Whether while travelling or living abroad I always meet people. People that are incredibly talented, interesting and warm-hearted. And even when we part, with no exact time line when will be the next time to meet again, the people I meet around the world always leave me inspired!
And when you get to know that they are as well travel bloggers, it makes my heart sing! There is nothing better and more satisfying than to read their adventures and when the possibility comes, hear and share their thoughts with you! I`ve called it “a traveler`s profile”. I hope that the people you read about here, will inspire you as they do me!
The traveller I want to introduce to you today is Shalinee from Life, Love & Travel. I met her some years ago while on an exchange program in The Netherlands. Since then I have learnt that she`s passionate about traveling around the globe as much as I am and, that she has an incredible blog! I knew that I just had to feature her!
With no further adieu, let`s learn a bit more about an Environmental Microbiologist, traveller, artist and a blogger- Shalinee! 🙂
Name: Shalinee Naidoo
Current location: China
– Let`s start at the beginning. Tell me, how you found love for travelling, what has inspired you to go on adventures?
My parents have been my inspiration for travelling, from the start. They’ve always encouraged my sister and I to see the world and learn more about what’s going on around us. Once a year, we go on a family vacation to somewhere new. Choosing a place to visit is always the best part – we sit around the dinner table and randomly list places. A few weeks later, tickets are booked!
Whilst my parents play a big part in motivating me to see the world, my love for solo travel first came about after living in The Netherlands for six months. I was there on a master`s exchange program and even though I learnt a lot academically, I met so many incredible people (including you, Aiste!), did lots of unexpected things and saw so many beautiful places. I guess you could say living in Europe definitely has had an influence on my love for travel. I’ve never been able to shake that free wanderlust-filled feeling since.
-Do you remember your first trip?
My first trip abroad was to the Far East, way back in 2004. It was the first time that I had been exposed to the wonder and beauty of the East but it was also the same year the dreadful Indian Ocean tsunami hit South Asia. With over 200 000 deaths, we were more than fortunate to have avoided it by a couple of hours. Nevertheless, that was a holiday filled with a really big dose of the unpredictability that travelling abroad can hold.
-What do you look for in your travels and are there any specific things you look for when you visit a country?
When I was younger, one of the first things I looked for were the tourist attractions. Now that I’ve grown up, I tend to look for the hidden unheard of places that are still unknown to the rest of the world. I don’t want to just see a place for a week, I want to live there and experience the beauty of the city and wonder of the local culture. As a travel blogger, finding hidden gems is definitely what I look for – that way I can share it with my readers and encourage them to also see what I’ve seen.
|Lantau Island Hong Kong|
-Is travelling stressful? What would you have to do to take all of the stress out of travelling for yourself? How do you handle stressful situations while travelling?
Travel can be pretty stressful, especially if you’re a young girl, travelling solo. So many things can… and have gone wrong! I’ve had my wallet stolen in Barcelona, lost my IPod on a train in London, had my luggage lost in China and caught a serious respiratory infection in Hong Kong. The best way to deal with any stressful situation when traveling is to be prepared. I make tons of lists before I leave and try my best to prepare for any mishaps that could occur.
When something does go wrong – and they usually do – I tend to freak out a lot. After a little panic and a good ‘ol cry, I call home. My parents are always on the other line, with advice to guide me – even if I’m 11 000 km’s away. That’s how I get through any stressful situation, even when traveling.
|The Great wall. China|
– So far you have lived in quite a few countries. Do you see that traveling and being an ex-pat has changed you?
Living abroad has definitely influenced the person I’ve become. I’d like to believe that I’ve developed a somewhat global view of the world. There’s a big difference between just vacationing and actually living in a country. Being an ex-pat has allowed me to completely submerge myself in new cultures and that has allowed me to better understand peoples actions, customs and beliefs and of course their country. I’ve learnt a lot about my own country too, from just listening to what people have to say. It’s definitely made me more aware of what’s going on around me.
-Have your friends noticed the changes in you and how do they feel about it?
It doesn’t matter where in the world I am, my girls are what keep me going. They love travelling just as much as I do and they love hearing about my adventures, just as much as I love sharing my stories. When I get back from a trip, we usually clear a day out of our schedules for a ‘coffee date’ which inevitably turns into lunch and lasts from anywhere between 3 – 6 hours. We talk… and talk… and talk…. sharing new travel stories and reminiscing about old adventures, how far we’ve come and all the heartbreaks and heartaches. Oh how I miss them!
-While living abroad, did you pick up some strange/random habits that you still use/do now?
If there’s one thing I still haven’t been able to shake after living in The Netherlands, it’s being direct. The Dutch are known for saying exactly what they need and want and I’ve loved that about them entirely because it’s just so to the point. I still hear myself sometimes saying to people mid-sentence, “Ya! Ya! Ya!” because I already know what they’re going to say. I also haven’t been able to shake my craving for a good piece of Dutch apple pie since. Some of the girls and I even have a secret Pinterest board dedicated to finding the best apple pie recipe. Oops! Don’t tell them I told you!
Currently I’m living in China and I’m afraid I’ve already picked up one too many Chinese habits which are going to shock many people when I get home. The culture and customs are very different here – people don’t follow queues, they chew with their mouth open and almost always have a two hour nap in the middle of the day. I can’t say I’ve picked up on all those habits but some have definitely stuck. The language here is very simplified too. There are no separate words for ‘he’ or ‘she’ in mandarin and there’s pretty much one word for ‘don’t want’, ‘don’t have’ and ‘don’t need’. As a result I’ve become a bit lazy and sometimes stick a few Chinese words in my English sentences to shorten them now!
-Any survival tips/tricks for travellers?
Whilst we can never really predict if and when something will go wrong, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Have back-up copies of all important documents, including electronic versions just in case. Never put all your money in one place either. If it gets stolen, then you’re going to be stranded. It’s a good idea to break it up in batches and keep them in separate compartments. Keep a secret stash in a completely different place too – maybe rolled up in an old lip gloss container or hidden in a pair of socks. Always carry an emergency medical kit with basics like aspirin, something for insect bites and a bronchodilator, especially if you’re travelling to the East or poorer countries. Finding western medication is near impossible.
– What 5 things are an absolute must for you while travelling?
Five things that I never leave home without are:
1. My sketchpad and pencils. I have so many of these and I’m always buying new ones when I travel. I love taking some time out on my trips to draw something from the city I’m visiting. It relaxes me and gives me something different to remember it by.
2. Chocolate. I can’t live without chocolate. I have to have chocolate in my bag. I need to find local chocolate when I get there. It’s imperative to my survival.
3. Emergency medical kit and travel insurance. You never know when something is going to go wrong. After catching two respiratory infections in Southern China, visiting local doctors and trying Chinese medication with no English labels (which did cure me) – I now will always have an emergency medical kit in my luggage. You never know when you’ll need it.
4. Notebook, laptop and camera. As a travel blogger, these are essential items. Whether I’m sitting at the airport, on a beach or in a hotel room – I’m always making notes and writing things down.
5. A pair of heels, a little black dress and a gorgeous handbag.Travelling means you’re going to meet lots of new people… and you’ll never know when you’ll be invited for something pretty!
I hope you enjoyed reading our little collaboration and you got to understand what a wonderful blogger Shalinee is! I strongly suggest you to go ahead to her website on Life, Love & Travel to find out what she`s has been up to and show her some love! Don`t forget to subscribe!
Here is some more information on Shalinee:
P.S. Please also let me know if you enjoyed the collaboration! Let me know what would you like to read about next or who should I feature?