Traveler Interview with Claire from Tales From A Backpacker
This week, we’re excited to introduce to you another inspiring traveler and blogger, Claire from Tales of a Backpacker to our Rendezvous with Rovers series where we slurp up every word from travelers who’ve been out there having some amazing experience.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I love travelling, I think it’s always been in my mind that I wanted to travel the world. I studied languages at school and university, so I could travel and speak to as many people as I could when I was on the road. I’m from the UK originally, but moved to Barcelona about 5 years ago, before packing my bag and setting off to travel around South America. That was two and a half years ago now, and I’ve been in Latin America most of the time since then. I travel alone, I got tired of waiting for someone else to travel with, and realised it was now or never so I just went ahead and booked the flight!
I couldn’t wait to leave England, and loved living in Barcelona. But actually, it’s been nice to come back home and appreciate England as a tourist, and see it with fresh eyes – it’s not that bad after all! I think the worst thing about England is the weather; when it is sunny it is beautiful, but it can be grim in the rain!
What inspires you to travel?
I travel pretty much full time now. After leaving Barcelona I backpacked around South America for 10 months, then came back to Europe for another couple of months, roaming around between Barcelona, France and the UK, then I left again for Latin America. This time I went to Cuba, Mexico and Central America. I love the Latino culture, the warmth of the people, the food, and the landscapes are amazing – incredibly diverse of course, each country and each city is different, but I feel more at home over there than I do in England, which is crazy really. I speak Spanish which helps of course, and I want to visit every country in Latin America. After that I’ll continue exploring the world, I’ll probably head to Asia next as that’s relatively cheap to travel around too!
Describe your travel philosophy.
I am a backpacker, but I’m too old for all night parties and beer chugging now. I usually stay in hostels as I still travel on a tight budget when I’m not working, but choose more chilled out places that still have a social vibe. I love hostels as they are great for meeting people, but if you want to be alone you can just hang out on your own too. That said, I do treat myself to a private room every now and again for some much-needed alone time!
What types of things are you interested in while you are traveling?
I enjoy a mix of everything really, I’m not a beach bum as I’m very pale I burn easily so after an hour I’m done. I love snorkelling though and I’ve just learned to dive so am trying to do that everywhere I can, it is fascinating to see a whole world beneath the waves! I like some adrenaline, but I’m terrified of injuring myself so I like “light” active sports, nothing too strenuous! I love wandering the streets, trying local food, chatting to people, and I love taking cooking classes too. Food tells you an awful lot about the culture of a place, and its great fun sampling all the things I’ve never heard of before!
What is your next destination and what are you looking forward to doing there?
I’m going to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands in a couple of weeks to a surf school – I’ve never surfed before so I’m excited about that, I’d love to be a surf babe if I can ever manage to stand up!! I’ll also try and do some diving there too to keep that up! I’m heading to Berlin & hopefully Prague in February, then I’m back to Mexico again in March.
What is one travel book or movie that you can recommend to folks?
It’s not a travel book as such, but I love The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; it’s based in Barcelona and he mentions places I’ve been to – Barcelona will always be very special to me.
What is one thing you take with you traveling, no matter what?
Travel sickness pills. Unfortunately, I suffer quite badly from motion sickness so they’re a necessity!! I always carry earplugs & an eye mask, and have earphones & music to listen to as well. I also carry a little model of a Moomin for luck which I’ve had since I was a kid. My favourite travel gear is a Lifestraw water bottle, it has a built-in filter so you can drink water from anywhere (except the sea!) and it saved me so much money while I was travelling around places where the tap water wasn’t drinkable.
How did you get started travel blogging, and what would be one piece of advice you can offer newbie bloggers?
I started when I moved to Barcelona, I didn’t have a television so suddenly had a lot of free time! When I left for South America I re-branded everything and started from scratch though, to try to do it ‘professionally’. The best piece of advice is to be prepared to work hard. I thought it would be easy to do at first, but soon realised that if I wanted anyone to read what I was writing I’d have to spend time promoting it and sharing it on social media too! It is a lot more work than I imagined if you want to do it well, and you have to learn a whole range of new skills – photo editing, SEO, writing, social media, I’m now attempting video editing which is a new one for me – so if you’re looking to make easy money, this isn’t the way to do it!
Thank you Claire for ramping up our weekend travel inspiration! Don’t forget to take a look at Claire’s website and some of her social media as well.
Don’t forget to read some of our other Weekend Travel Inspiration articles, from traveler interviews to quotes with stories, and even some videos of our game show.
Pin Claire’s Rendezvous with Rovers interview so you can read it again!