In this edition of Blogger Diaries we interview female solo traveler and travel blogger Melissa Douglas from High Heels and a Backpack.
The Bloggers Diaries feature interviews travel bloggers, photographers and writers from around the world. If you are a travel blogger and would like to be featured on the Soul Drifters Travel Blog, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
MEET MELISSA FROM HIGH HEELS AND A BACKPACK
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a solo female traveler that left my corporate job in the UK in order to pursue my passion for traveling. I taught English in South Korea for a while, and now I work full time as a Travel Writer and Blogger. I like to push the boundaries of solo female travel and visit the places that many women would be deterred from traveling to.
2. What is your blog niche? What do you write about?
My niche is solo female travel in “adventurous” destinations – think the Middle East, and North Korea, rather than conventional locations (although I do appreciate a girly break from time to time too)
3. Earliest travel memory?
My parents used to take our family camping on the English coast when I was much younger.
4. One thing you wouldn’t travel without?
Hmm. My phone. Purely because I have so many useful travel apps installed on it like maps.me, couch surfing, and language translators.
5. Some of your favourite travel gadgets?
I’m not really a techy sort of person to be honest so I don’t really use a lot of gadgets! I’ve recently bought a Canon camera and I’m noticing a big difference in the quality of the photos it produces but it’s taking a bit of getting used to. I’d also have to mention my selfie stick too because I travel alone most of the time, and I wouldn’t have many photos with me in them if I didn’t have this!
6. Do you collect any souvenirs while travelling?
I like to collect handicrafts and Artisan products from the different places I visit – for example, in Japan I bought some beautiful ceramics from a local pottery festival, and in China, I bought a lovely oriental teapot. I like to decorate my apartment with things I’ve collected from my travels and then every time I use them, it brings back great memories.
7. Best travel experiences?
I recently returned from traveling solo in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine and I had the most wonderful time. People were concerned that it would be dangerous when I first told them that I would be visiting these countries alone but I had nothing but positive experiences. It was quite sad really, as the heightened fear of terror around the globe meant that there were not so many tourists around during the time of my visit.
8. Worst travel experiences?
I had quite a scary encounter with a cab driver in Vietnam. I was travelling from Da Nang to Hoi An and I took a registered cab from a reputable firm but when I asked him to take me to my hostel, he drove straight past the area where I was staying and then parked up in the middle of a paddy field and refused to take me back to where I wanted to go. I had to get out of the car and run for miles back to the nearest town. I don’t know if he was simply just trying to scam me or it was something more sinister but it was certainly terrifying.
9. Favourite place in the world?
I really love Seoul, South Korea. I have lived in Seoul for a couple of years and I think that it’s such an underrated city.
10. Best meal you have ever eaten?
My favorite meal is a Korean dish called Ttukbaegi Bulgogi. It is essentially beef stew but it’s extremely flavourful. The beef is marinated with garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce and then cooked in an earthenware pot with noodles and lots of fresh veggies. Yum!
11. Name 3 of your favourite travel bloggers
I really like Stephen from Unchartered Backpacker, and Joan from Against the Compass because they both travel to the less frequently visited, and somewhat obscure parts of the globe and reading their stories is very inspiring as you are given a different perspective on countries that the media does not always speak about positively. I also love Silvia from “Heart My Backpack” because her writing style really draws you in and it feels like she’s speaking to you.
12. If you could travel back in time to meet a historical figure, who would it be and why?
I’d like to meet Gandhi. He is so revered and loved as a peace maker. I can imagine that he had a very calming presence.
13. Top 3 destinations on your bucket list at the moment?
Iran, Kazakhstan, Bhutan
14. What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me that no matter what a person’s background is, and what race, religion, country or culture they are from, at the end of the day we are still people. I have travelled to the most off the beaten track places in the world and still connected extremely well with people that grew up thousands of miles away, in a completely different environment to how I grew up.
15. Favourite travel quote?
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”
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Blog: High Heels and a Backpack
Thanks Melissa for the interview. Enjoy your travels!
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*All images provided by High Heels and a Backpack