Strangers and People are the Highlight of Travel

Strangers and People are the Highlight of Travel

Picture this – a world without people in it. Travelling to other countries without anybody to see or talk to. Sure there would still be art and beautiful beaches. But if there were either no people there, or everybody was the same, travel would simply be dull.

Culture or language would not exist without people. Some of my favourite experiences while travelling have only been brought to life because of the people that surrounded me, even if they were just…. strangers.

I love photographing strangers while I’m travelling. If I see people talking in a photograph, I imagine what they are talking about, or where they are walking to. Watching people celebrate festivals or even funerals in a different way than I have only known in my own, “normal” life, is magnificent.

Here are my favourite photographs of strangers that I have taken during my travels over the world.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   

I feel that photographing strangers is the best way to reflect on your travels and really discover the culture of the places you visit. You can learn so much from people you don’t know.

Ten Destinations for the Solo Female Traveller

Ten Destinations for the Solo Female Traveller

I have travelled solo on several occasions. It is different to travelling with companions because you connect more with your surroundings and the culture and really find yourself.

In developed or the western world, being female isn’t an issue. However, in some countries travelling alone as a woman can be a problem. I’ve lost count of the times locals asked me where my husband was when I was travelling alone. This doesn’t overly concern me but there are some destinations I would think twice about venturing to with just my backpack. 

I have compiled a list of the top ten destinations recommended for solo female travellers, based on culture, shock factor, variety, personal experience and recommendations. These are also fantastic destinations for chaps too!

1. Seattle

  

the spire, seattle

 In fact all of the west coast of America including San Francisco, LA and Vegas. Seattle is popular with solo travellers because of the many tourist attractions which include the infamous space needle, Pike Place market, Ballard lochs, the great wheel and the many, many beautiful parks. It’s a fabulous city nestled next to incredibly beautiful forests, parks and ferry boats to take in the views.
2. New York City 

chrystler building and manhattan skyline

New York, New York. What can I say? With Times Square, radio city hall, Madison square garden, shopping, theatres, sightseeing and architecture, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, the city is your best friend when you are travelling there. You don’t need actual friends too.

3. Great Britan.

 

raglan castle, wales
 
With places like London, the New Forest, Cornwall, Wales, the Peak and Lake districts, Scotland and Ireland, you don’t need travel companions, just a lot of time to see it all. Castles and countryside, cities and lakes.. We are a lovely welcoming bunch over here anyway, come and say hi! 

4. Barcelona

view of Barcelona beach from spire restaurant

Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities and I would travel months here by myself in a heartbeat. It’s got everything anybody could want in a city; charm, culture, impossibly beautiful buildings, a stunning beach, great nightlife, history and museums and a huge selection of music and food options. 

5. Sri Lanka

 

sri lanka rice paddies
 
A friend of mine lived in Sri Lanka for many months, volunteering in a turtle sanctuary. She loved it, felt very safe and made heaps of friends. Sri Lanka is beautiful, has loads of gorgeous beaches and bustling towns and the people are very welcoming.

6. Thailand

 

thailand islands
 
Anyone who has been will know that Thailand is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world, not to mention luminous. It attracts backpackers from all over the world so you are sure to make friends to travel with. It’s vast landscape means much time can be spent city surfing or island hopping.

7. South America

 

rio carnival
 
This is very broad, I admit. But the countries recommended would be Peru (for Machu Picchu), Argentina and cross the border into Chile, Buenos Aires and Rio for the yearly famous carnival.

8. Bali

 

snorkelling in Bali
 
I had the most incredible experience of my life travelling Bali solo. It’s a magical place with beautiful people and indescribable landscapes. There is so much to see and do from white water rafting to cooking classes, riding a bike through Ubud, visiting markets or surfing.

9. Australia

sydney harbour bridge at sunset

Many Brits head over to Oz on a working visa and never return home. I can’t imagine why, with all of that sunshine, beer and beaches on offer.

10. New Zealand

tunnel beach, New Zealand

National parks, waterfalls, movie sets. It’s one of the most ‘liveable’ places in the world and attracts backpackers worldwide.

