Please introduce yourself and your blog to our readers.
Hi! I am Marina and I am a travel blogger behind RunwayMarina.com. Originally born and raised in Indonesia where solo female travellers concept were still unusual; given the fact that we still hold on the tradition and women’s perspective as a housewife. I have always wanted to be an explorer and travel around the world since I was a kid but did not have that courage until 4 years ago I met up with many cool solo female backpackers in Ubud, Bali. They were an eye-opener and a chance for me to know that I can do it too.
Given the fact that my name means “sea”, “harbour”, “beach” or anything that related with the sea water, in any kind of language (I do addict to the sea). So, I thought using my name on my blog would be a great start. I started the blog 3 years with the name “Jejak Marina” (‘Jejak’ means ‘Footprints’ in Bahasa Indonesia), then had a time off for a year as I continued my study in the UK. After got my degree last year, I finally I rebranding my blog as “Runway Marina” to make it more generic as an international blog brand, and this time I would proudly present myself as an Indonesian Solo Female Traveler.
What tips of advice could you give our readers that may want to start a travel blog?
Start from now. It takes a lot of time to build a blog but it would be worthy. Do not hold back and think that you should do it after you are going to travel. Build it now if you were into travel blogging area. Get so many resources as much as you can and do not stop learning and reading any other blogs. Get inspiration from anywhere.
Have you got any places on your bucket list? If so where?
Plenty! My ultimate bucket list is backpacking through South America.
What are some of the best things about solo travel?
I was such an introvert, in the beginning, a very much shy person and never really into social life. Travel changed me. being solo means you have to interact with people to be a survivor. I learned bit by bit and then I get to know myself better. I know what I want, what I like, and I don’t fear to express my thoughts anymore. You can read more about what I finally have learned from solo travelling from here: https://runwaymarina.com/travel-tips-and-inspirations/what-i-have-learned-solo-travel/
Then I realise, I have become and extrovert person after my trip and it’s just changed my personality! 🙂
Have you experienced any downsides to solo travel?
You couldn’t see any rainbow if you haven’t experienced the rain. I had my times when I got down and experiences scary events, but that never stop me from travelling. You can read my worst travel experiences story from here: https://runwaymarina.com/confessions/my-5-worst-travel-experiences/
But the good side of them all is that I got to learn from these bad experiences and become a mature responsible traveller who is ready to take any barriers ahead!
Is there any advice you can give people who want to solo travel for the first time?
Do not get intimidated with what people tells you. Follow your instinct but don’t leave your brain as well. Be well prepared. Do plenty of research. I have to gather ultimate guide for preparing first-time solo travel: https://runwaymarina.com/travel-tips-and-inspirations/ultimate-7-solo-travel-tips-preparation/
Whats your favourite city or cities and why? What are the top attractions to see inn each?
My favourite country is Thailand. The people are super friendly, good food, best location to explore temples, historical places, and islands. I have been going all over the cities in Thailand, and all of them are my favorites! Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Phi Phi, Sukhotai, Pai, Ayuthaya. Plenty! My other favourite city is Chefchaouen, Morocco. The medina was painted all in blue and has charms that I couldn’t find in any other places. My ultimate experience I had was in Goreme Cappadocia Turkey. I got a chance to fly in their famour hot air balloon and the view are spectacular. You could never find an amazing architecture like in Goreme!
Any recommendations for best beaches you have visited? where were they? and what did you like about them?
Best beach I have been so far was the Lagoon in Koh Rong, Cambodia: https://runwaymarina.com/asia/cambodia/koh-rong-guide/. Soft sands, calm water, amazing views, and NO people whatsoever cos it takes 45 minutes trekking to get there. And beautiful plankton lights on the water at night. Mesmerising view.
But if you wanted to find plenty of beaches in one island, Bali is the top one! I love my time snorkelling there and I have gathered up the list of the best snorkelling spots to go: https://runwaymarina.com/indonesia/bali/best-snorkelling-in-bali/
What do you love about travelling?
Connect with new people, get to know other country’s culture and history, it lets you know that the world is bigger than just your hometown.
