It’s no secret that here at SewaFolie we love to travel. So when we met Mary and learned that we had similar passions for travelling the world on a friendly budget, we had to speak with her to learn more about her voyages, as well as her super tips and tricks to travelling to awesome destinations without breaking the bank.
While travelling might be a luxury for some, for others who would love to on a budget, it needn’t be and this awesome millennial shows us how.
S: Please introduce yourself!
M: Hi all, I’m Mary. I’m a full time tea connoisseur, avid reader and a part time wayfarer. When I’m at my ‘cubicle’, I’m day dreaming and strategically planning my next holiday. I’m not a beach bum but spend hours on end researching the best beach for my nanoseconds ‘me’ time, before wandering off to discover what the new city has to offer. I love good food, good wine and good company. I love how travel puts things into perspective – University of hard knock life!
My interest varies. When I’m not at an event in London, I’m elsewhere on the face of this earth butchering a beautiful language.
S: Where was the first place you travelled to?
M: My first travel without family was to the party island of Magaluf, Palma de Mallorca. The holiday package was under £100, I couldn’t resist so I bought it for myself as a graduation gift. I went with a friend who is the life of the party.
From the 2 Euro Tequila that had us rolling on our first night, to the very last BCM party, Magaluf was nothing short of amazing.
S: Where was the first place you travelled to alone, and why did you go alone?
M: My first solo travel was to Brussels, Belgium. I lived alone in Edinburgh, was yet to make new friends and my friends were in different parts of the continent. I got clicky happy with the £32 flight ticket. I was afraid the ticket price would increase, so I had a “Just do it” attitude; I did this hoping a friend would tag along. However, the date wasn’t feasible for others, so Me, Myself, and I explored Brussels.
S: What inspires you to travel the world?
M: The world is beautiful and each unfamiliar environment feeds my curiosity. Life can get very repetitive, boring and sometimes ‘empty’. I feel My inspiration to travel stems from my childhood, mostly from visiting relatives in other cities.
My sister and I spent our summer holidays in the countryside in Ireland, I cherish those days forever. We were so free, there was great element of trust between the neighbours; everything was different from the city. I experienced life in a different way in the same country.
I’m inspired to travel for the beautiful memories and the experience – they are nothing short of beautiful.
S: Was this passion fuelled by anything in particular?
M: I’ve moved around quite a bit, but my passion for travel wasn’t fuelled by a particular event or individual. However from my childhood, I loved reading facts about different countries. I loved checking up the capital cities for countries that caught my attention.
We had a book of facts in primary school, it was packed with cultural facts- I was intrigued by it and my borrowed copy never made its way back to school. I was also active on Yahoo Answers answering questions from Expats looking to move to Dublin. Even though I was 14/15 at the time, I think I did a great job answering some of their rather ‘adult’ questions. I spent half of my life in college wishing I could travel. Though limited by resources, I never passed up opportunity to explore Ireland.
To travel has always being a part of being me.
S: What are your top 3 trips so far?
- Bagan, Myanmar: Biking around the Magical city of Bagan.
- Budapest, Hungary: Budapest is my new found Bangkok (weather permitting). The city is buzzing with street food, affordable drinks, outdoor foot pool. What’s not to love? Also, Bathing in the thermal baths with charming grannies was the highlight for me.
- Verona, Italy: I love this Italy- food, history and culture. And it’s so near (Hello again, Ryanair)
S: Have you ever been hesitant about travelling to a particular place on your own?
M: I was hesitant about going to Myanmar alone simply because it can be politically unstable and also infrastructure isn’t great by most standards. However, I overcame this by reaching out to other female travellers (thanks Instagram) who’d recently visited the country. I decided to take things I had heard with a pinch of salt as there are quite a few tattler tales out there.
S: Is there any place in the world you’d never travel to?
M: I can’t think of any, but being a Libra- lover of all things ‘Justice’ (i use this word carefully as the word is quite convoluted), I’d have reservations about visiting places where there are true injustices such as the killings in West Papa New Guinea, Saudi Arabia (inequality rights) and Dominican Republic (Cultural cleansing).
S: If you had a month to see any parts of the world where would you go and why?
M: I would go to Africa. The continent is so vast and has so much undisputable natural beauty. The images thrown at me on Pinterest and Google has me urging to see more of the continent. Africa is underrated and it’s sad that it’s so. I’d love to go to Africa not because it’s my roots, but because the beauty of the continent is second to none.
From the stunning Northern desert, the Pyramids in Egypt, the islands in West and East Africa, and then moving down south to the incredible wild life. The continent has rich culture, history, and with food to choose from 52 countries- I’d never go a day without smiling.
S: What do your family think about your adventures?
M: My family are supportive of me, although they think I need rehab as I’m obviously addicted at this rate. My mum loves that I’m doing what I love and YOLO!
S: Do you feel there are any perceptions of a young Black female travelling alone?
M: Not in particular, but in some countries like Italy and Spain, Black women are perceived as prostitutes. So word of advice, dress sophisticated. We represent all other 99.9% of other Black women that aren’t in the trade.
S: What tips would you give other millennials interested in travelling on their own? Things to do/avoid.
- Just do it- your friends are never going to get around those dates.
- Research, research & more research, but take everything with a pinch of salt. I was told by an IG wanderluster there were rebels in Yangon so I was best avoiding the region- So not true.
- Travel light- this really makes wanderlust less strenuous and you’re less likely to lose anything.
- Plan- Book flights & hotels/hostels in advance. You’ll save more and you can use this towards those delightful street foods.
- Don’t be afraid to speak to people, especially locals. They give you a good feel for the city.
S: Any tips on budgeting for young/inexperienced travellers?
- Budget airlines are great, but always read the luggage restrictions before you pay. I was forced to wear all my clothing with Wizzair as they only offer 6KG.
- Use flight comparison sites such as Skyscanner and Kayak to compare fares.
- If package trips are your type of thing, save money by using Holidaypirates and Secret Flying to plan your next trip(although you book it all yourself).
- Depending on your choice of accommodation, book well in advance. If the idea of 5 star hotel fly over your head, you can register for hotel loyalty such as those with Accor Hotel groups.( Cheaper rates than any hotel comparison site)
- You can meet fellow female travellers by posting on FB group Travellettes and using the meetup App to join local events.
- Budget according to your wallet- Travel doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. There are tons of free/ inexpensive activities to do in most cities.
S: Is travelling a necessary lifestyle choice or just a luxury?
M: For me travelling isn’t luxury, it’s a lifestyle. Just as people find it necessary to hit the gym or buy the daily fix of smoothie, travel for me is equally the same. I find my sanity and happiness in travel.
What an amazing lifestyle choice right? I’ll take this over any Jimmy Choo or Birkin bag any day!
Find out more about Mary on Instagram Web