It’s Travel Blogger Thursday! This week, we interview Anna of the travel blog, Slightly Astray. Anna has quit her job to fulfill her dreams of traveling the world, and has been to places throughout North America, South America, and Europe. She travels with her boyfriend, Daniel.
What inspires you to travel and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
Daniel and I were first inspired to travel when we were researching for a vacation, and instead came across a travel blog (I honestly didn’t even know those things existed then), and then discovered SO many more. I was just AMAZED at how these were normal people like us, but they were so brave and turned their ordinary lives into extraordinary lives. Daniel realized that he can do the same and work off a laptop from anywhere in the world too. After he has made up his mind, I just had to decide if I wanted to go with him…. and I guess the rest is history…. err, or documented on my blog!
I really enjoy learning about other cultures… their national foods, traditional music/dances, customs, even listening to their language, etc. I find it all to be so interesting! And of course, most of all, we like to eat! I love that traveling is making me more open-minded about trying things that look weird or different.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
I actually think about this question all the time, in the sense of which place is the most livable, should we want to expatriate at some point! I loved Uruguay so much because it’s a small city with a relaxed feel and right on the water. But it’s way too expensive to live there on a reasonable budget. So I would have to say that I still really love Santiago for the reason that it’s so extremely livable. Delicious full meals from the market for under $4? Yes! Comprehensive and cheap transportation? Yes! World famous wine? Super friendly locals? Yes and yes! And I love that the city is made up of many barrios (neighborhoods) and all are different from each other, so you won’t get bored. And Santiago would be a good base for exploring ALL of Chile, from the north all the way down to Patagonia.
When did you start to travel, and where did you first visit?
We started our adventures on April 1, 2014! We settled on visiting South America first, mainly because we had already bought our plane tickets for a summer in Europe, and needed somewhere else to go before that (we didn’t want to wait until July to start traveling!). A lot of the other countries we considered weren’t the optimal season for visiting. So finally, we said South America, since it would be autumn down there. And plus, Daniel had been interested in Chile for quite some time. So Santiago was decided! And from there, we visited Buenos Aires because I was convinced that I’d love it (I didn’t), and then Uruguay because it was only a boat ride away from BA.
Why did you start your blog, and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
Ok, I’m going to be really honest here, and say that I started a blog because I hoped to eventually make money from it. Quitting my job to travel wasn’t my idea and I was worried about no longer having an income source. And plus my parents were freaking out about that too. So I guess I “felt pressured” to find another way to make money. Obviously, I’m doing a really bad job at that, haha! But honestly, since getting more involved in the travel blogging community, that’s no longer my main concern, because I’m having so much fun now interacting with other bloggers (and I really hope to develop some great friendships from it!). And now, I realized that blogging is a way for us to remember our experiences more than anything. We really do love reading through old posts and remembering all that we saw/ate!
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
I have to be cliché and say that I mostly collect pictures and memories and immortalize them on my blog. But! I do have a small collection of owl figurines from my travels, made from the country’s specialty material or design. Among my favorite ones are: a little owl from China made from the local red clay with the traditional intricate carvings, and one from Chile carved out of the special lapis lazuli blue stone. Most recently, I added a fluffy owl from London of Hedwig from the Harry Potter series. It made me really happy for the fact that it’s from Platform 9-3/4 in King’s Cross Station because I’m a super nerd like that!
Do you know of any places that you’ve visited that have great vegetarian or vegan food?
Oh gosh, this is a hard one. We’re both carnivores and typically seek out all the meaty eats. I guess the best bet would be Asian cuisine, because they typically have a lot vegetarian dishes. Vegetables actually seem to be an important part of their diet, unlike many other countries (like South America! Where vegetables make up approximately 1% of the diet). I’m actually incredibly surprised by how much Asian food there is in Europe! For some reason, I didn’t expect that. And there seems to be a lot of vegetarian restaurants too. So it’s definitely very easy to eat vegetarian/vegan in Europe!
Where do you plan on visiting next?
We’re currently making our way through Europe this summer, and after that, we’re returning home to Southern California for a few weeks before heading off to…. Southeast Asia on a one-way ticket! I’m so excited for it because I’ve never been to that part of the world and I absolutely LOVE all the food from that region. And I’m also looking forward to getting away from huge cities and being closer to nature there (hopefully!). And our wallets will be happy too for the break. But I must admit that I’m also really nervous about it because obviously, I’m used to the western world comforts. (Confession: I’m terrified of squat toilets.) I guess it’ll be a true getting-out-of-my-comfort-zone experience!!
Thank you so much, Anna! We can’t wait to read about your upcoming travels and see what happen as you work your way across Europe and Southeast Asia! You can check out Anna’s blog at Slightly Astray and follow along on social media:
Every Thursday, we’re going to be featuring a fellow travel blogger and highlighting their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.