Category: Travel

Interview with TeaCake Travels

interview with Alice

Friends, I would like to introduce you to travel blogger  Alice from Teacake Travels.

Me:    For the readers, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

Alice:   Strong-minded, honest, inquisitive, straight-talking and in search of the next thrill, I’m Alice at Teacake Travels! It’s all about solo female travel in Asia and pushing your boundaries to reach your full potential through travel. It’s for the traveller who is on a path to find out more about themselves and test their limits but also for the armchair reader who wants to go deeper into life’s reflections and life lessons through all the experiences I put myself through.

Me:     What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

Alice:    What started out as just writing a piece for my friend’s blog about teaching English abroad quickly turned into an addiction to travel writing and promoting women’s rights. I always had it in my mind that I would write a book or make a zine but discovering blogging through all these ideas into one platform. I absolutely love it. It’s my baby, it’s real, it’s me and it’s proving to be a great resource for women to gain strength, courage and motivation to go out there on their own and conquer their adventurous dreams.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Alice peeking out from Cambodia

Me:      How do you fund your travels?

Alice:     Through many ways! I predominantly funded my travels for the first five years through Teaching English Abroad in South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. I adore teaching and get immense satisfaction by giving others the gift of English. Then the other things I love brought my money too. Playing the drums in bands, performing in Burlesque shows and now through Travel Blogging.

Teacake in Shanghai
Teacake in Shanghai

Me:      Which are favourite travel destinations?

Alice:   The challenging ones! I write about solo female travel in Asia and to date my most favourite country has been Bangladesh. The experience was fantastic because of the Bangladeshi people (possibly the nicest people in the world) and the food and the scenery and the architecture and (I could go on and on).

Me:      Where is your next travel destination?

Alice:     In July, I’m driving from the UK to Mongolia across 21 countries with four amazing women in 50 days to raise money for and document women’s rights. It’s all part of the Mongol Rally and it’s going to be one hell of a journey to follow. Make sure to follow along with us! After that, I think I’m gonna need some respite and TLC. I’ll be heading to Bali to catch some waves and recover.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Teacake Motorbike

Me:        What is it like to travel solo? Any tips for the first-time solo travellers?

Alice:       It’s the best! Please don’t be scared. This planet is awesome with amazing people and extraordinary places and if you want to find out who you are, what you want, what you need and what you want from life, solo travel is for you. There’s no better way to educate yourself on these matters. You’ll be challenged and treated to some life-changing experiences and your old-self will be thankful for taking the leap and deciding to travel. No one wants to leave this earth not having fulfilled their dreams. If you’re dreaming, seize the desire! If you’re travelling for the first time, check out my backpacking packing tips and build up for excitement and motivation here.

Me:         The best meal you’ve eaten anywhere?

Alice:         Kimchi Jiggae in South Korea. I’m nuts about Korean food. Even if I’m in Germany or made it to the North Pole, I’d go out of my way to find a Korean Restaurant.

Interview with Teacake travels
Motorbiking through Taiwan

Me:       Who is (are) your inspiration in the travel world?

Alice:      Women who do crazy stuff, strong stuff and stuff other women don’t do are pretty much my heroes. This includes Iris from Mind Of A Hitchhiker and Jessica from Comfort Is For Wimps.

Me:        Are there any books you read as a child that inspired your travel interests?

Alice:       Alice in Wonderland!

Me:       What is your travel motto?

Alice:     Grab fear by the balls, push your boundaries and reach your full potential through solo female travel. I use to travel for life lessons and to be the best person I can be by trying to learn from others and myself.

Me:        Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

Alice:      Setting up a blog is a bit of a minefield. I’m constantly learning new things and having to backtrack, making changes, chopping things up…it’s a never-ending learning process. I integrated Pinterest at a much later date than I really should have. I only learnt about SEO six months ago and I have a newsletter advertised but still haven’t sent one out! Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s what I tell myself ><

Me:       Name 3 (personal travel stories) setbacks that you experienced in your travels?