What’s your favourite travel apps?
TripIt as my travel organiser, Google Maps to get to know the street, Hostelworld and Booking.com for my accommodation booking. I also love Couchsurfing so I use the app often. I have compiled my best free travel apps on my blog: https://runwaymarina.com/travel-tips-and-inspirations/best-travel-apps-its-free/
What are three things your travels has taught you?
I learn to do everything by myself. An independent woman. A survivor that can handle problems that can come on the way. Not a crybaby anymore!
I learn to easily adapt to new changes and situation. Open minded person into new cultures and tradition in foreign countries.
More importantly, I get to like being myself even more. I can who I really am during my travel and that just build up my confidence when I get back home to the real world. It has changed my personality in some way 🙂
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?
Oh man, Indonesian has the best food of all! Hahahaha.. When I lived in the UK, I miss my home cooked food in Indonesia with all those spices, sauces and (of course) cheap prices! I recommend getting the Rendang, a spicy meat with thick sauce and cassava leaves as your rice companion. Sate, meat barbeque with nut sauce is really famous in Indonesia too. Martabak as the dessert which are thick pancake layers with cheese and chocolate! And the good part is… you can get this food anywhere in Indonesia! Yum! You could never be bored with thousand variants of Indonesian food. Really.
Have you had any scary travel experiences? if so what happened?
I had some scary experiences while I was Couchsurfing in Fez, Morocco with my host. He tried to sell his tours on me and his brother tried to flirt with me. Nothing major in the end. I overcome those problems, but that made me scared of that country in the beginning. You can read for more details here: You can read my worst travel experiences story from here: https://runwaymarina.com/confessions/my-5-worst-travel-experiences/
Have you got any tips for our readers to save money whilst travelling?
Accommodation can be a huge spender. Try to do couch surfing or find the local guesthouse to save money. Break down your budget and prepare an amount to spend each day so you won’t overspend it.
Your top off the beaten track places to visit & why.
Road tripping through Scotland with a car was an amazing experience. We found so many unexpected places to go and amazing view during the journey. We started off from Glasgow, up to the north to Isle of Skye and Highlands and then down again to Saint Andrews and Newcastle.
What equipment do you use to blog?
I have my Sony NEX5 as my main gear during my travel. My GoPro 3+ for the widescreen photo, videos on land and underwater, and my iPhone 6 for documenting my journey in social media. Programs that I use were mainly Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and iMovie.
What are your travel plans this year? any thing exciting?
Haven’t really decided where to go next. I am an impulsive traveller 🙂
How do you plan your trips?
Flight tickets are crucial. I have so many bucket list countries I wanted to go and I often check on the flight tickets and see which country to go can give me a cheaper price. After that I got to research on everything about it on other people’s blog; visa, transport, what to do and what not to do. Trip Advisor for places to check out. Book some hostel in Hostelworld or find hosts in Couchsurfing. Try to find any free walking tour or local guide to get insight of their cultures and people.
Best websites to book flights / hotels or other ?
Skyscanner is my ultimate book flights to go. Hostelworld and Booking.com are my favs to book accommodation. GoEuro for finding cheaper transportation in Europe. Couchsurfing to find a host or even just meet up with other travellers and locals.
What five things do you always pack?
A light Foldable Backpack for my day trip. Powerbank to keep my phone always charge up, Light dry bag to keep my important stuff especially when travelling to islands and during the wet season, Camera to keep my travel documented, and Smartphone as my resources of everything!
Share a travel quote you love one of your own….
“She was afraid of heights. But she was much more afraid of never flying” – Atticus
“Real woman are strong, resilient, independent, loyal, and lovable. One thing about them is they never settle.”
You can see more from RunwayMarina below:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/runwaymarina/
Google + : https://plus.google.com/u/1/+marinautami
RunwayMarina Best blog posts to check out:
The Ultimate List: Best Snorkelling in Bali
The Confession of Being Indonesian Solo Female Traveller
The Superwoman: List of Indonesian Solo Female Travellers
The Ultimate 7 Solo Travel Tips and Preparation
Snorkelling for Beginners Guide