Alternative title: Yes, I’m a travel writer and NOPE, I don’t feel like travelling right now.
I dunno how many of you know this, but I’m apparently a travel blogger. One with a decent domain authority (don’t be jealous of that distinctly average 30 guys…) who has been making a semi-full-time living from the job for about three years.
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I know, I know. So why the fudge haven’t I be travelling anywhere lately? And by lately, I mean the whole of 2017.
Well, it’s a number of things I guess but to cut a long, rambling story really short it’s this:
I had a baby, and I don’t love travelling with her
In all honesty, I didn’t mean to take this amount of time ‘off’ from travelling and when I was pregnant I had, what I can now acknowledge, were incredibly optimistic (read naïve) plans to strap Anaïs to my chest like an earth mama, and travel the world. On press trips, leisure trips, solo missions to Barcelona to drink cava and eat tapas, back to my beloved Thailand to dive with fish I can’t identify (despite that advanced fish identification dive). Yep, I planned to take Anaïs everywgere. I scoffed at Centerparcs suggestions (Moi? NO THANKS) and gleefully planned trips to places as family un-friendly as Nepal! Varanasi! Komodo Island!!
Erm. What a dick. Right?
Then I had Anaïs and realised that HELL TO THE NO THANKS PLANE RIDE. Although I got out and about a lot as soon as she was born, the older she gets the more challenging travel has become. Train rides are a bit of a faff, and the shine really does diminish on the once-thrilling Eurostar to Paris. And planes? I mean……they are fine. But watching a film is near impossible let alone have a free wine. So, 21 hours to Bali? I’ll probably skip it.
Travelling with a baby is fine. It’s just different, and it’s not fun anymore. I mean, it’s fun in a totally different way but I now understand why people give up and just do Centerparcs year after year.
I’m a bit over long-haul travel
This is a big one. My time is so precious these days I struggle with long flights where all you can do is think about all the things you could be doing that aren’t what you ARE doing on the plane.
I honestly used to love a long flight. The longer the better. I’d sleep, watch movies, get excited over plane food (yes, really!) But now I can’t think of anything worse. Plus — when you’re breastfeeding, any kind of travel means painful boobs.
So maybe I’ll do a little bit more UK travel? Well……weather. Actually, the one bit of travel we did with Anaïs I absolutely loved was when we went to Wilderness festival with her. So perhaps we need to do a bit more camping.
I don’t feel very adventurous
I think that because I’m a travel writer I’m expected to go to interesting destinations. Which, I think I do. I mean, they’re interesting to me anyway.
This pressure undoubtedly comes from me. That’s usually the way, am I right? But I always feel a little like I need to have a packed schedule of interesting trips coming up, both for work and for fun. Especially around this time of year when, as travel bloggers, we are all looking at our calendars ahead and sharing what’s coming up.
But I just can’t be bothered. For sure, I want to see new places and carry on with my illustrious travel writing career (!) but I don’t really want to be doing it all that often. I don’t wanna be away from my wee bean longer than I need to, and I certainly don’t wanna bring her with me.
I hate travel days
The more I do them, the less I like them and the more stressed I get. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the sort of person who believes that airports are where the holiday starts and you’ll never find me complaining about too much time at Terminal Five.
BUT. I like to get everywhere with LOADS of time, and that used to be fine pre-baby, but it seems to be getting worse now. The anticipation of arriving late to the airport because Anaïs had a wobbly on the train (never happened) or had a poo-explosion (has happened, not that bad) or we are all so sleep deprived we fall asleep on the tube missing our stop turns me into a human so tense you could snap me in half like a well-baked biscuit.
It’s all in the anticipation you see. Once I’m through security (I am so prepared it’s unreal) I relax and I’m fine. But that bit before is getting so unbearable it’s becoming harder and harder to justify a trip.
Isn’t that sad? Needless to say, despite these niggles I’ve got a few trips planned this year so watch this space!!
