As travellers with creativity as the core, we’ve chosen to dig deeper into the how our friends and other fellow travel bloggers search for architecture, art, design and music during their around-the-world journeys.
So, let’s begin with the next interview in our series called ‘Create/Travel‘
Hi The Travel Hack, it feels like a million years ago that we started to read all about your travels around the world and we must admit if it wasn’t for inspiring travels like your own, we may never have begun travelling, but not everyone who reads our site might have had that change to be inspired, so;
1. Who are you and why do you travel?
I’m Monica and I’m a full time travel blogger from the UK. I was born in Manchester, raised in Wales, travelled for a few years through Asia and Australia and then moved to London to study journalism. In London I worked in travel editorial followed by social media management and both of these professions really helped my blogging career.
I travel because the world is such a fascinating and beautiful place and I want to see as much of it as I can. I love meeting new people, learning about cultures, trying new food and discovering new things about myself through travel.
Your travels first began all the way back in 2009 when you travelled around Australia in a camper van (Franca’s dream road trip vehicle) before you journeyed around Asia, and now you’re travelling each and every month to many incredible places around the world.
2. What first inspired you to travel around Australia in a campervan, and do you miss being on the road all the time?
I was so young when I made the decision to travel around Australia in a campervan that I actually don’t remember what inspired me. From the age of 14 I started working and began saving for my trip and I didn’t mind working at the weekend because I knew it was for a good cause.
As soon as we got the internet at home when I was around 12 I began reading about travelling, scouring gap year websites and forums to see what other people had done before me.
I do miss being on the road full time. I miss the freedom and not planning more than one day in advance. I miss having no belongings other than the clothes on my back, a few paperback books and an out-dated iPod. I’m definitely not ruling out another long-term road trip!
Parts of your travels have taken you all over the world, and most recently in Europe you’ve been to Slovenia, to the incredible capital of Ljubljana where you joined and enjoyed a fantastic new idea for sightseeing (or should we say, sightrunning?).
3. During your time of hopping around Europe you must have seen some incredible architecture, what has been the most standout impressive building you’ve seen?
Just one!? That’s such a tough question!
It has to be St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. I’ve never seen anything so colourful and ornate before in my life. I had to choose this one because it’s completely different to anything else and looks like it’s come straight from a cartoon.
Over the past two years of travelling we’ve found that you don’t necessarily visit just art galleries to find fantastic local art in the countries we visit, but also amongst the shops and stalls in the streets and on the sides of buildings from Belgrade to Bangkok.
4. Have you discovered art upon the streets? Where was your favourite location?
I definitely agree. I love street art, especially when you compare it to the hushed silence and restrictive barriers of an art gallery. Art should be enjoyed by everyone. It should be talked about and pointed at and enjoyed on a daily basis.
Berlin has the most incredible street art scene in the world but my favourite location is London. I see the street art in London on a daily basis so I can watch it change, evolve and adapt as new artists make their mark. When you live in a city you start spotting art in unusual places, you notice something new and appreciate the meaning behind it.
We noticed that you’ve also had the pleasure to stay at Generator Hostel London, a great design hotel option for visitors to the great ‘big smoke’ city and somewhere we loved to wander around with our camera.
5. Have you stayed in other great design hotels or encountered other incredible design on your travels?
I’ve stayed in a lot of cool design hostels. I keep thinking I’ve outgrown hostels but then I stumble across a new one and realise that hostels are evolving into something stylish, fun and sociable so I don’t think I could ever outgrow them!
KEX Hostel in Iceland is my favourite. It wouldn’t be considered a ‘design hotel’ but it does have awesome design. Iceland is one of my favourite places in the world and has this laidback, stylish vibe that is impossible to replicate. KEX is a hostel in an old biscuit factory and has a granny-chic but industrial design that might sound like it wouldn’t work but it’s amazing.
Our love for music has a huge impact on our lives and we won’t travel anywhere without an iPod full of inspiring songs to listen to or perhaps even plans to see a local band playing in our intended destination.
6. Have you ever had the pleasure of encountering local music during your travels or is an iPod full of songs enough?
I think it would be impossible not to encounter local music while travelling. Music is everywhere from buskers on the street to live bands in bars or in shops and restaurants and even on the radio when you’re in the back of a cab. If you watch any kind of show there’s bound to be music and festivals are always filled with local music, even if they’re not technically music festivals. I love watching live bands when I travel, even if I’m not familiar with their music. While I was in Jamaica I went to a reggae festival and it was so much fun.
It’s fantastic that you’re still managing to travel each and every month even though you’re not travelling in the same way as you did back in 2009 and it really reassures us to know that though full-time travel might have to end for us in the future, we’ll still be able to explore the world either with a weekend staycation or an extended period of travel to somewhere special.
7. What travel plans do you have for the rest of 2014, and which big locations are you still desperate to visit for the first time?
Yes, if you love travel I’m sure you’ll always be able to make time for it in your life. After I travelled for two years I was worried about coming home. I imagined I’d be stuck in one place and have nothing more than a two-week holiday each year but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I find that when you travel once or twice a month you really appreciate the experience. You soak up every detail, enjoy every moment and appreciate every day. I loved travelling long-term but after six months in South East Asia I began to take it for granted and didn’t realise just how lucky I was.
I’ve recently had a stint of almost continuous travel whereby I’d travel for a week and come home for a few days and then be away for another week. So for the next few months I’m going to be at home, catching up on blog work and spending time with my friends and family.
I’ll be in Austria in August as I’m taking part in an Ironman out there and I have a few trips within Europe to visit some cities like Paris and Barcelona that have been on my wish list for years.
The big destination that I’m still desperate to visit is South America. I’d love to take an extended trip to travel around South America and get back to my backpacking roots.
Thanks so much to Monica for not only answering our questions, but also for continuing to inspire us that travel is something we can all do, no matter if it’s as a full-time traveller or not.
We also wish that we could see South America with you, it’s been part of our plans for the longest time, but we’ve never quite made it there; and returning to Barcelona is always going to receive a ‘yes’ response from Franca. Keep sharing your fantastic adventures!