How I got addicted to travel: My travel story

This time, seven years ago, I put on a brave face as I hugged my Mum and Dad goodbye at Heathrow Airport. “I’m sure it’ll go fast… Don’t worry I’ll be fine.” I was petrified but didn’t want to show it. I hadn’t really planned for this. By a few twists of fate, I was 19 years old and on a gap year. I’d been on a gap year scheme, interning at an Investment bank for the first 6 months; during which time I had asked pretty much all of my close family and friends if they could join me to no real luck. It was a case of me going alone or missing out on a trip I’d been dreaming about for years!

I was about to embark on my first solo trip, which meant taking two flights and travelling for around 15 hours. I was going in straight in the deep end… My first solo trip was to Argentina. Little did I know it then, but that trip was about to change my life!
Travel had always been something I’d been excited about. Since my first family holiday abroad, going on safari in Kenya, my parents had taken my brother and I on many amazing holidays, visiting countries like India, Turkey, Spain, the Greek Islands and the USA. I’d loved each one and even as a child, I scoured the Internet and even Teletext, eager to find our next holiday spot. I’d pester my Dad for weeks each summer and try to convince him! My interest in travel heightened further when I was selected to represent my school, aged 11, on a school exchange in Manduria, Italy. It seemed exotic and exciting and the kind of thing that only happened in movies! I stayed with the kindest Italian family and experienced normal life there, attending the local school for a week and attending all of the family meals. It was the first time I’d been to Italy and the warmth, passion and beauty of the place had me mesmerised. From the pasta to the best Italian breakfast cakes I’ve ever had (thanks Elisabetta and Vincenzo) I came back wide eyed with excitement!
So aged 19 I went off to Argentina, and volunteered with an Argentinian non-profit organisation. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I had the most incredible time. I made friends quickly, had experiences I hadn’t even dreamed of, and went on to travel to Brazil from there.
 The travel bug was firmly planted and so over the summer breaks from university, I slept under the stars by the Angel Falls in Venezuela, I fell in love with Pho Gah in Vietnam, I was brought to tears learning about the recent history of Cambodia, and I partied like never before in Thailand. And it was around this time that I decided to start a blog!

Soon after, I graduated and started working in the City of London as a Consultant. I loved it, there’s a real thrill about working with clients to problem solve, and I was so excited about the prospect of working in new cities all the time. I started working on projects abroad in Milan, Rome, Cork, Madrid, Hong Kong, and Zurich to name a few. It was utterly exhausting but I love the buzz of landing in a new city, with a foreign language in my ear, new scents in the atmosphere and of course the FOOD! Well, everyone who knows me knows just how big a part food plays in my life. I still remember ringing my Mum from Milan, on one of my earlier work trips and telling her, in more detail than anybody probably needed, about how incredible the food was and how I had eaten two gelato’s on a Monday! All in a day’s work apparently!

Amidst all the travel and given that I was working long hours, I felt too busy to blog. I didn’t have the energy nor the time and before I knew it, it had been months since I had posted. A big part of the tale I may have omitted was that it was around this time, in 2014, when I met my favourite distraction of all, my man, or “The Doc” as he’s referred to on here. We met and juggled long distance for a while, whilst he was at med school and I was working with clients between London and different European cities but he soon turned out to be my ultimate travel partner and the biggest supporter for all my blog. We’ve been to Milan and Lake Como, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Lombok, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Delhi, Jaipur and Dubai together and undoubtedly he has brought some balance to my travel! Together, we’ve just fallen in love with luxury boutique hotels and making an active effort to slow down on our trips. My travel style has certainly never been the same, and when we visited Hotel Mousai, well, it’s safe to say I pinched myself and felt the contrast since my backpacking days in South East Asia!
In this whirlwind of long hours in my day job, lots of travel, and falling in love, I neglected my writing – it just felt too much. But I never forgot the feeling of reliving happy travel experiences as I wrote, and I really missed writing so much. So about six months ago, I decided to give travel blogging another go. And I haven’t regretted it for a second since.
From family travel to backpacker to business traveller to being on the hunt for the best luxury hotels, I’ve been in love with travel of all types for as long as I can remember. Before I’m back from a trip I’m already lusting after the next one, my Pinterest boards are constantly full of wanderlust, and the easiest birthday present to get me is a Lonely Planet guide! Travelling gives me a high like no other a hit and the more I travel the more I love it, and the more I get out of it. See, travel, to me, isn’t just about getting a break, getting away from work and unwinding. Yes, that’s important too, but for me, travel is an opportunity to gain a new perspective, to see life with fresh eyes. I get a burst of excitement trying new foods and flavours. From discovering Dulce de Leche in Buenos Aires to eating Stingray in Kuala Lumpur to actually being brought to tears (I know… how embarrassing!?) with the excitement of going to eat at Noma in Copenhagen, food and travel are what I’m most passionate about. I love reading other blog posts on travel and I’m obsessed with seeing all of your travel Instagram posts (let’s connect if we don’t already!?) and I’m constantly inspired by different travel styles.
I love to travel so much, and I can’t see that every changing, but looking back I can see how much my travel style has changed and how many people, decisions, and opportunities led me to get to see so many incredible places. I feel so lucky that I’ve had the chance to do so and through my blog truly want to share that.
Well that, my friends, is my travel story so far, as part of the July travel link up. What’s your view on travel and what’s your travel style? I’d love to know your thoughts – please do leave me a comment below!
 