I don’t buy gifts, so please stop asking
I travel carry on only everywhere. Be it a two week trip to Sri Lanka or a two-day city break. So I don’t have room, let alone the inclination to find you that fridge magnet you’d love because you ‘collect them’.
If you want one so much, go get it yourself. Honestly, I don’t know what more I can say on this topic.
What are your travel confessions?
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This post was supposed to go live on WEDNESDAY, but I’ve had such a bonkers week I scheduled it for the wrong day. DOH.
That’s not a great introduction to what I wanna chat about today tbh, but hey ho. Since transitioning back to being vegan last year, I’ve been asked a lot about vegan travel. Because, as a travel obsessive (and journalist) it’s pretty high on the ‘topics I think about most often’ list.
It’s a funny concept isn’t it though? The thought I wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere because of what I eat. But having travelled all over the world I know there are certain places where I’ve eaten a meal and couldn’t tell you what on earth it contained.
Y’all know I’m not too strict, and if someone offers me a cuppa with cows milk I really don’t stress. But I also wouldn’t want to be accidentally chowing down on a baby cow while twiddling noodles round my fork either.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I have to think a little bit more deeply about where I want to travel to next.
Although I’m not really one for ‘bucket lists’ and I certainly don’t keep one (too morbid) I have started planning out my travels a lot more, because baby and because work is a LOT busier than it used to be.
Even so, I like to keep a bit of wiggle room in any list, so I’m hoping this expands to include a few more destinations by the end of the year. We’ll see 🙂
So, in no particular order, please find the vegan travel destinations I’m desperate to visit this year!
To be honest, even though I ate meat when I was in India, it’s one of the EASIEST destinations for vegan travel due to the sheer volume of delicious vegetarian food on offer.
In fact, it’s not even a ‘thing’ to worry aout finding specific veggie or vegan restaurants because you can essentially divide Indian cuisine into two types: North Indian and South. While the north is a little more meat heavy (except for cows which are sacred in Hindu culture), while the south is way more vegetarian.
I’m SO keen for a beach break, so I’m thinking of heading down to Palolem, a hippy paradise in Goa, home to yummy curry, cheap beer (Goan tax on beer is the lowest of all Indian states!)and SUN.
My hotel pick? Sea Shades Palolem Resort
I’ve been SO keen to visit Newfoundland. I don’t know exactly why, but I am just desperate to take a trip over the pond to magical Atlantic Canada…….because Newfoundland dogs, and because OMG poutine and hello, yes please it’s only a five-hour flight!
When I go I’m pretty excited to get cosy at the beachfront located, super cute White on Wood
I can’t speak French. (I know., I know….so I let the funky music do the talking, talking……?) But I CAN speak Deutsch. Sprechen sie Deutsch? Ja?
Then you probably long to sing Auf Wiedersehn and “Wie komme ich am besten zum bahnhof bitte?” too then.
Apologies for this aggressive, slightly braggy detour into my beautiful German. All this is to say I’m excited to take a trip to Berlin this year!
But I’d always imagined Germany to be the worst kind of place for vegans. All that sausage, y’all! Apparently, though, it’s a total haven for us herbivores! Huzzah!
I’ve heard so many great things about design hotels in Berlin I only have one choice, the
Hotel Zoo Berlin
From somewhere vegan-friendly to the country that eats the most butter in the WORLD.
Yep, France. I’m a Francophile guys so I can’t go a year without visiting my favourite country, and this year I’m off the Provence for a wedding (I love it when my friends get married in nice places!) and I can’t wait to see how I fare.
Paris was pretty easy, to be honest because, well, it’s a city but there’s also a burgeoning vegan scene and I’m excited to while away some lazy Provence days at the beautiful Provence Hotel.
Tell me, tell me! What’s your travel bucket list!
I honestly LOVE writing packing list posts, and I know that y’all love them too so I am endeavouring to write more of them and more creatively too. I’m even thinking about recording some video content around packing…..eeek.