Alice:     Oh man, where do I start? I accidentally became pregnant on my first serious backpacking trip and had to head to Cambodia for an abortion. Whilst I was there I witnessed a death at a funfair to add a cherry on top of it all and lately, I had to deal heavy-handedly with a Chinese guy.

Me:      Have you ever faced a ‘writer’s block’? If yes, how do you overcome it?

Alice:     Hell yeah. I hate it when that block comes and trust me, it can come every couple of months sometimes. I love writing and I love sharing my experiences with everyone. Sometimes the ideas and experiences come crashing across the ocean with full gusto but other times tumbleweeds are rolling across the desert in my mind. You can’t force yourself to write if the passion isn’t there. I just wait, keep on travelling and try to experience my days with full awareness for that next story to come along. It always does.

Me:      Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

Alice:    Ooh yes! Travel Blogging is about 20% and 80% social media promotion. There’s no point writing a masterpiece if no one is going to see it. Get clued up on how to use social media and market yourself then use a couple of tools to help you manage all of it. I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest and Hootsuite for Twitter.

Me:     Any comments, suggestions.

Alice:   Feel free to pop me an email at aliceteacake@teacaketravels.com if you want to ask me anything and stay connected with the chaos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Things To Do In Stunning Switzerland

Switzerland

A Scenic Escape To The Magical Alps: Things To Do In Stunning Switzerland

Everyone has once dreamed, planned or even conspired for a Swiss holiday. Just like a star, Switzerland commands the attention of the eager traveler, is rather extravagant in its tastes and boasts of unspeakable beauty. Everything extracted from this wonderful country carries the luxury with it– Swiss chocolates, Swiss watches, Swiss cheese. Home to the Alps, the Swiss landscape has been the magical setting to many stories, from children’s favorite Heidi to Mary Shelley’s Gothic monster, Frankenstein; this alone should give you the sheer variety of views and things you would encounter here. No Switzerland itinerary can boast of having seen it all, but like everything Swiss, it can boast of quality over quantity.

Switzerland
Picture credit: Transformer18

Getting Around

The Swiss railways promise comfort with great views of the running landscape from your window. Various lines connect almost the whole of the country. Buses and boats are also great options. To make your journey easier, you can book the all-encompassing Swiss Travel Pass by Switzerland Tourism that gives you access to any kind of public transport in the country.

Places to visit in Switzerland: Zurich (Day 1 & 2)

Switzerland
Picture credit: Mariusz kluzniak

The most desirable city in the world, the most livable city in the world and the birth-point of art and music movements, Zurich’s multiple identities have coagulated brilliantly into one multi-dimensional, vibrant and chic city. It’s fast-paced life, lively night scene and more than 100 art galleries and museums, have all come together to make sure this city becomes the very first experience of the Swiss traveler. In fact, so great is its fame that it is often misconstrued as Switzerland’s capital (over its actual capital, Bern). No Switzerland Itinerary gives Zurich a miss.

Note: Get a ZurichCARD as soon as you reach here. It will give you access to the city’s railway system and some of its museums, trams, cable train and boat services.

Amazing things to do in Zurich

1) Enjoy a Relaxing Boat Ride on Lake Zurich

Boat ride on Lake Zurich, Switzerland
Boat ride on Lake Zurich        Picture credit: Thomas Woodtli

2) Enjoy the Aesthetics of Contemporary Art

You are likely to stumble upon a gallery on every street, but you should specifically look for the Kunsthaus, Kunsthalle or the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.

Picture credit : Kevin, Switzerland
Picture credit : Kevin

3) Enjoy an Evening of Opera

Opernhaus Zurich has an in-house opera, theater and ballet group that put up some popular performances in its elaborately built Opera house.

