Today on World Travellers I’m pleased to bring the first New Zealander to the series, Alaina McGregor who runs Jandals and a Backpack. Her stories come from far and wide as she recounts some amazing travel memories…
Who are you?
Where are you from?
Auckland, New Zealand
Where have you been?
I’ve travelled through 40 countries around Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and North America.
Where are you now?
I just moved to Sydney, Australia after backpacking for almost a year. I need to save some more pennies and learn to cope with my post-travel depression.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
This is always a tough question. India would definitely be up there – there’s a good reason why I have spent six months there on three separate occasions. On my most recent trip, Bosnia was a surprising highlight and Tanzania was absolutely unbelievable. The safaris at Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti were spectacular and Zanzibar Island is the most beautiful tropical paradise I’ve been to.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
I spent two months volunteering for a children’s charity in India this year. The Educators Trust work to provide a childhood and education to slum children and the impact these children had on me was profound. What I took away from that experience will stay with me forever and I want to do more to help them in the future.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
All of my India transport fails. Just when you think you have successfully navigated the complex system you miss your train stop, tickets sell out and you’re stuck somewhere for five days, a local tells you to get on the wrong train or your bus breaks down in the middle of windy mountain pass at night. It’s endless but all part of the experience!
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
Far too many to count. My tour leader told off for laughing too much on my overland tour through Africa. Laughter makes travel better.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
Getting my new SLR camera ripped off my shoulders by motorbike thieves in Ho Chi Minh city on the very first day of a year-long backpacking trip last year was more annoying than anything. Making a police report was painful but thank god for travel insurance! Getting attacked and mugged in London by three girls after I had only been living there a month was pretty traumatizing.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
Not so much a job but I de-liced 45 children over two days while volunteering in India. And yes…..I did get nits……three times over the course of my placement.
How do you fund your travels?
Saving, saving and trying to sacrifice wine money for the greater good.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
· Don’t be afraid to live out your dreams if they don’t match up with your friend’s. Solo travel is rewarding and you’ll rarely spend much time by yourself
· However if you do find a good friend that you travel well together with, hold on to them! I have so many amazing memories thanks to some incredible people in my life who I am lucky to have travelled seamlessly with
· Get travel insurance! And always look under your bed and train/bus seat. The amount of things I have lost or left behind is ridiculous!
What are your future travel plans?
I have just moved to Sydney so am looking forward to seeing more of Australia. My big travel plans for next year are to go the Gili Islands in Indonesia, running the Berlin Marathon and hopefully popping over to Turkey while I’m up in that part of the world. Hopefully South America in the coming years!
Alaina is a girl who counts hefting her backpack around the globe as part of her regular fitness regime. She has a passion for exploring the world, sampling locals beers in every country, accruing passport stamps (take that EU passport holders!) and likes to share her tips for backpacking on a budget on her site Jandals and a Backpack.
Thanks to Alaina from Jandals and a Backpack for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!