This travel blogger interview features Micayla Gilligan of Beyond My Home. A traveller who has luck in the rainy cities.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Born and raised in Southern New Hampshire, about 50 minutes outside of Boston. I’ve been living in Breckenridge, Colorado for the last two years, however I just moved back East for a few months, spending time with family and anticipating my move to Australia in a few months.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I guess you could say I am a bit of a random and spontaneous traveler. Sometimes I am backpacking, sometimes I meet up with my family in new places, sometimes I hop in an RV with a stranger or sometimes I just say “YES” to a free plane ticket somewhere. You never really know how I’m going to get to my next destination. As for Australia, I’ve got a work and travel visa!
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Well, I have a nutrition and food sustainability degree, and even though I’m not using it in the way many think I would or should, somehow having that gives me the confidence to get odd jobs wherever I go. I usually bartend or serve tables.
I’ve been known to sleep on a top bunk, as a 24 year old, for cheap rent, and much quicker savings! The best way to fund travel, I think, is to not waste your money on unnecessary items, such as really expensive coffees, too many pairs of shoes etc. I try to be frugal and constantly keep an eye on where the savings are at. You have to take chances with your money sometimes.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
That is a tough one and nobody has ever asked me that. I have travelled quite a bit with my family since I was young, but the first trip I took that really made me fall in love with seeing new places was in high school. I was a sophomore, and we had a trip called “winter session”. Every sophomore had to go on a trip. I went to the everglades in Florida for a week. This was also my first experience at a hostel. The community, the laid back feeling of other people just enjoying each others presence was magic. Walking around a forest with alligators, snorkeling with absurdly colorful fish and jumping off a huge boat into the Atlantic Ocean was pretty awesome too!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Dublin, Ireland and Seattle, Washington. Both places I expected to be super rainy and dull. Both of these places surprised me because they were so much more than I had imagined. Dublin is a beautiful places filled with the happiest and kindest souls, with accents you cannot understand because they speak so fast—trying to give you ALL the advice. Seattle, I was prepared for rain rain rain, which was the case my first time there, but the vibes in this waterside city are presently positive, especially at Pikes Place Market, where you can find just about anything you need. Think, favorite farmers market on steroids.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
One time in Italy, I was with a small group of girls and we got stuck at a train station very late at night, in a small “abandoned” town we had never been to. There were no more trains that night for getting back to the small Italian village we were living in. Of course, looking back on the situation you want to say you overreacted, but we had reasons to be creeped out. After calling a taxi, which seemed to take forever, we finally loaded in, but there wasn’t room for all of us. We ended up having to leave two girls behind, on a dark empty street with zero street lights. Fortunately the next taxi came soon. When we got back the cab driver made us stay in the car for a little while because there was a “lady on drugs” (he said in his broken english) circling the car and when we finally started walking up the stairs back to our rooms she started following us up the stairs. It was weird.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Funny now, but semi-terrifying at the time. One time I got stuck on an airplane, circling the London airport in a snowstorm. We couldn’t land because of the weather, so the flight attendants fed us free chocolate bars and wine for a couple hours.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I seriously try to find the best in every place I go to, because they are all unique. But, if I had to pick one place it would be that Bismark, North Dakota for breakfast. This “city” needs a good coffee shop and/or breakfast joint. I spent over an hour and a half looking for a coffee shop and a place to get some “real food” for breakfast. I ended up eating a “chocolate straw” from Starbucks. Horrible road trip sustenance.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Lake Como, Italy. I want to get married there.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I’m not one for making a “bucket list”, but I do have three things that I want to do in my life. I recently told somebody that and they said “Micayla, that IS a bucket list”. But I won’t accept it as that. haha.
1. See all fifty states before I turn 25 (I just achieved this a month ago!! My 25th birthday was August 2nd).
2. See a sunrise and sunset on every continent.
3. Get a book published.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Oh my goodness, no. There is so much to see, the world is so BIG yet also so small. The more you travel, the more you realize how tangible our world really is. Travel teaches me more than any course in school or any job ever could.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Writing. Thinking. Taking photos. Laughing with family and friends. Oh, and thinking about traveling.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Beyond My Home www.beyondmyhome.com
When did you begin your website Beyond My Home?
One year ago! August 2015.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I want to make people FEEL something. I want to make a difference with my words, inspire people to get outside of their comfort zone and experience life in a way they thought they were incapable of.
