Let’s begin this with the disclaimer that I never thought I would be lucky enough to develop a travel style. The original plan was 2 years exploring Europe before heading home to get career serious. Little did I know that my plans would be re-routed slightly, and a decade later I would have a soul infected with wanderlust whilst dragging my favourite Northern Lad around the world with me.
Thinking long and hard about the challenge set by Madam Silverspoon (well, more of a suggestion, less of a quest really) to define my travel style, I have to admit that I still don’t really know what our travel style is like (except that lying on a beach for two weeks makes me shudder.)
I suppose it really depends on each type of break and why we’re going. Relaxing with the boy in French sunshine, photographing my Dad’s wedding or a girly weekend away all have such different vibes to them.
I can’t avoid the temptation of a open gate – especially when it looks like we shouldn’t be wandering through and I love discovering touristy places that make me smile. I will actually Google search “Quirky things to do in…” they often simply appeal to me more than pushy hour-long tourist laden queues. Things such as the Cat museum in Amsterdam, visiting the castle made famous but appearing as approximately 5 different castles in Monty Python’s Search For The Holy Grail and celebrating Beltane by burning the wicker man in Hampshire. We tracked down the infamous Hilton suite where John Lennon & Yoko Ono asked us to give peace a chance, slept in a piece of Hollywood musical history, discovered the worlds largest Orange in the sunshine state, and adore getting lost just to see where we end up.
We’ve learned that each place we visit is going to be totally different from the one before. It doesn’t matter even what you think beforehand – a country may not be anything like the photoshopped images on Google pretend. It may also knock your socks off in a way that you never expected…
With the aid of spreadsheets (a hat tip again to Madam Spoon – before this I just chucked what we fancied doing daily into a calendar app on my phone + scribbled locations onto a map and planned day to day) I’ve learned not to overexert ourselves whilst balancing the need to get a flavour of the place, how to utilise relaxing breaks and pyjama days at home and that we like a certain level of comfort these days in our lodgings. (Oh, and the occasional Polar Bear.) Location with a side of luxury is so important to where we end up staying; centrally for short breaks and off the beaten track for relaxing weekends.
Funnily enough, London is where we tend to eat our most opulent and luxurious meals – whilst in a city we don’t know I hate to tie us down with restaurant reservations in case we decide that we fancy spending a day hanging out in our hotel watching movies or the train trip back from the Bavarian Alps runs really late. However, we adore finding ourselves with a spare hour or two to hang out in a local pub and just chat. Our lunches tend to be grabbing something local on the go; Hirata buns (Japanese steamed pork buns) from a steamy roadside stand, chocolate croissants warm from the boulangerie oven, a cone of Grimsby fish and chips on the seafront or Norwegian hot dogs from a local supermarket.
I adore discovering others stories – through incredible architecture, historic tales and the medium of a culture through food. But it also seems to be in my soul. New Zealand teachers are at great pains to instill a sense of uniquely cultural identity to our young malleable minds – and as a youngster often on a Marae hearing elders teach us through storytelling, it kinda doesn’t surprise me to discover how many of us have spread our wings to discover unique cultures of the world, and find ourselves with a need of expression, awe of discovery and somewhere to share our photos. Enter blogging stage left. (Not to mention it’s an easy way of letting our Mums know that we’re safe and healthy.)