A Profound Experience in the Best Place on Earth

A Profound Experience in the Best Place on Earth

As much as I adore travel involving aeroplanes and culture shocks, sometimes the most profound of new experiences can be very close to home. Please be warned, the content of this blog may be upsetting to some.

I live in England and work in central London (on the ambulances so we move around a lot).

On a quiet night shift I was near the west end in London and paid a visit to Great Ormond Street which houses, in my opinion, the greatest hospital in the world. Great Ormond Street Hospital, or GOSH, is a hospital dedicated to sick children, be it appointments, treating sick children or palliative care, they offer a wide service and are proud of the fact they are one of the best paediatric facilities in the entire world.

The hospital opened its doors back in 1852 with just ten beds and was the first of its kind in the UK. The building has witness surgical breakthroughs and much celebrity support over the decades. The staff are so incredible and dedicated in caring for our little ones. They must face heartbreak on a regular basis but power through to provide support to loved ones and save those that they can.

When I paid a visit recently, I specifically wanted to see the chapel as a friend had told me how wonderful it was. When I walked into the chapel, all of my hairs picked up on my newly formed goosebumps in reaction to how indescribably moving this place was. It was immaculately taken care of, clean, thoughtful. The most moving part was that the shelves surrounding the edges of the chapel were filled with soft toys. I can only assume that each toy was placed by a heartbroken family to represent the lost life of a little angel.

 

Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chapel.

 

Soft toys in GOSH chapel

There was also a book where families had written down their prayers. I didn’t read them for two reasons, one – they were meant for God’s eyes, two – I knew the messages would make me fall apart.

Opposite to this there was a ‘thank you’ tree where families had written messages of thanks and hung them up.

 

GOSH plaque and thank you tree in the background

It was one of the most emotional and moving experiences of my entire life. If you are ever in this hospital, please visit this chapel.

To make a one off or regular donation to this hospital which helps to fund equipment, accommodation for parents, refurbishment to increase patient capacity and support research into saving children’s lives, please click the following link;

http://www.gosh.org/Donate

Thank you for reading,

Cuddle Your Globe

Malta and Gozo – the good, the bad and the ugly

Malta and Gozo – the good, the bad and the ugly

I was fortunate enough to be sent on an educational visit from the Malta Tourist board some time ago.

It is quite an outstanding country with a brilliant history and many, many tourist attractions to excite the most discerning of travellers.

We will start with the good;

History. (very interesting but if history bores you then skip this bit)

The history of Malta dates back to the start of civilisation and is very intricate. It seems Malta was the object of desire for many countries and has been invaded and ruled by many. Malta had a Neolithic period and the remains of temples, dedicated to the goddess of fertility can be found today. Traces of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Byzantines can also be found. Christianity was brought to Malta in 60AD when st.Paul’s boat was shipwrecked there. Some 800 years later, Malta was invaded by the Arabs who injected an influence of their language on the Maltese. It then joined Sicily and was also ruled by the Normans and the Aragonese among others. The Knights ruled over Malta from 1530 to 1798 and then the French had just two years to reign. This was not welcomed by the Maltese who actually requested the British to assist them and the Brits ruled Malta from 1800 until 1964. At this point, Malta finally gained independence. Ten years later, Malta became a republic and finally joined the EU in 2004.

Azure Window

 

This stunning natural landmark is probably the most photographed place in the Maltese islands. It is a natural limestone archway and is on the island of Gozo (I will discuss this more later).

The Beaches


I wouldn’t say that Malta is a beach paradise as there aren’t many at all, but they prove its not quantity, it’s quality!

Temperature

Malta is about as far south as you can get in Europe and nestled in the Mediterranean. They have long summers with a good chance of a scorcher from May until September and the winter months are usually a nice milder temperature.

The Medina

The historical fort remains pretty much untouched and offers breathtaking views over the surrounding countryside.

Valletta

 

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is insanely beautiful. They say it was built by gentlemen, for the gentlemen. Personally I think it is more beautiful, as if it’s had a woman’s touch. It can be quite touristy and is very vibrant. There are often events and festivals going on here.
Film Sets

Malta, for obvious reasons, is the setting for many films, most of the sets you can visit today. The most well known films shot on the islands of Malta include Gladiator, Troy, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Popeye (the Popeye village is a popular tourist attraction for families) and loads more.