Opera, Switzerland
Picture credit: kuhnmi
   4) Cycle around the city

Zurich has the coolest service of renting out bikes for free! Take one and wheel off to some of its historical landmarks or just enjoy its routine beauty.

cycling, Switzerland
Picture credit: David Ron

5) Welcome to the city of Chocolate

From rummaging through chocolate shops like Confiserie Sprungli and Confiserie Teuscher to taking chocolate tours around the city, the Swiss Chocolate is a dream come true.

Switzerland
Picture credit: Yendor Oz

ACCOMMODATIONS IN ZURICH 

Zurich to Geneva: The Golden Pass Line

Golden Pass Line Picture credit: Simon Pielow, Switzerland
Golden Pass Line
Picture credit: Simon Pielow
Picture credit: Simon Pielow

Traveling between these two places can be made much more fun if you head to Lucerne, which is around an hour away from Zurich and hop on the Golden Pass Railway which will take you through exquisite views of Lucerne, Interlaken, Zweisimmen and Montreux. The Golden Pass is one of the most recommended railway journeys on a Switzerland Itinerary. From Montreux, you can take another train which will take you to Geneva in about an hour.

Places to visit in Switzerland: Geneva (Day 3&4)

Places to visit- Geneva, Switzerland
Picture credit: ITU Pictures

Describing Geneva as the world center for peace (headquarters to both the United Nations and the Red Cross) is somewhat an oxymoron. The bouncing, zipping, swishing, racing nerve of the city can infuse energy even in the laziest of tourists. The second gem of from places to visit in Switzerland list, Geneva outdoes its diplomatic image with its warm and welcoming markets, museums and natural landscapes. If you are looking for a good time, it doesn’t get better than Geneva.

Amazing things to do in Geneva

1) Find Treasured Souvenirs and more at the Plainpalais Flea Market

Flea market, Switzerland
Picture credit: Kevin Gessner
Mont Blanc, Switzerland

2) Take a Day Trip to Mont Blanc – the Highest Peak in the Alps

Picture credit: Kirill ΞΚ Voloshin

3) Chill at Bains des Pâquis

Swim, Laze around, take a massage or enjoy some brunch; sloth is hardly a sin here.

Bains des Paquis, Switzerland
Picture credit: AnaPaula.Andrade

4) Tour the United Nations’ Headquarters

United Nations Hq, Switzerland
Picture credit: Jack at Wikipedia

5) Gaze at some classical and tribal art at Barbier-Mueller Museum

 Barbara Museum, Switzerland

Picture credit: Lorianne DiSabato

ACCOMMODATIONS IN GENEVA

Places to visit in Switzerland: Zermatt (Day 5)

Zermatt, Switzerland
Picture credit: Atibordee Kongprepan

Zermatt is a small snowy village at the foot of the gigantic Matterhorn peak. It’s a humble and quiet destination away from the glitz of Zurich and Geneva. To be honest, this is a sort of a stand-by on your Switzerland Itinerary; a resting place before you, once again, get swept off by the vivaciousness of St. Moritz. Apart from being home to snow adventures and breathtaking views, Zermatt is also the starting point of the Glacial Express – the almost unmissable experience of Switzerland tourism.

Amazing things to do in Zermatt

1) Take a ride from the highest cable car station in Europe: Matterhorn Glacial Paradise

Matterhorn, Switzerland

Picture credit: ben d

2) Trek to Gornergrat

The view of the Gorner gorge is more than to die for!

Gorge, Switzerland
Gorge

Picture credit: CSaint Lin

3) Visit the Enchanting Glacial Palace

A chance to see ice sculpture 15-meters inside a glacier!

Glacier Palace, Switzerland
Glacier Palace

Picture credit: rumpelstiltskin1

 ACCOMMODATIONS IN ZERMATT

Zermatt to St. Moritz: The Glacier Express

Glacier Express, Switzerland

Picture credit: Mark Goebel

This is undoubtedly the most loved train journey in the world. It is also a slow journey, about 7 hours that takes you across the wild, snow-covered Alps. It starts from Zermatt crosses Davos and drops you in St. Moritz. This is your railway journey of a lifetime!

