Travel Tuesday with Andrea from Happy Days Travel Blog

Dragoman Group Photo Gonder Ethiopia

For this week’s Travel Tuesday, Andrea from Happy Days Travel Blog has answered my travel blogging questions. Andrea spends half her year in the Caribbean, escaping the British winter!

So over to Andrea from Happy Days Travel Blog to answer my Travel Questions:

Cookery Class Marrakech

 Q1 – When did you become a traveller?

I have always loved to travel. My first overseas experience was on a school holiday to Austria and Italy when I was 14. We visited Venice and the Olympic stadium in Innsbruck – I loved it!  When I was 18, I took a gap year between school and university and spent most of it in the Middle East.  That was when the travel bug really got me.  35 years later, I’m still travelling!!

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Q2 – What kind of traveller are you? Full-time? Part-time? Anytime?

Together with my husband, Mark, I travel full-time.  We sold up everything In the UK 15 years ago and have been on the road ever since.  We work when we need to, but only to fund further travel, not to accumulate ‘stuff’!

Q3 – Which country do you originally come from and where do you call home?

We are originally from the UK (Mark from London and me from Yorkshire).  We still have a small base on the Lincolnshire coast, but we are very rarely there.  We tend to travel slowly, spending months in each location, so, for us, home Is wherever we are at the time.

Q4 – Is there anything you miss from home when you are travelling?

Not really!  When we first started travelling long-term, we missed listening to Radio 2, but nowadays, with the internet, we can get our daily fix of Ken Bruce wherever we are!

Q5 – What do you love most about travelling?

For me, the joy of travelling is the people you meet along the way.  I love learning about their lives and understanding the differences and, more importantly, the similarities between us.  Travel Is the greatest teacher.  I learn so much every day.  I think it makes me more open-minded and tolerant, too.

Floating hotel Ganvie Benin
Floating Hotel in Benin

Q6 – And what is your pet hate?

I don’t get upset by much, but I guess if you put me on the spot, I hate the stereotypical ‘Brits abroad’.  Unfortunately, they do exist.  Luckily for me, they tend not to travel to the more ‘off-the-beaten track’ destinations we prefer, but, when we do encounter them, I squirm with embarrassment and find myself apologising for the behaviour of my fellow countrymen.

Q7 – Tell us about your favourite trip or place to visit.

This is such a difficult question!  I have loved 95% of the places we have been to.  My favourite type of travel is easier to answer.  I love overlanding!  We have taken several overlanding trips through Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Benin, Togo – which have probably given me my favourite travel moments.

Dragoman Group Photo Gonder Ethiopia

Q8 – How do you prepare for a trip, are you a last-minute packer or days in advance?

I love planning!!  For me, it’s part of the excitement of the trip.  I’m always organised – from doing the initial research, to making the bookings, to packing my bag – I love it all!!  I like to plan well in advance.  As of now, all of our trips are set for the next year (2020) and I’m starting to map out our big Cape Town to Cairo journey which begins after that.

Q9 – What 5 things do you always take on your travels?

My laptop, my mobile phone, my camera equipment, a scarf (essential when visiting religious sites and multi-functional as a piece of fabric), and lots of notebooks and pens.

Q10 – If money was no object, where would you live?

If we suddenly came into a lot of money, we probably still wouldn’t live in any one place.  We would still travel much as we do now, but with some first-class travel and a few five-star hotels thrown in!

Q11 – Tell us more about your blog/YouTube channel?

My blog is Happy Days Travel Blog.  I write in-depth articles and travel guides to inspire couples like us to travel further for longer.  My tagline is – ‘Do It Now – Don’t Wait For Retirement’.

On the Bosphorus Istanbul
Andrea on the Bosphorous

Q12 – What three blogs inspire you?

Very Hungry Nomads – this is a blog written by Rach and Marty who are aiming to be the first Australian and Slovakian women to visit every country in the world.  We were lucky enough to spend last New Year with these two inspiring women in Ghana and we have been following their journey ever since.

Adventure In You – Tom and Anna at Adventure In You inspire me every day, not only with their travel stories, but also because they run, in my opinion, the best blogging course available.

To Travel Too – Australians Jane and Duncan are, like us, a couple of a certain age who have quit conventional lives to become nomadic.

Q13 – And your go-to travel resource?

I don’t have a single resource – I tend to use Google to find the information I want.  Having said that, I’m still a Lonely Planet girl and rarely travel without an LP guidebook.

Q14 – What advice would you give first-time bloggers?

Learn from people who are already successful, so you don’t make costly and time-wasting mistakes.  Take a course, join Facebook groups, attend conferences.

Q15 – Where are you off to next?

Six months In Tobago with a side trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines In the middle.

A quick lowdown of Andrea’s favourite:

Favourite Airport?   Koh Samui

Favourite Mode of Transportation?   Overlanding truck

Window seat or aisle?  Always the window!

Favourite City?  It’s still Paris – I lived there from the age of 16 to 18 and it made me the person I am.

Favourite Country?  So difficult, but I think I’d have to say Ethiopia.

Backpack or Case?  It depends on the trip, but more often it’s a backpack.

Travel Book?  Anything by Paul Theroux, particularly ‘The Great Railway Bazaar‘ – so evocative!  I love William Dalrymple, too!

Quote?  Sorry it’s a bit long, but this quote by Don George, travel writer extraordinaire and former Global Travel Editor of Lonely Planet, sums up what travel means to me.

‘As I have learned over and over, travel teaches us about the vast and varied differences that enrich the global mosaic, in landscape, creation, custom, and belief, and about the importance of each and every piece in that mosaic.  Travel teaches us to embrace our vulnerability and to have faith that whatever energy we put into the world will come back to us a hundredfold.  Travel teaches us to approach unfamiliar cultures and people with curiosity and respect, and to realise that the great majority of people around the world, whatever their differences in background and belief, care for their fellow human beings.  And ultimately, travel teaches us about love.  It teaches us that the very best we can do with our lives is to embrace the peoples, places, and cultures we meet with all our mind, heart, and soul, to live as fully as possible in every moment, every day.  And it teaches us that this embrace is simultaneously a way of becoming whole and letting go.’

Thank you, Andrea, xxx!

You can keep up with Andrea on: 

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Travel Tuesday with Happy Days Travel Blog. Andrea answers questions on her travel style, tips and favourite destinations to travel to.