This week we’ve got Penny from the Australian outback!
1. First of all, what are your website and social media links?
2. How did you come up with your website name?
A few years ago, my friend and travel partner Nathan Lake, suggested I should write about my travel and experiences. There is nothing like being told to do something completely new and totally out of your comfort zone -I thought he had “lost the plot” and was joking!
A few days later, I opened an email from him which said, “Now Write!” accompanied by a link to my new site which he had set up for me.
Nathan came up with my website name, Penny’ Travels – which is a part of The Travel Writers ; a cooperative of travel writers and photographers, which he founded and I was the first member, so I didn’t have a chance to say if I liked it or not!
Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to believe in your ability and then you can start to believe in yourself.
3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?
I am an older traveller. I have 4 grown children who work and live all over the world. I realised about 10 years ago, I couldn’t keep tagging along with my kids on holidays. I also realised none of my friends were interested in the type of photography and travel I like. I am not really into the 5 Star Resorts, cruises, and “shop until you drop” vacations. If I wanted to travel then I really had to find a little courage and do it myself. It was hard at first, everyone thought I was crazy heading off to Vietnam by myself. It was only after I returned home and showed my friends and work colleagues my photographs they then quietly confided in me, they thought I was brave and also wished to travel independently. That is when I knew there were other women who just needed a little encouragement. People are not born with a lot of confidence, it is something they have to learn, by trial and error. Taking the first step is the hardest part.
I hope that when women read my stories they will be inspired to travel. They don’t have to go to off the beaten tracks like I do, I just want to tell them that travel is possible and can be so rewarding.
4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation?
This is my favourite picture and is also the banner for my writing site. It was taken in Sri Lanka at a Buddhist Monastery. Nathan Lake and I heard the drums very early one morning and decided to check out where they were coming from. The local villagers were a little surprised when we stumbled out of the jungle to join them in their morning prayers. The village women led me by the arm and asked me to sit with them. We communicated through sign language about our lives with drawings in the dirt. I remember precisely what I was thinking when Nathan took this picture. That moment in time, changed my life forever.
Photograph by Nathan Lake OMG Photo.
5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?
I have just returned from Myanmar. Probably, every city and little town and village in Myanmar would have to be a favourite . The people are friendly and I felt very safe. The photography was amazing and I am planning on returning at the end of the year.
I don’t really have a least favourite city – I have travelled a lot and I don’t think a city can be good or bad – it is the people you meet and connect with, which make one city more appealing than others. I can find goodness in most cities because of the people. I must admit, I just hate the concrete, pollution and traffic of big cities.
6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?
The strangest things I have ever eaten were crickets in Cambodia. They are supposed to taste like crispy potato chips but my crickets tasted like old, soft, smelly carpet and their hard, black legs got stuck in my teeth. I get the creeps now, whenever I hear crickets at night. I am glad they are not my stable source of protein, as I would need a lot of dental floss.
7. Who are your travel idols?
I only know her as Ruth and she was on a train traveling to the airport in Sydney, Australia. Ruth was joining her girlfriends from boarding school, for their annual trip to the beach. I sat next to her and she told me about her life. It reminds of that scene from Forrest Gump, where Forrest is sitting on a park bench telling random people about his life and experiences. Ruth had grown up in the Australian outback on a large cattle station; her boyfriend had gone to war and she become a a nurse and went to Singapore during World War II. She told me some amazing stories about life in Asia during that time. I worked out after Ruth got off the train that she would have had to be in her 90’s. Ruth inspired me to make everyday count and to see the world while I could It also shows that people don’t have to be famous to inspire others. That day, I decided I wanted to be “a Ruth” when I grew up.
8. What’s your best travel tip?
My best travel tip is be polite with a smile – “hello” & “thank you” go a long way.
9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written? Please provide a link.
My favourite post would have to be “So Little Time, So Much To Do – Dust off your backpack”
This really sets the tone for encouraging woman of any age to get outside of their comfort zone and to travel and experience the world themselves.
10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?
Read a lot; experiment and eventually you will find a style you like to write in.
Write about what you know, and know it well. I often look at my photographs and can recall things people said, the smell and how warm the sun was on that day. I then use those feelings to write.
Travel writing is ultimately about your experiences..some people will like what you write, others will think it is terrible but don’t give up. You only need one person to appreciate what you have to say and that will give you confidence to keep writing.