Today the travel blogger interview features Beth Gregory of International Play Girl. A traveller who discovered the down side of sharing a hostel dorm.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m from the UK
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’ve mainly travelled as a backpacker. However, I have just arrived home from a big trip, and now for the foreseeable future I will be making the most of annual leave and weekends by exploring more of Europe, until I have saved enough for another big backpacking trip.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Mainly savings. I’ve also funded a lot of my travels through working in Australia.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
When I was little my parents took me to Greece a lot. I can’t exactly remember the first trip, but going to different places in Greece is one of my first travel memories
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
The Thai Islands. I knew they would be touristy, but I think I was a little overwhelmed by how much of a tourist trap it was, and how much more expensive it was compared to the north of Thailand. Thailand is a lush country, but some of the islands are definitely not the paradise they are marketed to be. Having said that, I’m yet to visit Koh Tao or Koh Phangan.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Absolutely. I spent nearly $500 on a disastrous tour around the Whitsundays. I’ve had items of clothing (but thankfully no valuables) stolen. I’ve been scammed. I’ve been stuck in Bangkok Airport for hours after having my booking for a flight to Brisbane cancelled, without being told about it. I then had to pay out of pocket to get on the next available flight. When you travel this much, it’s inevitable that bad things happen, but I find that the good always outweighs the bad.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
So many hilarious things happened whilst I was travelling. One that springs to mind was when I was staying in a dorm room in Melbourne. A French girl came in at about 7am after a night out with a guy. They proceeded to have very loud sex without a care for anyone else in the room. Sex in dorms is something that pretty much every backpacker will end up overhearing, but this got so loud that me and the other people in the room actually had to start basically shouting to hear each other talk over the sound of it!!
It’s a good job it was 7am rather than 4am, otherwise that story would go from being funny to really annoying!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I didn’t really love Malaysia all that much. I don’t think it’s a bad place, but I found it more expensive than the surrounding countries and it didn’t really do it for me. Other than that, I really didn’t like Koh Phi Phi. I found it to be dirty, overly westernised, and so focused on partying.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
This is a hard question, there are so many places I love!! My favourite country is probably Australia, because I lived there and spent so much time there. But my favourite place specifically would be Pai in Thailand. It’s so chilled out, peaceful, and beautiful, with hippy vibes. I loved it so much I went back twice within a couple of months.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I want to complete my yoga teacher training in India. Another thing I really want to do some day is a massive American road trip, down California and through the Southern states. Other than that, I just really want to see as much of the world as I can.
Can you imagine life without travel?
No way. Travel has enriched my life so much. To explore the world brings me so much joy and happiness.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Well, I’m currently not travelling full time anymore, but I will be living in Bristol and working for a little bit. If I were to stop travelling altogether, I’d like to think I’d find something similarly fulfilling and dedicate my life to that. If we’re not loving what we do, it’s a life wasted.
Where’s your dream destination that you have not visited yet?
Definitely India. I’ve wanted to visit India for so so long, but when I first left the UK I didn’t feel ‘ready’. India has mountains, jungles, beaches, cities, amazing food, and a fascinating culture. It looks like a very colourful country.
Have you ever done anything whilst travelling that you hated?
I, like many other people travelling South East Asia, tried my hand at scuba diving on the Gili Islands. I really didn’t get on with it and felt panicked. I don’t know if it was for me, but sometimes I think I’d like to give it another go one day. I also tried canyoning in Dalat. I’m glad I tried it, it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zones, but some parts of it I actually found pretty scary. I think it’s good to get out your comfort zone, but I’ve also realised that just because ‘everyone else is doing it’ it doesn’t mean you should do it, or that you will enjoy it.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
My blog is called International Playgirl. www.internationalplaygirl.net.
When did you begin your website International Play Girl?
I began it in 2014 after a trip to New York. As a Journalism graduate and someone who has always loved writing, it at first began as a way to showcase my writing and act as a portfolio. Now, it’s my baby.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write because I love it. Writing has always been my passion and I suppose I do find it very therapeutic. It never actually occurred to me that writing could allow me to connect with so many other likeminded spirits, but through writing I’ve connected with other bloggers, as well as had better relationships with people I know, who have read my blog and resonated with my words.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Whilst I will write reviews and guides, I think the reason my site is unique is because above all, I write quite personal posts. I think my writing is very reflective and can highlight the transformative side of travel.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Not as of yet, but watch this space!
What are the next steps for your blog?
I know that video is an incredibly fast-growing platform, so I would like to try to incorporate more video posts through youtube. I’m not a natural presenter or videographer but I’m willing to give it a go. I also want to work on my photography. As a keen yogi, I’d also love to incorporate more yoga orientated posts, hopefully merging both travel and yoga. I do believe the two can often go hand in hand.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My most successful post has been a post I wrote last year titled ‘Me, Amplified’. It’s a very heartfelt post about how travel has allowed me to be my true self, to be bold and brave and not feel the pressure to adhere to the status-quo that society places on us, and it encourages others to do the same.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I love writing articles that are a combo of personal posts and lists dishing out advice. One of my favourites is the six things that travelling South East Asia taught me.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Train for sure. I find it’s a much more comfortable way of travelling than other modes of transport, and it’s safer for the environment.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
I think it’s great to travel spontaneously. Having said that, I think it’s really important when going to a new destination, to always take some time to do a little bit of research on the customs of the country. Something that may be seen as normal or funny in your home country, a gesture for example, could be incredibly offensive in the country you’re travelling to. A little bit of understanding of the customs and history of the country can go a long way. I believe doing some research of a country beforehand has got me out of a lot of trouble.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me endless life lessons. Above all though, I’d say travel has made me worry less about the little things. I’m less quick to judge, less materialistic, less irrational. I value living life to it’s fullest, happiness, and relationships more. Travel has made me realise how important it is to live our life truly and with passion.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Etihad.
Favourite country? Australia
Favourite city? Melbourne!
Favourite beach? Railay Beach in Thailand.
Favourite food? I love Indian cuisine. Any veggie Indian curry.
Favourite language? The Indonesian language is so beautiful!
Please provide the following:-
Website url? www.internationalplaygirl.net
Twitter handle? @InterPlaygirl
Facebook page? www.facebook.com/internationalplaygrl