Frances is a northern lass whose insatiable wanderlust just won’t dampen! Travel has been her main focus for the past three years, seeing her save up, go abroad, come home and repeat. During this time she’s discovered the joys of writing a blog as way of documenting her adventures, and now likes to call herself a fully fledged blogger and social media enthusiast. She’s currently based in Melbourne enjoying city life, good food, good company and finding lots of great blog material!
You recently packed up and moved to Melbourne. What made you pick the city and how’s it going?
I first went backpacking about three years ago and did the classic backpacker route through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and then the east coast of Australia. Melbourne was the last place we visited and I just fell in love with it. It’s such a chilled out yet exciting city and has so much to offer. When I was deciding where to go last year I picked Melbourne because I have always wanted to come back, plus I had a few close friends here at the time and relatives. It seemed logical! Luckily enough things are going brilliantly, I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience. I’ve made so many new friends and gained a new confidence I didn’t have before – I guess dropping yourself at the other side of the world with about three contacts is a sink or swim kind of situation!
You first went travelling in 2010, but when did your love for travel really start?
When people ask me ‘did you always want to travel?’ I don’t really know how to answer. It just sort of happened! I definitely think though if I hadn’t gone to university then it’s unlikely I would have had the guts to go travelling. Uni taught me that there’s a big world out there and that’s it’s possible to go see it and be a part of it, that really excited me and was when the travel seed was planted.
What is it about backpacking that you love so much?
I love the freedom of it. I don’t mean this in a hedonistic way, what I mean is it’s a very freeing and almost peaceful experience. Putting the boozy, social aspects to one side, my happiest travel memories have been when it’s just me, my backpack and some beautiful scenery.
You love your books. Who’s your travel writer hero(ine)?
I’d actually say Bear Grylls. I know he’s not really a travel writer, but after reading his book Mud, Sweat & Tears I fell in love with his attitude towards life. He is one of the most positive, motivated individuals I’ve ever read about.
What’s your favourite way to travel and why?
I’d say by train. Much easier to sleep and cheaper than flying. You do miss out on the scenery of bus journeys, but I’ve had so many horrendous bus journeys that I’d rather just get some sleep!
You’re a runner and like to have a job around Melbourne. How to you keep fit on the road and how easy is it as a backpacker?
Wherever I am I just google running routes or local running clubs. Once you know where to go it’s a lot easier! I also do as much walking as possible. It can be hard when you’re backpacking because you do a lot of sleeping, eating and drinking! You have to be strict and force yourself to exercise.
Who has been the most interesting character you’ve met in the world?
It would have to be the American expat who ran a café in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. He was really crazy and used to give his cat treats for catching rats! A couple of people at our hotel didn’t like him but my friends and I found him extremely entertaining! There are no restrictions when you travel, people don’t judge as quickly and you end up talking to some of the weirdest characters.
You’re into your clothes. How easy is it to look chic whilst travelling and how do you keep it up?
When I’m backpacking I just embrace the backpacker look! Baggy trousers, flip flops, vests aplenty! It makes life on the road easier and means I really appreciate my vast array of clothes when I get home. It’s been different in Melbourne though, I really had to pick wisely when I was packing because I could only fit so much in my bag and I needed summer and winter attire. My main concern though is my hair, I keep it trimmed and groomed and feel that as long as your hair and make up look good the rest of you will too!
When you’re back home, what is it about travelling that you miss most?
The novelty of being in a new place with lots of things to see, do and absorb. That’s one of the main thrills of travel for me.
Where are you off to next?
I’m really happy staying in Melbourne for the next few months until my visa runs out. There’s still a lot to Victoria that I’ve yet to explore. When I do leave, I plan to head over to New Zealand to visit relatives I have over there and soak up some gorgeous scenery before heading home in time for Christmas. I can’t wait to see NZ as I’ve heard so much about it, and believe it or not, I also can’t wait to get home! For me I find the longer I’m away the more I appreciate what I have back in blighty.