Places to visit in Switzerland: St. Moritz (Day 6 & 7)

St. Moritz, Switzerland
Picture credit: Valeria Viglienghi

The international ambassador for skiing, St. Moritz has become synonymous with the adventure, charm, thrill and the smothering beauty of the Swiss Alps. The point of origin for winter adventures, this alpine town has invited enthusiastic tourists, mad adventurers and pro-athletes and treated them with gorgeous mountain slopes and frozen lakes. Its resting beauty is complimented by its sophisticated infrastructure of some of the most luxurious and prime ski resorts, hotels, restaurants and galleries. Adventure and luxury know no better place to reside than in the cradle of the Alps, here in St. Moritz.

Amazing things to do in St. Moritz

1) Go Skiing and Beyond

You can oblige to the natural cliché of the ski resort or go for the adventure less taken with ice skating, kite skiing, curling, tobogganing, ice sledging etc.

Sking in Switzerland
Picture credit: pippawilson

2) Enjoy Alpine views from Piz Nair

One of the most beautiful peaks in the area with an operating cable car service and snowy terrains that once hosted the Winter Olympics.

Getting around Switzerland

Picture credit: Vasile Cotovanu

3) Get Inspired at the Serangtini Museum

The 19th-century Swiss artist, Serangtini is much celebrated for his realistic paintings of the Swiss landscape. The museum hosts his largest collection of artwork in the world.

4) Walk through Local History at Engadine Museum

Takes you from the modern to the prehistoric past of the local culture.

5) Enjoy the Calm of St. Moritz Lake

St.Moritz lake, Switzerland
Picture credit: trombone65

 ACCOMMODATIONS IN ST. MORITZ

To be continued….best places to eat while in Switzerland

SOURCE: Tripoto

Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson

#travelblogger Paul Johnson

Friends, let me introduce you to #travel blogger Paul Johnson.

  • He is Director at The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. – promoting tourism.
  • He has been Voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.
  • He is a Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine.
  • He has been Voted #1 most influential travel blog in the world in independent research conducted by Travelocafe.
  • He is also a Winner of ‘Best Travel Blog’ in the Travelmole Web Awards.


Me:  For the readers who don’t know about you, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

  • Paul : My name is Paul Johnson and I am a travel blogger and Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog (http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/ ) – I am full-time with the site, have been running it for more than 10 years and working in the travel industry for about 30 years.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson on a land rover trip
Paul on a land rover trip

Me: What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

  • Paul:   I love to travel and have long since had a fascination in all aspects of the luxury travel industry. When blogging first came along, the few travel blogs that were out there all seemed to focus on backpacking and budget travel so I saw this as an opportunity to do something different.

Me:     How do you fund your travels?

  • Paul : Travel is my work (as well as a pleasure!) so I work on paid advertising campaigns with travel and lifestyle brands when I travel.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson with family

Me:     How did you come up with the idea of writing exclusively on luxury travel? And, what is ‘luxury’ for you?

  • Paul:   It was simply a niche that wasn’t covered but where my own personal interests lay. You are right to ask what is luxury to me – that last bit of your question is an important point since luxury can be very different things to different people. For me, it is all about service – the element of surprise and the ability of those providing travel services to anticipate your needs (perhaps even before you realize them yourself!).
Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson
Paul at the Berlin Wall

Me:    It seems you are foodie with delicious recipes for your readers. Tell us about favourite cuisines across the globe?

  • Paul:  My favourite cuisine is Thai – I just love the clarity of the flavours and the variety in Thai dishes.

Me:   Which are favourite travel destinations?

  • Paul:  Although I love travelling, and have been to many amazing destinations, my favourite location is in fact home.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson and family

Me:    Where is your next travel destination?

  • Paul:  I am next heading for the island of Crete in Greece to do some work for a luxury hotel and resort there.

