Interview With Victoria Brewood of Pommie Travels
Please give my readers a background about yourself. What made you want to start pommietravels.com?
I’m 24 and I’m from Manchester in the UK. I graduated from university in 2008 with a Broadcast Journalism degree and just didn’t really know what I wanted out of life. I was applying for jobs that I wasn’t even sure I wanted. So by packing my bags and traveling, I thought maybe I would figure that out along the way. I decided there must be a way I could make money myself, so I looked into starting a travel blog. Since I’m British, Aussies always call me ‘pommie’ when I’m traveling, so that’s where the name came from.
In all of your travels, in your opinion what country has the best food? and the worst food?
I’m pretty good with food and I eat pretty much everything. It’s really hard to choose one specific country that has the best food, but Italy springs to mind. Their dishes are simple but they do them really well. Portugal also has the best seafood I’ve ever eaten- their giant prawns are the size of lobsters!
I didn’t really like the food in Belgium because I’m not really into fatty, greasy food and I was taken to a lot of Friteries where everything is deep fried and covered in sauce.
If you had to choose one favourite destination, which one would you chose?
That’s a really really tough one. For all-round adventure I would have to say Australia. It has such a naturally beautiful and rugged landscape. I did so many fun things there like skydiving, a joy flight in a tiger moth, 4x4-ing on the beach, swimming with sea lions in the wild, shark cage diving, hiking in the outback....if you’re into nature and a bit of adventure it’s a great place to go. I was surprised how many islands there are off the coast of Australia too, and they have such pristine white sandy beaches.
What has been the least exciting destination you've travelled to?
Milan. I’ve been there twice and I’ve tried to like it but I just can’t. When you’re backpacking around Europe, Milan is a major hub for flights, but I would never recommend it as somewhere to visit, it’s just not attractive. It’s supposed to be the shopping capital of the world, but when you’re a broke backpacker, spending money in designer shops is the last thing on your mind. I’m not really into Athens either- I only go there on my way to the Greek islands.
Did you always have a love of travel or did you develop your passion for traveling as you got older?
There’s part of me that always felt this need to ‘escape’ the UK and see what was out there. But when I was in high school I was really academic so I was career and money-driven. I went to an all girls school where taking a Gap year and traveling just wasn’t considered acceptable, and I was told that taking a year out would look like I wasn’t ‘serious’ about the future. So I went straight to university, but I was always planning holidays during the university breaks and I knew that I wanted to see the world. It was only after university that I really got passionate about backpacking and traveling solo.
What impact has pommietravels.com had on your life?
It has had a massive impact on my life. Just attending the blogging events and talking with like-minded people is fantastic. It’s really nice to socialise with other travel bloggers and have some geeky conversations about SEO and Wordpress now and again without their eyes glazing over! The best part about it is that I’m now living a location independent lifestyle and making money whilst traveling the world. Pommie Travels has allowed me to work for myself and avoid the 9 to 5, which I’m ever so grateful for. The blog has been a platform to showcase my work and gain other work in copywriting.
What has been the most surprising destination you've been to? Meaning, you had a specific mindset about a certain destination but it was totally a different experience than you had imagined.
Before I went to Bali I thought it was going to be this paradise island. I hadn’t done much research into it, and when I got there I suppose I was a bit taken aback. I was surprised at how chaotic it was and that the beaches in Kuta and Seminyak were kind of brown and full of litter. Of course when I ventured further afield into the more rural areas I found some nice beaches and beautiful green rice terraces. I lived and worked out there for just under a year, and unfortunately I had a motorbike accident, so I was kind of over it when I left.
If you had to decide which destination has been the most influential in your life, which destination would you chose?
Lagos in Portugal has had the biggest influence on my life because it was where I first decided I was going to travel the world. My best friend from university has a house out there, so we went to visit during the uni holidays. Lagos is a major party town on the backpacker route, and it’s really popular with Australians, so it was the first time I’d really come into contact with the backpacking ‘scene’. It really opened my eyes, and from that moment on, I knew I wanted to do what these people were doing. It made me realize that it’s pretty easy to live and work abroad, as many of the people working in the bars there are Aussies, Canadians, Kiwis or Poms. I go back there all the time, and I’ve made some of the best friends of my life in that town, so now I have people I can visit all over the world.
What advice would you give to a newbie traveller?
Go with the flow. So many newbie travellers get so excited that they research and plan things far too much. When you arrive in a country, you meet lots of people who will invite you to go and do things, so don’t have a really rigid itinerary. I think traveling solo is one of the best things you can do, because you only have to please yourself. My second piece of advice is to book everything directly from the source; it’s usually way cheaper. Doing things yourself can often be a lot cheaper than booking through agents and companies.
In 10 years, do you see yourself still traveling or slowing down?
I would like to think that I’ll still be traveling and working in the travel industry. I simply live and breathe travel. But I don’t think being ‘nomadic’ is something I could do forever, because it means I’d be missing out on a relationship and the things that come with a more settled life. The hardest thing about being on the road is that you constantly have to say goodbye to people- you make great friends but then you have to part ways. I would like to base myself somewhere and then take lots of smaller trips instead of constantly moving around. It’s hard balancing work and travel, so I sometimes need to stay put so I can focus on my online projects.
Thanks Victoria. Please visit her blog @ Pommie Travels