It’s time for the next interview in our series “The Most Interesting Travelers In The World.” Today’s interviewee is Emily Goodwin, who blogs at Visual Wanderings. Emily is a freelancer who splits her time between the UK and the Greek island of Crete. She explores places in Europe as often as she can, camera in hand and loves getting off the tourist trail to wander quaint backstreets and walk in nature.
What inspired your love of travel – how did you get started?
My passion for travel only started in recent years, after my life turned upside down. My Dad died and my 6 year relationship broke down, I ended up in Greece instead of the UK sorting out a house inheritance. As my 31st birthday approached I knew I needed to do something special to mark the occasion, my 30th having been spent anxiously awaiting to see if my Dad would survive an 8 hour heart operation – He did, but only for another few weeks. So I got brave and went to Santorini on my own to prove to myself and everyone around me that I could do it – It was my first time traveling alone / exploring alone / staying alone. It was a success and that, as they say, was that! I haven’t looked back and in the last year have started traveling with a pro photographer which gets me out seeing even more places that I could have imagined.
What’s your favorite travel story: the weirdest, or funniest, or most exciting, or most beautiful trip you’ve ever been on?
I don’t have a favourite or funny travel story regarding a destination, instead I’ll share with you how I manifested travel!! I’d decided that I wanted to travel for a few months around Europe. But my rent-paying cat sitter fell through, Ryanair canceled a ton of their flights, and my money dried up. I forgot about my idea. A month or so later I randomly got chatting with a pro photographer on Instagram, he was telling me he had been to Crete and spent a fortune on taxi’s, I offered to be his driver should he wish to return. He was keen but wanted to travel in the Winter which I advised against, so instead he took me with him to Spain for a month! We’ve since traveled to Scotland, Switzerland, and Poland within the space of a year which is more than I could have afforded on my own.
Tell us about your favorite style of traveling…luxury or budget? Packing heavy or light? On the go or laid back?
I’m an extreme budget traveler when taking solo trips and am always on the go, trying to pack in as much as possible – On 2-3 day city hops this becomes exhausting. On longer trips when I’m in 1 place for a week, I schedule in a rest day to catch up with my work and am able to take things a bit easier. I try to pack light, carry-on only during the Summer months when I don’t need to pack bulky clothing, my backpack usually weighing in around 12kilo absolute maximum which includes my laptop but not my camera.
What advice do you have specifically for female travelers?
- Go with your gut feeling. If someone/something doesn’t feel right, listen to yourself.
- Walk with confidence everywhere, even if you have no idea where you’re going!
- When packing, halve what you’ve laid out, and then attempt to halve it again! It doesn’t matter what you look like as it’s unlikely that people will see you again so no matter if the bag/shoes/coat don’t match!
- What would you say to encourage someone who wants to travel but is afraid to because of cost, time, etc.?
- In terms of time, there is probably never going to a be a right time and tomorrow will never come unless you take action.
- For money, plan and prepare, you’ll be surprised at what you can do on very little cash – Back in 2010 I took a 3 night trip to Paris for 2 with just 50 euro spending money which also had to include food! I always walk places rather than taking public transport unless single tickets are super cheap or I can max out on a multi day discount ticket. I eat badly when I’m away in order to save money, grabbing street food and snacks for the room instead of spending money in restaurants – Not good for long term travel but fine for a few nights! I avoid museums unless free of charge and I plan carefully which paid attractions I want to see.
What are your top 3 tips for newbie or wanna-be travelers?
- Just Go! If you think about it too long, it won’t happen!
- Don’t be afraid to travel solo. Connect with people via Couchsurfing even if it’s just for coffee/dinner rather than staying in their home.
- Plan – Work out how you get to the hotel from the airport – What bus/metro you need to take, how much it costs etc etc. Planning like this allows me to feel more relaxed!
You can follow Emily on social media at:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmilyVisualWanderings
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/visual_wanderings
- Blog: http://visual-wanderings.com