I’ve been back from my DTour to Europe for three days now and all that I was able to do and experience doesn’t even seem real! I have plenty of photos and videos to sift through and edit and have several travel stories and write ups in the works. I’m just barely over my jet lag and off goes Virginia – the second of the DoubleTree by Hilton DTourists! Virginia was nice enough to answer a couple of questions via email and I look forward to meeting up with her in Chicago next week!
Hi, I’m Virginia, 24, from the UK and I am currently living in one of the most astounding cities in the world: London. I began to blog about travel in Summer 2012 after finishing university, as a way to pass on tips that I’d learnt through living, studying and working abroad during my Gap Year and my Third Year Abroad of my degree. I studied Spanish, Italian and Portuguese so I have a particular affinity for Southern Europe and Latin America, but I’ve also been to Africa, the US and I spent 4 months exploring China and South East Asia. I realised a long time ago that I’m happiest when exploring new places abroad, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since! My blog, The Well-Travelled Postcard, is a place for me to record memories of places visited and people met, and a way for me to offer tips on more practical matters, such as how to learn languages, how to find a job abroad, etc. I also publish one postcard every week from the extensive bunch I’ve picked up over the years, to showcase some of the places I adore.
As I write this I’m currently flying from Johannesburg to Cape Town and this is my first visit to South Africa, which a friend of mine even called the most beautiful country in the entire world! I’m obviously looking forward to seeing Table Mountain and Cape Point, and as well as trip to the winelands I’m also going to brave myself to go cage diving with sharks! After that I’m heading back to London for a brief 6 hours before boarding another plane to begin my DTour of a Lifetime around North America! As one of 6 DTourists I’m going to be travelling coast-to-coast across North America for 17 days, staying in DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in 7 different places. Starting on the west coast in California and finishing up on the east coast in New York, I’ll be visiting San Francisco, Long Beach, Las Vegas (with a trip to the Grand Canyon), San Antonio, Chicago, Niagara Falls and finally NYC. I still can’t believe I’m lucky enough to have this amazing opportunity and I cannot wait!
3. What book, movie or piece of art has inspire you to travel?
The movie ‘Samsara’ is one that I think absolutely everyone should see. It was filmed in 25 countries in a documentary format, without any voiceover or narrative and you even have to play a guessing game as to where in the world each shot was taken. I saw it relatively recently but the filmography is simply mind-blowing and it’s a great reminder of just how varied and how special our planet is. Living in a big city, it’s easy to forget what’s out there to be explored, and ‘Samsara’ is a great remedy for that.
I used to subscribe to Conde Nast Traveller magazine but in the end I was suffering too badly from wanderlust, so I had to cancel the subscription! I adore reading literature from different countries, ideally in the original language if I can, so the author changes with each different country.
5. What is one thing that can always be found in your carryon bag?
A laptop. Sitting on a plane is the perfect time for me to catch up with my travel writing and to record my thoughts immediately after the trip. I have a prolific amount of paper diaries from the days before I launched my travel blog, and flying has always been a good time for me to gather my thoughts without the distractions that surround me down on the ground.
6. You’ve been given a one month paid adventure to anywhere in the world. Where do you go and what do you do?
For years and years I’ve been wanting to do a proper trip around Latin America. Despite having lived in Chile before, I’ve actually seen very little of the rest of the continent, and the Amazon in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina and of course the Inca Trail in Peru are high on my to-visit list. I will get there eventually!
7. What piece of advice can you offer to newbie travellers?
I would say ‘Get excited – you have so much to discover!’ If you’re travelling for the very first time then you’re bound to get a bout of culture shock at the beginning, especially if you’re travelling far from home. But please, please, please don’t give up and run back home – home-sickness is a natural reaction to unfamiliar surroundings and after a few days you’ll have recovered and you’ll be wondering what on earth you were worrying about! Apart from that, I’d advise you to ask friends for recommendations and try to stay with locals wherever possible – they’ll show you a whole new side to the country that a normal tourist alone will never discover.
Follow along on Virginia’s adventure!