Today’s blogger has a wealth of travel experience and even been held at gunpoint by fake police! Please meet Char Taylor of Taylor Hearts Travel.
What is your name?
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Taylor Hearts Travel – http://www.taylorheartstravel.com
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m based in the UK. It’s an ideal base to fly in/out from, especially for European travel.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I usually travel every six – to eight weeks. Sometimes for a long weekend in a new city and other times for a few weeks, particularly if it’s a long haul destination. I’ve been a backpacker and have done a RTW trip, but these days I prefer more stylish, unique and exciting travel (without breaking the bank).
Where is your next trip?
I’m off to Madrid for the first time in a few weeks. It’ll be a whirlwind weekend. The flights were too cheap to not book.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I saved up for my RTW trip tickets and rented my house out so that I didn’t have to worry about working during my travels. That was a long time ago though. These days I have a full time job which pays the bills and allows me to have enough money to book a city break. For trips like Peru and Bali I had to save up over the course of a year or so. As a travel blogger I’ll sometimes go on a press trip or receive media discounts which allows me to travel a lot as well.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My dad took me to Disneyland Paris when I was eight years old. My mum and dad had recently split up, so he was keen to distract me with fun and happiness. It’s hard to be sad in Disneyland!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
My trip to Egypt was amazing. I’d heard lots of horror stories about the food and stomach bugs, but I ate the most delicious food (and a lot of it). The pyramids blew my mind, as did the huge museum in Cairo. I lucked out with the hotel I stayed in as it had only just opened. It’s probably one of the most beautiful, modern places I’ve experienced – 5* luxury. There were only five other guests during my week long stay, so we each had about six staff looking after us. It felt like a VIP experience. I practically cried when I left.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Yes. You can’t escape life’s little tests. Where to start?! I was dumped by my then boyfriend (and travelling partner) in Rio, Brazil. I had my bank card stolen in Argentina. I missed the only ferry to Ihla Grande (a small island near Rio) and had to tag along in a tiny fisherman’s boat during a horrendous storm. I’ve been held at gunpoint by fake policemen in Mexico. Do you want me to carry on?! I’ve had some interesting experiences, but I’ve survived and they make great stories now!
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Yes, lots of them. Most of them relate to the ‘bad’ experiences that I now laugh about.
Where has been the best night out on your travels?
Without a doubt, Iceland. Well, Reykjavik to be exact. The Runtur is all about Friday night. Nobody really drinks in the week, so Friday is a big blow out. The night doesn’t start until midnight and ends at 6 in the morning. It’s the craziest, funniest night out (especially if you drink the local’s favourite, Black Death).
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I don’t like to write places off and am always happy to give them another go. However, my experience of Prague wasn’t that great. I went in January and really struggled to find any good vegetarian restaurants, or even restaurants that had a vegetarian option. There was one cafe I trekked to – one of those raw food ones, which isn’t really my kind of thing anyway. I was absolutely starving and the cafe didn’t live up to the reviews I’d read.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Just one? I’m in love with San Francisco. I haven’t actually visited yet, but I just know I’m going to love it. I’d move there tomorrow! I’m visiting the city in December and cannot wait. Barcelona and Oxford are also two of my favourite cities.
Where have you recently been?
I’ve just returned from a week in Cyprus. Most people hit the beaches, but I spent it inland, visiting the capital city, Nicosia. It’s full of chic, arty coffee shops that wouldn’t look out of place in New York.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I don’t really have a bucket list, but I have a ‘must visit’ list that changes regularly. At the minute, I’m pining after Texas, Vancouver, Japan, Sicily and Athens. Let’s see what 2015 brings!
Can you imagine life without travel?
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Searching and exploring for…something? I don’t know, it’s a horrible thought.
When did you begin your website?
A little over a year ago.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write because I enjoy it and it allows me to share my passion for travel. Any money, friendships, trips etc are a massive perk of doing something that I love.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
My site focuses on stylish, exciting and unique travel. So many people say they’d love to see a part of the world or to do the same trips that I’ve done. They’re always really surprised when they find out how affordable and possible it really is. My site shares those travels, giving pointers and tips. It’s a photo heavy blog so it’s a pretty distraction too.
Every Saturday I share a round-up of the best travel competitions, so it’s worth a read as you might win that trip you’ve been dreaming about!
Do you have any products or services to offer?
I own a consultancy that specialises in business support and help for small businesses and start-ups, particularly in the travel, leisure and entertainment sector. It helps in three main areas; business development (including grant funding), social media and blogging.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Havana Club invited me to experience a Cuban night. They picked me up in a classic Cuban car and chauffeured me to a Cuban club, where we drank mojitos and salsa danced. It was a popular post and one of my fave nights.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I had the most amazing time in Puglia (southern Italy) and couldn’t stop writing about it. I have so many posts on that beautiful part of Italy, but this one is probably my favourite. It makes me smile every time I read it.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I love a big jeep or truck. It makes me feel like a real explorer. For getting overseas though, it has to be a plane just for how convenient it is. I love that I can hop on a plane for next to nothing and be in a new country in no time.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Yes, loads of them. I have a whole section on my blog dedicated to pearls of wisdom.
What has travel taught you?
There is so much to see and do in the world. There are so many lovely people to meet, inspiring works of art to see – every country, every city has something new to offer. It’s an addictive and exciting passion.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Virgin
Favourite country? USA
Favourite city? San Francisco
Favourite beach? Tulum
Favourite food? Mexican
Favourite language? French for how it sounds, but English for ease
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.taylorheartstravel.com
Twitter handle? @TaylorHeartsTvl
Facebook page? Taylor Hearts Travel
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/b/105012276669496167584/+Taylorheartstravel/posts