until you’ve eaten it there!
Have you had any scary travel experiences? if so what happened?
One scary experience was in Marrakech we got dropped off by a taxi driver at the gate for our Riad. However in the median there is no cars so where he dropped us we needed to walk a little way in the narrow streets. The directions he gave us didn’t really match up with what we had but at this point we weren’t too sure where we were. The taxi driver called over some friends to show us the way which we didn’t ask for and didn’t want. So we walked away from them they then kept coming back and trying to show us we followed them for a little bit but once they wanted to take us down a really dark narrow street we said no. They weren’t aggressive at all but there was something in our guts telling us not to. We tried to call the riad but kept losing signal. An older gentleman came up and tried to direct us another way but we just weren’t sure who to trust. Thankfully the riad owner came and found us and took us the right way which was the way the older gentleman was directing us. It was a rather frightful first experience of Marrakech.
Have you got any tips for our readers to save money whilst travelling?
I’m really not that great at saving money when I’m travelling. It’s not that I go luxury or anything because I really don’t! I just try and make sure i have enough money before i go to do the things I want. I wouldn’t want to miss out on something when I’ve flown all that way. The main thing I usually do is cut down on my meals or try and stock up on some fruit and snack from a supermarket to keep my going so I don’t have to eat out. I do always try and look for discount tickets for transport and where possible I will try and use the local transport as its much cheaper than taxis or tours.
Your top off the beaten track places to visit & why?
It’s maybe not considered off the beaten track but one place I hadn’t expected to discover was Mossman Gorge in Cairns. We were staying there for a few days and going out ot the Great Barrier Reef before we headed off in a camper van down the east coast to Brisbane. We hired a little car to do some day trips and we asked the guy there for some suggestions of places to go and his recommendation was Mossman Gorge. It’s located in the Daintree Rainforest and is just beautiful. You feel like you are walking away from the civilisation and getting completely back to nature. It’s so quiet, the smells of the trees and the crystal clear water that calls you to jump and swim around in. It is an all time favourite place.
What equipment do you use to blog?
Digital slr, instant camera, iPhone 7 and go pro
Basically all the cameras! I use VSCO and Instagram for light editing. I work from google docs as can access from my computer and phone and if I need to add things when they come to me on the move I can do it on my phone. Then I run everything through grammarly which is AMAZING as I seriously struggle with spelling and grammar. I use the WordPress app to upload. Then I use Canva to make my pins for Pinterest. It’s really not as easy as just writing a post.
What are your travel plans this year? anything exciting?
Australia and New Zealand in December/January earlier this year. I’ve just got back from a week in Copenhagen, in October I’m off to Fiji and then lots of day trips and weekend breaks around the uk throughout the year.
How do you plan your trips?
I usually do a few things I decide when and where we are going. I then like to read as much as I can about the things to do in that area. This includes reading blogs, checking out relevant hashtags/location markers on instagram and pinterest. Once I have this I make lists (lots of list!). We recently went to NZ and at first when I planning I knew we wouldn’t have time for both islands so I plotted all the things I had found that I would like to see into google maps and worked out that the North Island was the winner for what we wanted. I then worked out a route and then planned accommodation around points which we could see several places but also left time for extra places we may discover on the way. I don’t like to overplan just a rough route and some accommodation sorted and then we see where the wind takes us.
Best websites to book flights / hotels or other ?
I usually use Skyscanner, Booking.com and Airbnb to book flights and accommodation. I also like to check out reviews on tripadvisor. Another thing I like is finding accommodation on instagram, word of mouth or through blogs and putting on my list for when I’m planing to visit that area.
What 5 things do you always pack?
My book of travel better known as my passport. Won’t get far without it.
A book- I hate looking at a screen for to long so a book is always on hand. Also you can read on the beach or if travelling solo it’s a nice distraction at meal times when you are on your own.
A scarf- even if I’m going somewhere hot I always take A big blanket scarf. It can be used to keep warm, a sarong at the beach, pillow or light blanket. I won’t travel long haul without one.
My flip flops- again even if I’m going somewhere chilly I’ll take my flip flops. You can take the girl out if Australia but you can’t take Australia out of the girl.
My iphone/camera- ask anyone I take too many photos for a normal person. No way could I go somewhere without a way to take a photograph of it.
Share a travel quote you love one of your own.
‘’You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” –Miriam Adeney
We would like to say a huge Thank You to the Wandering Darlings for taking the time to do such a fabulous interview, with us. Please check out the following links to see more incredible content.
Check Our Interview By (The Wandering Darlings) In Their Globetrotter Series: Digital Travel Guru