Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Travel Trivia on Tuesday


It's the new year and it's definitely time for a new post. I decided that as the past year has been a year of travel for me, that I would put up a post about my travels in the form of travel trivia, as well as questions that friends have asked me.

Let's start!

Number of countries I have visited outside of Australia: 20

Number of countries I have lived in: 4 - Australia, Finland, Greece, and Thailand

Number of countries I have spent Christmas in: 3 - Australia, Finland, and Thailand

Number of countries I have spent New Years in: 4 - Australia, Finland, Estonia, and Thailand.

Number of countries I have spent my birthday in: 3 - Australia, Finland, and Greece.

What do I always travel with: A book or some form of reading device. E-readers can come in handy.

A book on the beach at Christmas... can't get much better.
 Why did you start travelling?

For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of visiting places like Pompeii and Stonehenge, and of visiting museums like The Louvre and The British Museum. I have always wanted to see more of the world than just Australia. When I was in high school, I found out about youth exchange and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to start travelling, but I have always wanted to travel.

Why do you travel alone? What are the positives and negatives to travelling alone?

I have not always travelled alone. My first trip to Finland was really as part of a large group and most of the travel I did that year was part of a group.

Going back to Finland in 2012, I decided to travel alone, because I was going to be going to a country I already knew. Plus I was planning on going long term and none of my friends would have really wanted to come or been able to at the time. I have done much travel in the past 18 months by myself and I have had as much fun with that as when travelling with people.

Positives for travelling alone:

- You never have to worry about wanting to do something that other people you are travelling with don't want to do.
- You make friends with people you meet in places like hostels and walking tours around cities, as well as buses, trains and planes.
- You expand your comfort zone.
- You don't have any travelling companions, and so don't find yourself wanting to cause harm to anyone because you have been spending too much time with them.
- If something goes wrong and you miss a bus or something, you can be sure it was your fault, and not someone elses.

Negatives for travelling alone:

- You have noone to look after your bags when you really need to go to a public toilet and find yourself having to squeeze everything into a tiny cubicle and get the door shut as well.
- Sometimes you experience something really awesome, that you want to share, and you have nobody to share it with.
- You either find yourself taking way too many selfies as you try to take a picture with some sort of landmark, or you end up with lots of photos, but you are in none of them.

How has travelling changed your life?

I think travelling has made me more open minded and adventurous. I find myself outside of my comfort zone and not minding it. I have experienced things that some people never get a chance to experience and I have met many amazing people from all over the world. Travelling, and in particular travelling alone, has given me more self confidence to do things. I know that if I want something I can have it / do it.

What has been the strangest food you have tried on the road?

I wouldn't say that I have had any really strange foods that I have tried on the road, but I guess eating Reindeer is a pretty strange thing for most people to think about, even if it is delicious. 

I can't think of anything else that I would class as particularly strange in any way. I try to stay pretty safe with what I eat because I guess I am not particular adventurous. I don't ever see myself voluntarily eating insects for example.

Have you ever been scared while traveling?

I don't think sitting at the back of a bus on a road in the French Alps and looking straight down the mountain quite evokes the sense of scared that I think is implied by this question, so I would say no. I am definitely a little bit nervous before I move to a new country, but I wouldn't say scared.

Is there a country you always travel back to ?

Finland. Definitely Finland. But also Estonia. I love Estonia.

Do you have any packing rituals?

Not really. I pretty much just pile everything onto the bed/floor then fold it. I do tend to use space saving bags for my clothes so they take up less room but that is about it.

What is the most beautiful beach you have ever seen?

This is a hard one for me. I have not met a beach that could beat an Australian beach, and even with Australian beaches I couldn't say which one is my favourite that I have ever visited because there are so many.

In terms of other countries, I would say that one of the most beautiful beaches I have visited is Anthony Quinn Bay on the island of Rhodes, Greece. I also recently visited Promthep Cape, on the island of Phuket, here in Thailand. That was a very beautiful beach.

What was your first trip abroad?

My first trip abroad, was to Finland. I was an exchange student there in 2007 for the year.
What are the top 5 on your bucket list ?

I'm horrible! My bucket list basically is visit -insert historical site here- in -insert country here-.

That said let's see if I can do a top 5 of things for a bucket list.

1. See the Aurora Borealis in person.
2. Visit Pompeii, Italy

3. Visit Gallipoli, Turkey
4. Visit Stonehenge, England
5. Participate in an archaeological dig in some way.

If I hadn't already been to the Tower of London it would be on my bucket list.

Is there any place in the world you are not interested in traveling to?

I think there are countries in most parts of the world that I wouldn't be particularly interested in visiting, but I don't think it's right to rule out anything 100% because you never know what opportunities may arise. If someone told me a year ago that I would be living in Thailand, I would have called them insane because I had no particular desire to even visit here.

What is the one thing you miss at home when on the road?

My books. Definitely my books.

Do you think you will ever settle down and if so, where would you see yourself doing so? Australia? Europe?

I have no idea. I really love Europe, but of course I grew up in Australia, and that is where most of my family lives. I think it would really just depend on circumstances at any given time. If I find a job that I love and that suits me or some other good reason to settle down in a particular place, then I will settle.

What is your favorite airline and airport?

I can't say I have travelled through any airport frequently enough to really have a favourite, but Helsinki airport is pretty good, and I haven't experienced any crazy crowds there either... YAY FOR AIRPORTS IN SMALLER CITIES!

My favourite airline would have to be Thai Airways. I have flown one long haul international flight from Bangkok to Sydney and then one shorter domestic flight from Bangkok to Phuket and both times I really enjoyed it. The service was excellent and the planes were comfortable even in economy. 

How many time zones have you been through in one week?  

I'm going to take this as a how many time zones have I spent time in, in one week as opposed to time zones I crossed over in a plane.

I have spent time in 4 different time zones whilst travelling from Finland back to Australia as well as when travelling from Australia to Finland. 

In terms of actually spending more than 2-3 hours in an airport, in a time zone, then I guess the answer would be 3 time zones. Greece, Thailand and Singapore in a week at the beginning of November. 

What is your favourite place you've been to and why?

My favourite place that I have been to is, I think, Tallinn, Estonia. It doesn't matter what time of year it is, there is something incredibly enchanting about the Old Town of Tallinn. 

I don't think I could ever get bored visiting Tallinn. It seems every time I visit I get introduced to a new cafe, where there is amazing food. The people are friendly and the sights are beautiful. One of the other good things is that even though there are tourists, there aren't the huge numbers you find in some European cities like Prague or Paris which means that even in summer, at the height of the tourist season you can enjoy it. 

Tallinn by night is definitely something magical.

Thanks to my friends who asked me some great questions. This was defintely a fun post.

~~ Random Logic ~~

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