This is Sam, a material girl soon to be travelling the world with just a backpack (well, with a boyfriend and a knitted doggy called Boofle). She have always loved to travel to new and exotic places, but this time she’s am doing it differently. She’s about to lose her backpacking virginity. She’s leaving her designer bags, stilettos and Tiffany jewellery at home to get on flights, trains and buses to destinations she’s have never been to before – she want to see the real world.
You admit you’re a bit of a material girl and very girly. How do you cope with the baggage restrictions when travelling?
To be honest I think I am just trying to prepare myself for it! I am super girly but I think I will be fine living without make up and hair straighteners, it is just the shoes and outfit factor that I am struggling with! When I start packing, I’ve told my friends they have to come over and tell me what I should and shouldn’t take – they will make sure I don’t over pack. At the moment it is actually saving me money because every time I go shopping and am about to buy something, I ask myself ‘will this fit in my backpack?’ and most of the time the answer is no, so I don’t buy it. I am very proud of myself!
You’re usually very organised but in your up and coming trip with your boyfriend you say you’re going to ‘wing it’. What made you decide to take it as it comes and why?
I know this is proper cheesy but you only live once! I need a bit of spontaneity in my life and what better time, hey? To me, 2013 is all about trying new things. So I am going to go for it! What’s the worst that could happen?
Your next trip is around Asia, Indonesia and Australasia. You’re itinerary looks amazing! Can you tell us three things you’re particularly excited about?
Hmmm, this is a tough one. I am looking forward to meeting new people while travelling and being able to see the world from a different perspective, sharing my passion for travel with other people doing the same, and learn about new cultures. I also can’t wait to be a daredevil! I want to skydive in New Zealand, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, learn to surf and get my PADI diving certificate. Oh, and party it up on a beautiful Thai beach, of course. So many exciting things to come!
The majority of RTW tickets go through America, but you’re not. Why is that?
I have been to America three times already and as much as I would love to do Route 66 and road trip around the country (which I will do at some point) I think it is a bit too much like home. I want to be out of my comfort zone and go places I have never been before.
You travel around with a little guy called Boofle. Can you tell us a little about him?
He is a spoilt little knitted doggy that travels the world with me. Tom, my boyfriend, bought him for me just after we met as I was going to live in Spain for a season abroad. While I was there, I used to take photos of Boofle in cool places that I visited and send them to him. And it just kind of stuck! Boofle has already been to Bangkok, Krabi, Venice, London, Barcelona, Las Vegas and Amsterdam. He always sneaks in to my suitcase whenever I go travelling. He is a cool dude. I hope he finds my backpack comfortable…
What was your first, worst and best holiday?
My first holiday was in Tenerife. But I don’t remember because I was only about one year old.
My worst holiday was Turkey. Tom and I went in 2010, and it was just awful. The weather was terrible for a week solid and we went to the tackiest, most touristy resort in the country. There was nothing interesting to do and because it was the end of season most bars and restaurants were closed. I usually cry when I have to come home from my holiday, but that time I didn’t.
I cannot possible choose just one best holiday! Can I share a few? As much as I love culture and avoiding the tourist trail, I have to admit that I am a massive Disney geek. I went to Orlando when I was 15 and it was absolutely amazing (and at 22, I still wish I was a Disney princess). I HEART NY too. My best friend and I went to New York on our own just after we turned 17. It was the best feeling ever being loose in the big apple, free to do whatever we wanted (which was mainly shopping). I later went back with my Mum to do the bits I missed.
For my 21st birthday I went to Las Vegas. Vegas is like nowhere else in the world. I would love to move there and become a dancer in a show – it is just unbelievable!
Lastly, Tom and I went to Thailand earlier this year. Before we went I was a bit apprehensive as I had never been anywhere in Asia before and it had never really appealed. But I had the time of my life and now I just want to explore everything else Asia has to offer. The culture is so new to me and it is all so beautiful and full of excitement. I can’t wait to go back. The first stop on my RTW trip is Bangkok.
What ignited your passion for travel and why do you love it so much?
I have loved travel ever since I can remember. When I was little my Granddad went on a RTW trip and he used to always show me his photos, videos and talk to me for hours about his experiences. He had a real passion for it and I think he was the one to pass it down to me.
He would be so proud if he knew what I was planning on doing next year, following his footsteps around the world. I know it sounds stupid but travel is my escape. It opens my eyes to everything around me and it just makes me realise there is so much that the world has to offer. It puts things in to perspective for me.
I studied Travel and Tourism at college and went on to be a travel agent for TUI and Virgin Holidays, plus my season abroad. Working in the travel industry made me realise I didn’t want to do what everyone else does; I wanted to explore the ‘real’ world and experience things that I will be able to tell my grandchildren about in years to come. I just love getting away from a boring routine and learning about new places, people and beliefs.
You’re going to be travelling with your boyfriend for quite a few months! What tips would you give to couples going away together for the first time?
I would say make sure that you can live together and make sure you know each other’s boundaries. Tom and I have lived together for 18 months and we know each other’s annoying habits and can read each other so well. I know he can be a bit messy and irritating, and he puts up with me when I’m being an emotional. You need to be able to stick together during the rough times and laugh together during the good. People have told me it will either be make or break… I think we can do it.
You don’t do drugs and don’t smoke, but gave Amsterdam’s wild side a try while you were there. What has been the most outrageous things you’ve done whilst travelling?
Yes, we had brownies in Amsterdam – they made me paranoid. It was hilarious. We also went to a sex show while we were there, that was… an experience? I don’t understand how these women find out they have these ‘talents’!
When we were in Krabi we camped in the rainforest. That was pretty crazy, especially as there were all kinds of dangerous snakes slithering around the site.
I have also done little things like helicopter over the Grand Canyon, snorkelled in the Red Sea and gambled money away in a Vegas casino. But to be honest I have never really been overly outrageous. Things need to change… It’ll happen next year!
You have a post on fears and phobias and you’re scared of sick and moths (what a combo!), but what has been you’re scariest moment when travelling?
I always get really scared on a plane, just in case someone near has travel sickness! But thank goodness it hasn’t happened recently. Someone also told me they have gigantic moths in Asia so I am mega scared about that! I think the most scared I have been abroad was in the taxis in Bangkok. It’s ridiculous I know, but I really did think that I was going to die. They drive like maniacs! But I am quite lucky, I have never really had a proper scary moment when travelling. Maybe ask me in a year’s time – I’m sure I would have a few by then!