Today’s guest for an interview is Sara Hardman. Sara now lives in the south of England but has travelled extensively. She also went to live and work in Australia.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
Backpacker and weekend break-taker.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I have a full time job and use my annual leave to see as many new places as possible throughout the year.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I was a young skier. We had family holidays each year to these beautiful resorts in the Alps where my brother and I went to ski-school in the mornings and had free reign in the afternoons. I started when I was about five and have loved it ever since. Last year I spent four weeks in Austria and had an amazing time. It always takes me a week to get back to feeling really confident on skis.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Africa was very different to how I expected. As a young teenager I had no concept of Africa other than what I’d seen on Comic Relief. Kenya was stunningly beautiful. The sunsets over the Masai Mara game reserve will never be forgotten. The poverty along the journey was deeply shocking to me at that age and it was hard to reconcile this with the unbelievable luxury and opulence of the hotels and resorts.
We had a week on safari and a week by the coast at Mombasa and to this day it’s the most incredible and eye-opening trip I’ve ever taken.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I visited Bali by myself on a backpacking trip and was expecting paradise beaches and a relaxed atmosphere, similar to Thailand. It turned out that I couldn’t walk anywhere alone without getting accosted and having groups of local men shouting across the street, trying to engage me in conversation. I felt so uncomfortable that I spent most of the holiday in the hotel pool. Kuta was very disappointing and full of Starbucks, MacDonald’s and KFC, not at all what I expected and I have no interest in going back to that part of Bali.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
A little piece of my heart will always be in Australia after living there for two years and having some incredible experiences. Each time I arrive in Sydney airport I take the train to Circular Quay. When the train pulls in and I see the harbour and the bridge in lights, it makes me cry. I think it always will. It’s a place I just cannot get over.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Yes. So much! I have to see some of South America and I’d love to go back to Asia to spend time in Vietnam and Cambodia. I dream of a holiday in Bora Bora and I’d love to see the Northern Lights.
Can you imagine life without travel?
Never. I don’t see the point of living somewhere indefinitely just because it’s ‘fine’ or all you’ve known. I will always want to keep moving and to live knowing I’m seeing as much as I possibly can. Travel can work with any lifestyle or budget it’s about seeing somewhere new – you can do that in your own country with a day trip. I love the feeling of change and the undiscovered. I thrive on spontaneity. I lived in Melbourne and one day I looked out of the window and said to myself. “It’s raining today so I’m moving to Sydney.” I took a flight that night and never looked back. I need that kind of freedom and excitement to really feel I’m living rather than just going through the motions of life. I moved schools and cities a lot growing up and it’s very natural to me.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Sara Hardman Travels:www.sarahardmantravels.com
Is there anywhere in Australia that you wish you had a chance to see but were unable to?
I’m very lucky to have had two years there and I think I saw everything that was on my wish-list. Highlights were Uluru, skydiving over the Barrier Reef, climbing the Harbour
Bridge, swimming with reef sharks, sailing the Whitsundays, camping at Fraser Island and goat herding on horseback at a cattle ranch. Maybe I should have visited Darwin but extreme heat and crocodiles put me off.
Do you have plans to return to Australia?
Australia is a bit of a wound for me and thinking about going back feels like picking at a scab instead of letting it heal. I was so in love with the place and my time there and for a while I believed I would never come home. Making the decision to return to the UK and not to take up sponsorship was one of the hardest I’ve ever made. I see adverts and images of places I lived and it reminds me of a past life. It aches a little. It’s like a failed relationship which is probably hard to understand.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write for the love of it. I have always loved to write, from being a child – which is probably odd because you’d never find me picking up a book. I was a newspaper journalist for five years and still have a need to find stories and record them. I used to write a lot of poetry and song lyrics and I think this emotional use of language comes out in my blog. My posts are led by the feelings and emotions of a place, not facts and figures.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I think my site is different because it’s not another reference guide. If I visit Bangkok I don’t want to tell you price of the airport shuttle, where you can catch a riverboat or how much my hotel cost. You can find that out for yourself in any guide. I want to tell you how it feels to get lost in the melee of Khao San Road; how your head spins after two many Thai Bucket and how beautiful the city is at night when it’s just a blur of lights and the noise of a thousand scooters and you can smell the heat of the day rising from cracks in the broken pavements. I write a story that momentarily takes you there, not a guide that shows you how to get there.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
I love a good road trip in a car with a few mates and some great music. I once travelled from Canada to Miami with a group of eight people after we’d worked on an American summer camp together. I love the freedom you have when it’s just a car and a map and if you see something cool you can take a different turn and explore.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Singapore Airlines
Favourite country? England
Favourite city? Sydney
Favourite beach? Stintino, Sardinia
Favourite food? Pad Thai
Favourite language? French
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.sarahardmantravels.com
Twitter handle? @saraorsarah
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/SaraHardmanTravels