My Dad once told me “The best leaders are those who can get people to do something they never thought possible”, and that is what I think about when I write.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I have been told a couple times that I have a “whimsical” way of writing. I want to relate to people, I have no interest in throwing what I have done or where I am going in your face. I want to relate to everybody and make everybody feel like if they read what I write, they too can do what I have done, or even more. It is called “beyond my home” because I think we truly start to live our lives independently and in our most raw and true form as soon as we leave home, leave our comfort zone and go beyond the place we thought we would be forever.
I learn something about myself every time I go somewhere new. We are constantly growing as people, and constantly becoming more in depth versions of ourselves. Travel is big and independence and exploration are huge players as well.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Not yet. Coming soon, though!
Well, my writing and advice is what I have now 🙂
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Oh I think I am going to have to of with:
This is about a road trip I took, in an RV with a boy from New Zealand I had only known for two days. I quit my job, day of, and said yes to this spontaneous adventure. Worth a read, I think!
This targets four important reasons I think girls should travel alone. Life is too short not to take chances and learn a little about yourself, even if it is way out of your comfort zone.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I loved writing this post called “As Long As You Do What Makes You Happy”. Writing this involved a lot of personal reflection, I had just decided I was going to move to Australia and I was putting my life into perspective while feeling grateful at the same time.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I love road trips more than anything. Planes are great though, because they get you far away 🙂
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
JUST GO. DO IT. Life is so short and unpredictable. Even if you have a terrible experience, it is still an EXPERIENCE. I have always said that I want to be able to sit around a campfire with people I just met and be able to offer a handful of great stories to share. Travel allows me to always have that. Every experience, good or bad, is another story to share.
What has travel taught you?
Confidence. Independence. Happiness. Direction. Hope. Forgiveness. Gratitude. How to become lost and found, at once. Love. Health. How to be humble. The importance of meeting new people, talking to strangers, asking for help and helping others. How to trust the process. Karma is real. Be good to people and yourself and good shall come full circle. Travel has taught me more than I know how to explain or express. You just have to do it more, to fully understand its magnitude of its teaching.
Where do you feel most at home?
I honestly feel most at home in the newest place, with freedom echoing beyond the mountains or the ocean, wherever I am if I can feel the authenticity of a brand new moment in time, I feel at home. With that being said, being at my home in New Hampshire, with my family, especially during the holidays is a magical feeling in its own way, that I would never trade for anything in the world.
What do you friends and family think about your way of life?
My parents are usually taken aback by whatever adventure I decided to go on next, but they eventually warm up to it. They are very understanding and constantly excited for me. They tell me as long as I work hard and do what makes me happy they are proud of me. What more can we really ask for? I think my friends are confused sometimes. “How do you afford this?” is the question I get most often. But also, I get “I am so jealous of your life”. I just wish people would take more chances on themselves.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am not a fan of this question, and I tell people that before I ask them. But I also think it is a good one to ask. I think it is good for people to think about, because maybe in five years they will reflect on the answer they said today. Maybe things turned out way different or maybe exactly as anticipated. Either way, I think it is neat to think about.
I see myself, very well travelled. I see myself with a popular and profitable blog. I see myself confident and happy. I see myself changing other peoples’ lives, for the better. I am here to inspire and I know I already do that. I cannot wait to see things really take off. I want to continuously share the good that other people have to offer. I hope to be in love in five years. Right now I want to be traveling solo, but in five years I want a partner by my side.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Living out west it was definitely Frontier. Cheap and good deals. I just recently fell in love with the leg room on Delta, though.
Favourite country? I just took a solo road trip around the United States which gave me a newfound love for my own country, but Italy’s pretty pleasing to the eye, their foods QUITE ALRIGHT and man, the wine really puts it in a close second.
Favourite city? Well, Boston is like home but Denver also holds a piece of my heart.
Favourite beach? I don’t know the name of it, or if it even has a name, but at the end of “The Road to Hanna” on the island of Maui, Hawaii, there is this small inlet of a beach that has the most picturesque clear turquoise water, and the monotony of the waves there could cradle you all day and night. Just perfect. Oh, and the sand is the softest I have ever felt.
Favourite food? Apples. And currently I have fallen in love with Hope dark chocolate hummus. Please go try it right now.
Favourite language? I’m pretty good at English. And pretty bad at just about any other language out there. I can put up a pretty good fight in pig-latin. But in all seriousness I want to become fluent in French, it’s just beautiful.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? beyondmyhome.com
Twitter handle? @beyondmyhome
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/beyondmyhome