|Watch out: Sophie biking around Xi’an’s city walls!|
So what made you decide to head out to Asia?
I studied abroad in Hong Kong for six months two years ago and I loved every minute of it. When I got home I felt as if Asia was still in my mind and so after graduating and applying for jobs I decided that it might be good to get another language under my belt and of course Mandarin is the language in demand at the moment so here I am!
Have you got any plans for while you’re out there? Are you heading off to any other places?
Before coming out here I had massive plans to be abroad every other weekend but since getting here I’m just really excited and thankful to have made some really good friends here who I can just hang out and relax with. That saying we have a lot of holidays coming up so we are thinking of going to Shaolin to see some cool caves and there has been a mention of Bangkok which would be amazing to visit as a group. I also am thinking of heading to Shanghai next week to see an old school friend which will be exciting.
So, thinking back – when did you first contract the travel bug?
When I was 8 my mum booked us a holiday to Australia. Before we headed out there we spent months in bookshops looking at maps, guidebooks and anything else that would give us some good ideas to go. When we finally got there we had so many things to see and do and I loved the travelling side. I remember seeing the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and thinking ‘we are finally here.’ And I haven’t stopped travelling since.
What kind of traveller are you? Do you look for adventure or for culture?
I like a good mix although there will be some days where I sit at my computer wanting an adventure to Antarctica or a trip on the Trans Siberian Railway – that is high up on my list. But there are some days where I look at different city breaks and pine for a nice getaway to somewhere really quirky. Budapest and Moscow are high up on my favourite trip lists because of the complete contrast to back home.
|Visiting Moscow for the weekend|
Hmm this is difficult. Probably a good book, a notebook and a pen. I can’t go anywhere without taking my notebook with me. It’s always good to note down some things you have done in case you forget. And you can always have a laugh when you read them back years later. When I look at my travel journal from my first trip to Australia I laugh at how excited I was about food. I wrote hardly anything about the places I visited and more about what type of cake I eat.
What’s the best place you’ve ever visited that you recommend we take a trip to?
This is a hard one. I’m going to go with Hong Kong mainly because it was my home for six months and is my favourite city in the world – even beating London! There are so many things to do there, so many different cultures under one area and the outer islands are beautiful.
|Sophie living it up in Hong Kong!|
North Korea. Probably not the best choice right now but it fascinates me. I recently read the book ‘Nothing to Envy’ which contains stories from people who have defected from North Korea to China and South Korea. I read it three months ago and I still think about it every day. I want to witness it for myself and be able to tell other people what it is like.
Do you prefer solo travel or travelling with a companion?
I’ve done both and can honestly say I like travelling with companions. As much as I love my own company, I miss not being able to share an amazing moment with someone or having someone take your picture for you or help you when you get in an argument with a taxi driver.
Describe for us the best travel experience you’ve had.
This is hard. Probably my trip to Deep South USA which was amazing. I went with my mum and her favourite band is U2 so we saw them in Nashville the day after her birthday and it was such a good concert. We then ended our holiday in Orlando watching the last space shuttle take off. Everything we did after that seemed so insignificant. It was such an amazing experience that I think I may have burst into tears later on in the afternoon at disbelief that I managed to see something so incredible. That probably sounds really lame.
|Witnessing the last ever space shuttle launch!|
Flying. I hate it. I used to love it but had some bad experiences all in a row. One of which was during a flight in Australia where the pilot yelled across the tannoy “Everybody sit down NOW” as we kept dropping and I was trying not to scream. I tend to prefer flying alone as I feel I can deal with it better – if I go with someone else I tend to feed off their fear. Strange I know.
Favourite airline? British Airways all the way.
Favourite city? Hong Kong
Favourite book to read on holiday? Anything travel related. I’m currently reading Ghost Riders by Richard Grant.
Favourite drink? Coke Zero
|Sophie meeting the locals in Chiang Mai, Thailand|