The Beautiful Sea


The sea in Malta is famous for being so clear. This attracts divers from all over the world as there are some sublime dive spots for beginners or advanced. If you’re not a fan of diving you can head out on an amazing boat trip through the azure window, the caves and the famous blue lagoon which is water that is inexplainably, bright blue.

Chill Out Towns

 

If you hire a car, you can drive around and stop in almost any town for lunch and expect a view like this.

The Ferry

There is a public ferry service that operates regularly between Malta and Gozo and is very cheap.

Weddings

Malta is a popular wedding destination. The country embraces foreign weddings and it is far more simple than other countries to arrange, not to mention the incredible photo opportunities that are available 360.

The size

Malta is not huge, yet the vast amount of countryside, filled with towns and tourist attraction makes it feel so. You can easily drive the entire circumference of Malta in less than a day.

Now let’s roll onto the bad;

Tragedy

 

‘The pub’ is the famous spot where actor Oliver Reed died whilst having a beer filled break from filming Gladiator. Theories state he died from a heart attack. My sources in Malta told me that the real reason that Oliver Reed died was that he had ‘one too many’, fell backwards off his bar stool and hit his head, causing death. It is still a popular tourist attraction but in my opinion, a tragic loss.

The ugly…;

Beige

 

Literally, the only negative thing I can stay about this magnificent country is that Malta can be too beige. The buildings (despite being beautifully designed), the roads… Everything is beige and dusty. But even this has a silver lining. If you hop over to Gozo, it is a lot greener and prettier there.

Summary

It is a destination I would recommend to almost anybody and somewhere I would definitely return to.

To find out more, please visit http://www.visitmalta.com

Thanks for reading my blog peeps.

Cuddle Your Globe

xxx

Look Up More…

Look Up More…

I realised recently that most of us look within our line of vision to appreciate the beauty of a town or landscape. It occurred to me that this is cutting out maybe 60% of the actual view on offer and if we ‘look up’ more, there is so much more to be seen. It’s like you are seeing beneath the facade of what that particular location wants you to see and can appreciate the reality of this space.

I have taken some photos of a different perspective of towns and places and I feel that by seeing these, I have really seen the place.

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Homes and flats above the shops in the city centre, Hanoi, Vietnam.
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A stunningly unusual tree in Kerala, India.
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Flats and homes above businesses in central London, England.
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Beautiful art work for sale in Ubud, Bali.
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The white blob on the top balcony is actually a cat balancing on the edge, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
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The detail in the upstairs / terrace of this old house, Malta.
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The actual insane beauty of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain.
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Rooftops and flowers taken in beautiful Bali, Indonesia.

Hello globe trotters

Hello globe trotters

My name is Lou (Louise if I am in trouble). The main thing you should know about me is that I not only adore, but I live for travel. The rush of endorphins that I receive when I leave the strange flying room filled with 200 strangers compressed farts and step out in a new world is what gets me through each day. The possibility of experiencing a new culture or seeing something that I know I would never have the opportunity to see at home is invaluable to me and I feel that seeing the world has made me into the person I am today. From standing in a field with a kangaroo only meters away to a group of heterosexual males holding hands and being affectionate with one another because that is ‘normal’ for them; I believe that absorbing ones self into a different way of life is the best way to really live.

I have been very fortunate in that I have managed to see such a large part of the world already and have ticked a lot of countries off of my ‘list’, I have traveled for business, for luxury pleasure and have also traveled solo around south east Asia with nothing but a backpack. I worked in the travel industry for six years and am full of useful travel hints and tips from where to book your trip, where to go, what to pack and what to do when you are there. I recently read somewhere that the average person spends 7% of their time on holiday, so I think its important to fill this with the best experiences that are possible, but I cannot promise I wont try to convince you to stretch that 7% a lot higher! I intend to share many of my stories and tips with my readers so your travel experiences will be superb. Enjoy 🙂