Welcome back to Feature Friday! Today we have Daniela here with us to share her experiences, her thoughts, and her travels. Not only does Daniela travel the world, documenting her adventures along the way, but she also works full-time. Finding a balance between a job, a blog [which is basically another full-time job], and travelling is hard work, but she manages to pull it off amazingly! Let’s see what Daniela has to share with us today:
1. Thank you for deciding to be a part of Feature Friday. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
Thank you for the opportunity. I’m Daniela, I’m from Romania but currently living in London. I started traveling by myself at age 17. Not continuously, but my passion went only growing with every trip. Now I travel to at least 5-6 new countries a year while keeping a full-time job. I started my blog more as a travel journal and my intention is to share what I experience in different places. And hopefully, inspire more people to travel.
2. Why did you decide to become a travel blogger?My friends encouraged me to write a blog some time ago, but because I’m quite an introvert, I didn’t give it a serious thought. This year I decided I should at least try, as a hobby, and I discovered that I love it! I love writing, learning about blogging and getting in touch with other bloggers. And every time someone finds my blog useful or inspiring, it just brightens my day.
3. What do you love so much about travelling?
I love everything about travel! Well, except packing and unpacking. I like doing research on a specific destination and book tickets. I get excited when I’m about to board a plane or a train, as I know at the other end there’s a new adventure waiting for me. I like the holiday mood, navigate with the map, find new places, try new food and drinks, take lots of pictures. I learn about the place and about myself. Then I go back home with lots of energy, new ideas, and great memories.
4. Have you ever regretted doing something while travelling?Yes, I regret riding an elephant in Thailand. It was because of my ignorance, I later found out how much elephants get to suffer for this and I believe the experience was not worth their pain.
5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done while travelling?
I climbed Kawah Ijen Volcano, in Indonesia. There is a sulfur mine in the crater of the volcano, and when the gas comes out, it looks like blue flames. It’s really amazing and would definitely recommend the experience. But go there prepared. I didn’t. I went there based on a recommendation, but didn’t even search for photos on google to see how it looks like. We started the hike at 1 am and walked through the jungle to get to the top. The scary part was when we started descending into the crater, the road was very narrow and rocky, I could see only dark and I could barely breathe because of the strong sulfur smell. I was scared I would fall into that huge dark pit. I held my guide’s hand all the way down and I felt relieved only when we reached the bottom.
6. What is your most embarrassing travel story?I was planning to volunteer with kids in a small village in Kenya, Mtwapa. I stayed in a volunteers’ hostel and I talked to the host about how much I want to volunteer. She found me an orphanage and made the arrangements. But after talking to the teacher there, I realized I don’t want to do it and it’s definitively not for me. I felt very embarrassed to the teacher and host and didn’t know how to explain it. They were both wondering what happened and kept asking, which made it even worse.
7. Have you ever travelled solo? Would you do it again? If you haven’t, would you ever do it?
Yes! And I’m a big supporter of it. My first solo trip was when I was 17, and I’ve been traveling solo many times since then, to Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. I believe solo travel is a great experience which leads to better self-awareness and self-confidence. And these will ultimately improve all areas of your life.
8. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the least? Why?I was recently in Gambia, and as part of a tour, we went to Tanji Fishing Village. I don’t eat fish and I don’t like the dead fish smell, so probably this “helped” at lot. I couldn’t wait for the tour to end. The general feeling I had was sadness and a bit disturbed in some instances.
9. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the most? Why?
My favorite region is S-E Asia, every time I go there is guaranteed fun. It’s like my earthly paradise. I love the hot weather, the nature, the people, the cultures, the food, everything. Maybe because it’s so different and far from home, it makes it so attractive and fascinating in my eyes.
10. If you had to choose one place to live for the rest of your life, where would it be, and why?This is a tough question. I wouldn’t like to live in the same place for the rest of my life. Still, if I were to choose, it would probably be somewhere in Western Europe. It looks pretty, it’s well connected, quite safe, nice work culture and overall good life balance.
11. Are there any social norms or practice you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were normal in your native culture?Yes, the tipping. This is a practice in Romania, I never liked it. I noticed there are other countries, more and less developed than Romania where tipping is not encouraged or expected, example being many of the Asian countries. I don’t mind tipping for a great meal at a restaurant or a guided tour when I’m on holiday. But in Romania, as a local, it’s common to tip the taxi driver, the hairdresser, the doctor… And the tip can influence a lot the type of service you get, which I find totally wrong.
12. Is there anywhere you would not visit? Where, and why?I’m not a big fan of cold weather. I would like to do the Transsiberian and to go on a cruise to Antarctica, but that’s about it. Not keen to explore many places where the temperatures are very low throughout the year.
13. What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?I’m a light packer. I can go on a 2 week holiday with only hand luggage. I don’t like to bring too much with me on a trip, as I know I won’t be using them. I wish I could bring my laptop when traveling, but the smartphone it’s basically the mini version of it, so I’m happy.
14. Do you think there’s a difference between people who deem themselves tourists vs. travellers? What do you consider yourself, and why?
Yes, I believe tourist refers more to the people who are not very informed about the destinations they travel to, have little tolerance or awareness of local cultures and view everything through their home/local glasses. A traveler should be kind of the opposite of a tourist. I’ve been both and probably will continue to be, either consciously or not. It depends on the destination, the situation, the mood. I think it would be arrogant of me to say I’m a traveler all the time.
15. What does home mean to you?Home is where it all seems familiar, where I feel very comfortable and integrated. It is tightly related to routine, family and close friends.
16. What advice would you give an aspiring travel blogger?Give it a try! If it’s something you find yourself thinking about, I see no reason why you shouldn’t do it. See if it fits you. We live in a world where blogging is free and super easy, it’s a pity not to take advantage of it and contribute with your thoughts. You never know where it leads.
Thank you so much Daniela, for being a guest on the blog, and for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I used to think it was so cool when I saw pictures of people riding elephants, but I’ve learned, as you shared, that the elephants go through so much pain and torture just so that this is possible to people travelling to those regions. My heart breaks for those poor animals, and hopefully as more people become aware, there will be less demand for that industry. I thank you again for being a part of Feature Friday, and safe travels on your next adventure!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about the blogger!
Daniela loves traveling and exploring new places. She goes on a trip every month, some closer, some further. She recently started a travel blog, to share what she saw and learned on the way and to inspire more people to travel. Connect with Daniela at the following:
**Featured Image belongs to Daniela**