Anyway, back to packing. Packing became really interesting when I had a baby. I used to be the ultimate minimalist packer, and even travelled the WORLD for over two years with a 30 litre backpack. But having a tiny baby means that, for the most part, you really can’t downsize like before.
Well, I couldn’t anyway,
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The main issue with any packing list is weather. And I find that this is never more annoying than in shoulder seasons in Europe. Hello autumn in Paris. Obviously I always check the weather, but taking waterproof clothing isn’t always as multi-taskable (not a word) as you’d like it to be. What you need is some hard-working pieces you can mix and match to your hearts content.
But I also had to factor in a few fiddly baby bits, and use the dreaded ‘just in case’……..because if Anais poops though all her clothes (and this could happen) I don’t wanna buy her a whole new wardrobe.
So here’s what we took with us,
If you’d like to have this list as a nice printable, click here and download one for yourself.
What to Pack for a STYLISH City Break in Paris
Europe Winter packing list – sequin t shirt
I always pack a couple of pairs of black supersoft leggings. I’ve also been living in my leather look leggings/disco pants too. They are perfect for jazzing up a simple outfit and are, essentially, just leggings.
For anywhere less than super hot weather, you need layers. So I tend to go mad on then! And because I have a muted, strict colour palette everything always coordinates easily.
I recently found this amazing dusky pink simple t-shirt with sequin embellishment and I LOVE it! I wear it with jeans and trainers sometimes, or with my black disco pants, denim shirt and either pumps/trainers or ankle boots. It’s so hard working!
I took my brand new black leather jacket with a detachable fur collar. SO dreamy and it goes with everything.
I also brought my stripy cashmere jumper (a bargain from ASOS White) and my new Chenille jumper from River Island, which was super warm, but felt a little dressy too.
I took a pair of black trainers, and some brogues too.
The only thing I don’t skimp on is with accessories. When you have a minimal selection of clothes, you need some bits and bobs to make an outfit feel different and special. This is totally destination and activity dependant I guess, but I rarely take accessories and find I haven’t used them.
Because it can be COLD with a capital C in Europe at winter, take gloves, scarf and a hat. You won’t regret it.
In terms of bags, I always take a roomy cross body number (either my satchel, or black shopper with longer handle attached) for the daytime — otherwise I end up having my DSLR constantly out and on show. Then I take a smaller bag for evenings.
I take various bits of jewellery (earrings, a necklace or two and a brooch) to jazz things up. And, obviously, gloves a hat and my big snuggly tartan scarf.
In terms of tech bits and pieces, I’m pretty minimal these days.
Since switching to my Olympus Pen mirrorless camera, I’ve revelled in how flipping light my tech bits are! I was on a family holiday, with no sponsored stuff so I only took my Huawei P9 phone and chargers too.
Since my skin cleared up post-partum I’ve been able to cut my beauty bits down to a few miniature pieces, and I honestly only need five pieces.
- Red Lipstick
And now for the big guns. What Anaïs needed……
Okay so here goes.
- Sleepsuits x 2
- Leggins x 2
- Tights x 1
- Top x 2
- Hoody x 1
- Socks x 5
- Fornessi Wrap
- Ella’s Kitchen Pouches (plus, she munched on baguettes a LOT!)
- Calpol, Bonjela, Dummies
- Muslins x 2, Comforter & Little toy.
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I recently took a whirlwind trip to Japan, a country I’ve never visited before but always been curious about. You’d think I would have made it over when I was living in South East Asia, but nope, apparently, we consistently avoid visiting the countries most conveniently located to us. Case in point – I’ve barely even been to Ireland.
So, travelling with a newborn eh – I haven’t been doing much of that, despite my BIG plans while I was pregnant. Who knew that getting out of the house would actually be a little bit harder than expected, and managing to adventure like I did pre-baby would be inexplicably hard? Oh yeah, everyone else knew that….
The first thing I thought after booking my ticket to India, was this: What do I wear????? I know that’s stereotypically and perhaps a little culturally ignorant but it’s the truth. I suddenly became catatonic with fear at what the hell I should be wearing?!