Since we started our sister travel blog, we have been lucky to have a lot of posts covered by Alison Laycock, one of our bloggers who also writes for this blog. She has shared her Camino experience as well as her recent travels around Netherlands, Scandinavia, Luxembourg and Belgium. Over the past few months, we have received many questions for Alison about her travels and she finally agreed to do an interview during her recent travels. The questions have come from readers of both blogs.
What is your favourite and least favourite part of your travels so far?
My favourite part will always be around trying new languages or using the ones I can already speak in the actual countries and the best part about this is linked to the people you meet whilst travelling whatever language you’re chatting in. My least favourite parts are around judgments or rudeness either directed at me or those around me.
Why do you travel?
Wow, what a great question and one which I could spend ages answering but I’ll try to summarise. I travel now because I haven’t always had the time, money or freedom to do so. Now, I focus on the positives and make sure I do travel as it’s far too easy listening to the negative aspects of travel and then not doing anything. I travel to find myself and keep finding myself especially when I think I’m losing myself as there are parts of me I will always fight for. Travel helps me remain positive and I love exploring.
Do you always travel on your own?
Not always no. I’ve travelled with friends, as part of a tour group, with work colleagues and with family years ago. I do, however, find that I prefer solo travel as you can be yourself throughout without having other people’s expectations placed on you.
What is your favourite holiday memory overall?
The memory which stands out is from a holiday spent with my nan at her caravan in North Wales when I was young. She was making pancakes for my brother and I and tossed the pancake and it stuck to the ceiling. I remember the laughter, the feeling of being loved and how we were on an adventure. I think most people’s favourite memories will be about loved ones on holidays rather than simply places.
You interviewed some people along the way, will there be more of those?
Great question. I didn’t set out to do interviews along the way to be honest. The first one with Müriel in Groningen Meeting Muriël at Groningen museum was a gift as she approached me to discuss a painting and as we discussed what she did at the museum, I realised I wanted others to hear about her. Then I decided to interview others when I felt something was worth sharing. Throughout Scandinavia, there were probably others who were interesting however for various reasons I decided not to interview them. If the interviews were planned then I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed doing them as much.
Why did you start travel blogging?
I was writing for Being the best blog which is aimed at encouraging readers to live their best lives and we noticed that some of our posts were more travel posts so as a group we decided to set up a travel blog. That’s how I started travel blogging, however I have also written travel articles in the past for other websites. Travel is a big passion of mine which offers me so many opportunities and areas of growth. The idea of sharing my experiences with others and maybe also encouraging them to travel really appeals to me.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start travelling on their own?
I would immediately say ‘DO IT’. Then my advice would be to get used to spending time by yourself if you haven’t already as this is the aspect most people forget about as when you travel on your own, you will find yourself literally on your own at times. Also, plan a local trip away so that you can experience exploring on your own and see how that feels. Some need others to discuss their views with, whereas other travellers have a lot of strategies for dealing with alone time. Mostly though, my answer is always ‘DO IT’.
You always seem to have a positive outlook, how do you maintain that?
Thank you for saying that. I am mostly positive and I find that travelling helps. Meditation and being in the present as much as I can is also a big help. Being positive is also such a mood boosting technique. I can say that as I have negative people in my life and when I listen to them always complaining even when they hear positive news, I always think how tiring that must be.
How do you find travelling as an introvert?
Since realising that I am an introvert as opposed to shy, I have found ways of noticing my needs and allowing myself time to deal with them. So, for example, I now know that I can deal with crowds and lots of noise as long as I have a way out prepared or I will need some time on my hand beforehand. Throughout my latest travels, I also made sure I built in some walks in nature and as I meditate daily, that also helps. Now, I’m also happy to say no to invites or to certain activities rather than believing I have to do everything.
You’ve decided to write your own blog, can tell us about it and why you made this decision?
I kept being asked if I was going to write a travel blog or another type of blog by myself and my answer was always no as all my posts fitted in to Being the best and Travel alphabet. Then with the Camino and these past travels, they didn’t really fit in to the travel alphabet but we agreed as a group that the posts should be shared on both blogs as they would suit our readers. I decided to set up my own blog to write about a challenge I had set myself when I turned 40 of visiting 40 countries in my 40s so the new blog is 40countriesinmy40s.home.blog. The blog will cover my travels now and will also backtrack over the previous years and there will be tips for women travelling solo in their 40s. I found that I was frustrated that there weren’t many blogs for women travelling in their 40s so friends encouraged me to do my own.
Will you still be writing for travel alphabet?
Yes, I will if it fits in the alphabet. In fact, I think letter ‘B’ is mine for Brussels. However, all other posts about my travel will be posted first on 40countriesinmy40s.home.blog.