Travel Stories Week 44
6 O’Clock Train
What's your favourite place you have visited?
I think my favourite place would have to be Taipei. I visited in July 2012 and it was my first solo trip. I was very excited but quite apprehensive about travelling so far on my own but I had an amazing time. I was there for a week and I had so many wonderful experiences. Taipei is a fabulous mixture of ancient and modern. The history of the Taiwanese people is fascinating. I learned to get by with sign language and a lot of smiling. I even learned a few words of Chinese. Although I’d already travelled to many places with my husband, Paul, that trip really inspired me to be more adventurous in my travels. I have very fond memories of Taipei.
What’s the best thing you have seen while travelling?
I think the biggest wow moment for me when travelling has to be the Forbidden City in Beijing. I’ve always wanted to travel to China so this was a real bucket list achievement. It’s one of those places that lives up to the hype and is everything you think it’s going to be and more. As you walk into the huge courtyards, the sheer scale of it is awe inspiring but it is exploring the little passageways that are the real highlight. You find a small museum display here and a beautiful cherry blossom tree there. The decoration on the buildings is incredible and it’s just steeped in history. Words can’t adequately describe it.
What’s your best travel story?
Inspired by Michael Palin’s travels in Around the World in 80 days, I’d always wanted to go around the world without flying and in 2014 we actually did it. It was a massive trip for us. We usually travel for 2 or 3 weeks at a time so spending over 2 months on the road was very exciting. Firstly, we travelled across Germany and Poland to Moscow by train. Our first overnight sleeper train experience but there would be many more to come. From Moscow, we took the Trans-Siberian to Beijing - all the way across a snowy Siberia without stopping. This was our first time in mainland China and we made the most of it with stops in Xian, Nanjing and Shanghai. By now we were professionals at overnight sleeper trains. From there we took the ferry to Osaka in Japan and spent some time in Kyoto and Tokyo before boarding a cruise ship bound for Vancouver. On board, we became quite famous as the mad people who were going around the world without flying. From Vancouver, we made our way to Victoria Island and caught the fast ferry to Seattle. Then we started on a mega road trip all the way to Florida. Taking in Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, St Louis, Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans, to name just a few pit stops, on the way. Finally, we boarded the Disney Magic at Port Canaveral and sailed for Barcelona. From there it’s just a couple of high-speed trains back to London. We did it in 76 days in the end. It was exhausting but absolutely amazing. I’d recommend it to everyone.
Tell us about your blog
Originally I just had a personal blog to keep friends and family up to date with our travels. Then they started asking if they could pass the link on to their friends as they wanted to share. So I decided I’d start a travel blog and reach out to more people. Now, I aim to share my travel experiences with as many people as possible and hopefully inspire them to travel more. I used to wonder how some people managed to travel so much and then I realised that if I planned and booked my own trips I could travel a lot more for a lot less. So this is the message I want my blog to get across. I think so many people are missing out because they don’t know how to start planning their own trips and hopefully, I can show them the way.
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