I am so excited to share with you a new series of posts called “Stories With…“. Each month I will be posting interviews with my favourite travel and lifestyle bloggers. It’s all about their stories, life lessons and amazing adventures.  I love nothing more than listening to a good backpacking tale and reminiscing with fellow travellers. The BEST part of travelling is the stories we bring home!

I couldn’t think of anyone better to kick off the series…Kara is an amazing travel blogger, her posts are funny and frequent but most importantly they are down to earth and ‘real’. Check out Kara’s site for incredible travel advice and super cool Instagram pictures.  Thank you Kara for sharing your stories with us!

Kara, please share with us your favourite/ best /scariest or funniest travel story…

Gosh, that’s a hard question. I feel like I would give you a different answer depending on what day you asked me, but today a story from Western Australia comes to mind. I went to Monkey Mia on a tour of Western Australia, where you get up early to watch the professionals feed wild dolphins on the beach. That’s the main reason you visit this place. But whilst I was there, I decided to do an Aboriginal Walkabout. It took place in the evening as our guide walked us through the nearby outback, then we sat around a fire and learned about Aboriginal culture and history. There was even a didgeridoo involved! It sounds tacky but it was honestly magical – something about the smell of the fire, how clear the stars were in the sky and this guide’s presence as we all listened intently to what he had to say. I enjoyed it so much. Then to add to the evening as we walked back to our hotel along the beach, we saw the dolphins come right up to the shore! Compared to the main event the next morning, with hundreds of people crowded on the beach, this evening spotting felt so special. Definitely, an evening on my travels that I won’t forget.

If you could only go back to one place in the world, where would you go and why?

Cinque Terre in Italy. It’s more for sentimental reasons as it was my first trip abroad with my other half. It’s also where we recently got engaged so has a special place in my heart. But it’s beautiful in it’s own right with lots of hiking opportunities, AMAZING food and just a great vibe. But if I’m allowed more than one, close runners-up are New York, Luang Prabang, San Francisco and Ljubljana!

What has travel taught you?

Travel has taught me more than education ever did to be honest! I think being around different cultures and different types of people that you wouldn’t usually be exposed to makes you more tolerant and patient as a person. Especially when you stay in hostels! I also think solo backpacking has taught me to be more independent and confident. When you know that you can go to a new country and manage to not only survive but to make new friends and explore a new destination, you feel like you can do anything!

What is that one moment from a trip you will never ever forget?

Ok, seeing as I’ve already given you a positive story, I’ll go with a negative moment for this question… I’ll never forget the worst journey I ever took – from Koh Tao, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We got on the infamous ‘Scam Bus’, designed to rip-off gullible tourists, which took a whopping 30 hours in total. It involved various changes, being overcharged for a Cambodian visa, being walked through the border on foot in 40 degree heat with our backpacks, witnessing a car bomb at the border, being transferred to a car that stopped at shops insisting we buy something before we could leave, then finally being transferred to a tuk-tuk for the final leg. The tuk-tuk driver was called ‘Tiger’, had a face tattoo and insisted we use him to see Angkor Wat the next day. When we refused (we were hiring bikes) he came into our hostel reception, heard our room number and told us he was coming back that night to kill us… Yep, won’t be forgetting that moment. (He obvs didn’t come back and was just trying to scare us. And we moved hostels immediately.) I took it as a learning experience though. I am definitely more cautious about which overland journeys I book now and when things do go wrong I think back to this moment – at least it’s not as bad as that journey from Koh Tao to Siem Reap…

And finally… What’s your favourite line from the Stories from a Backpack manifesto and why?

“The Greatest Stories Happen When We Take Risks.”

I fully believe that you have to go out and chase adventure, it doesn’t always come to you. Going solo backpacking for the first time was terrifying but it paid off with life experiences I won’t forget, lifelong friends and a passion for travel that has endured ever since. I think this is the case with life in general too – taking risks on moving cities, changing careers and choosing relationships have always paid off for me. You just have to take the first step.

Do you have some epic travels stories that you’d like to share? Let me know if you want to feature in “Stories with…

Laura xx


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