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  • I loved discovering Dulce de Leche in Argentina too! I was like “what is this awesomeness!” Loved reading your travel story too – are you full time blogging now? x Phoebe

    http://www.woodandluxe.com

    • Hey Phoebe! Thanks for the lovely comment! Dulce de leche is so damn delicious! I ate it on pancakes, toast and cake whilst I was there (not sure my waistline would let me get away with that now though!) I’m not full time blogging, it’s very much done on weekends and around my 9-5 (which in reality is never just 9am to 5pm!) What about you? x

  • Aw love this post girl! I wish they’d done exchanges when I was at school, staying with an Italian family would have been my dream x

  • I LOVE THIS!!! I can’t believe how many similarities there are between our stories (apart from your earlier travel destinations being a little more adventurous than mine!). A lovely, heartfelt post, I was grinning by the end. Glad traveling has given you so much pleasure over the years xxx

    • Right?! I thought that when I read yours too – so similar! Can’t wait to meet you this summer!

  • Jeena

    WOW that is was such a great post to read!! Argentina is a beautiful country, I’ve been to Europe and Asia and throughout North America, but haven’t gone to South America or Africa yet.

    • Hi Jeena, thank you! Yes Argentina is gorgeous and I’d love to see more of it. Where is your favourite spot so far?

  • You have such a cool story! Sounds like you’ve been just about everywhere under the sun haha. I’m 19 now – I took my first short solo trip at 18 and have never looked back. Your job sounds great for allowing (and helping) you to travel too. Travel blogging opens so many doors, I look forward to reading more of your posts!
    Lily Kate x
    jolihouse.com

    • Hey Lily Kate, thanks for the lovely comment! I haven’t been everywhere yet but everywhere is certainly on my list haha! Travel blogging is hard work but wonderful and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve made so many great friends and had some incredible experiences because of it. I look forward to reading your posts too!

  • Aww I love your story, I wish I’d taken out a year before University – or after to do some travelling, I know they say it’s never too late – but I think I’ll be waiting a long time to go properly as I have 2 dogs and couldn’t bare to leave them now! I do want to spend more time going on holiday though, I’ve just got back from my first trip to Asia (KL and Bali), and it’s made me want to explore that side of the world even more!
    http://helplesswhilstdrying.com

  • Yag Dalal

    I loved reading the story, I traveled abroad alone for the first time at 19 too! I just quit my job to travel the world for a bit and I can’t wait to check out Argentina 🙂

  • Gabriela

    Similar to my story, just that I started around 4 years after you.

  • What an incredible journey so far lady!

  • You are so brave to have gone on a gap year and travelled on your own! I don’t think I could have ever done that – I was so naive and not self-sufficient at all, at that age!

    • Brave or Naive, who knows?! I was away for only a couple of months after working for most of the year but the stubborn desire in me was there haha!

  • Wow, what a journey! You’ve lived many traveller lives and they all sound so fulfilling 🙂 And that’s amazing that you still managed to travel during university. I’m starting university and I’m trying to figure out how I’d still be able to travel financially haha.

    • It’s definitely not easy. I did a gap year before university and worked so had some savings but I also got a summer job each year and worked intensely for the first few weeks before going away and didn’t eat out or spend too much at uni – lots of cooking! I’ve been lucky!

  • I’m also a travel addict! 😛 I can’t imagine my life without traveling! 😛 I’m a full-time traveler since three years, but also this means I live abroad, I travel slow and I make it possible! Great read! 🙂

  • Snow to Seas

    Your travel story is absolutely awesome! Being chosen to go on an exchange to Italy at the age of 11 just sounds like a completely unique and memorable experience. I’m from Canada and things like that don’t happen there.

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment! It absolutely was; I mean I was so young so it was daunting too but I’m so glad I did it. I feel lucky. I’d love to visit Canada and travel more – I’ve only been to Toronto, and even that was just for a week!!

  • You’re so brave to have done so much solo travel Reena & totes jealous you got to spend so much time in Argentina – one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited! Funnily enough, there’s a whole post floating somewhere around my blog archives called the dulce de leave diaries from my trip there so you can see I got my fix out there! ? can’t believe you’ve made it to Nina too!!

    • Thanks Shikha! That’s kind. Brave or naive, who knows?! I loved Argentina so much and will definitely be looking into your Dulce de Leche diaries. Have you been to Porteña in Borough market? They sell some delicious dulce de leche alfahores you may like!

      • Yes!! I love them! In fact, I was there this morning, though I walked past them today and went for Thai coconut pancakes instead!

  • I loved reading about how you caught the travel bug! I’d love to go to Argentina one day too!