Me:    Name the hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

  • Paul:  One of the hardest things to do for me was to know when to ‘take the plunge’ and go full-time. I was already running a very successful internet marketing company for the tourist industry so it was hard to justify putting all my time into the blog. When Google made some changes to their algorithm that affected my other work, though, this decision was made easier for me. I just wish I’d taken the leap of faith sooner!

Me:   Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

  • Paul: Aside from the obvious of using the likes of WordPress and social media channels, I’d recommend Buffer for scheduling, SumoMe to help build your mailing list and Hootsuite for attending to Twitter.

Interview with Melissa @A Broken Backpack

A broken backpack

Friends here is an interview with my other travel blogger friend, Melissa from a broken backpack.

Me: For the people who don’t know about you, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

Melissa: I’m Melissa and I blog at abrokenbackpack.com.  I am a French Canadian who decided to go out there and move abroad.  I have been on the road for more than 20 months.  At the moment, I’m back in Canada to visit my family for the very first time. A Broken Backpack is a website about backpacking on a budget, long-term trips and moving abroad.

Melissa from a broken backpack
Melissa

Me: What was the motivation for starting this Blog?

Melissa: I was ready for a new challenge!  I love writing and I have a big passion for the World.  I decided to share my stories and my motivation with you.

Me: What are your favourite destinations? If you had to choose one among them what would that be?

Melissa: I really loved New Zealand and Western Canada!  I have a big crush on mountains! If I had to choose where to settle, I’d probably choose Australia.

Melissa from broken backpack

Me: What tips would you give others about hitchhiking?

Melissa: Being confident is probably one of the most important keys.  The confidence will influence your smile, your trust and your experience.  It’s all about trusting our feelings and to feel confident enough to leave the car if you need to.

Me: Since your blog is about backpacking, could you give us some backpacking tips?

Melissa: Pack light… and lighter… and even lighter!  We normally pack too much stuff and it can be tough on the road.  We need to learn to live with the minimum and keep what really matters.

Me: What do you have to say about traveling on a shoe-string budget?

Melissa: It’s possible!  Obviously, some destinations are budget friendly and some others are unfriendly (laughs).  It’s all about priorities, compromises and experiences.  Travelling is about putting yourself out of your comfort zone.  Surf on a couch, share a dorm, cook yourself, taste the street food and enjoy the free landscapes.

Melissa from a broken backpack

Me: Would you like to say something to women out there about travelling solo?

Melissa: I really do believe solo travel is the best thing I’ve ever done!  I don’t like to compromise on my dreams and on my wish lists.  Having friends and seeing them a couple of hours versus travelling with friends are two different things.  When I travel solo, I spend time with myself, I meet easily new friends and I enjoy the challenge.  I fell in love a year ago in Australia and now I’m sharing the road with another backpacker.  Who knows what could happen?

Me: Any tools you can suggest that other bloggers could use in their first year?

Melissa: I’m now starting to coach new bloggers.  I really love it.  I really think that success comes with hard work (and good content). But, we also need to work smarter (Tribber, StumbleUpon, Canva, Buffer).  Be social, connect with other bloggers and let your passion goes online.

Me: Do you have times when you wonder what to write next, ‘writer’s block’? How do you overcome it?

Melissa: Yes, I do.  I wish I could say no!  I always have a list of the topics I’d like to write about, but I always wait until I get the inspiration for it.  I also choose my battles and where to focus.  At the moment, I’m working on a different project at the same time, so I can focus less on my blog.

Me: Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

Melissa: Haters. A down website. Malware.

You need to learn how to let go, change the things you can and accept that you are not a robot… Well, I’m not!

Me:  Any other comments, suggestions, that you would like to add/mention.

Melissa: Don’t compare yourself and don’t focus on numbers… Your time is too precious to waste it!

Me:  Finally, do you have something to say about my blog ‘Best Places of Interest’?

Melissa: Your website covers a lot of different topics related to the nomadic lifestyle, which is great! Good work mate!

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