Stories from a backpack with Melis Living…
Ahh, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a ‘stories with…’ interview and I’m super excited to kick start them again. I love listening to other people’s stories and I’m so interested to know what others have learnt from travel.
Melis is my new Instagram friend! We’ve been chatting about travel and I’ve fallen in love with her feed! Her recent trip to Prague looked amazing and she writes some pretty cool location guides. Make sure you take a peek at her blog!
As always, I start with the question no traveller ever wants to answer (because it’s so hard to choose)… Please share with us your favourite/ best/scariest or funniest travel story…
My favourite travel stories are all related to Japanese taxi journeys!
My travel best moment was when a driver took the time to ask where we were from, asking many questions about England then presenting us with an origami bird, decorated with the British flag. It was such a lovely gesture – he had a bird for each country to give to his customers! Oh how I wish everyone was so welcoming to other nationalities. On the flip side, my scariest travel moment was with a Japanese taxi driver who ‘lived with’ a fabric doll. He had photos of them on holiday together in various exotic places and even showed us their Christmas pictures. He was quite intense and when we got close to our destination he seemed to go down a back alley. I was really nervous about where he was taking, his doll stories had made me a little bit scared, but he had just found a much easier place to drop us off.
The moral of the story is, don’t judge a book by its cover and Japanese taxi drivers are totally eclectic!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
The best piece of advice is so simple and it’s what my Grandma is always saying – ‘there’s worse than boring’. I think there is so much pressure now to see every destination, tick off a bucket list and keep on smashing big goals. Actually as much as I love to travel there is nothing wrong with spreading travel out across the year, to save money and relax a little more! I do like this simple piece of advice and I am trying to embrace slow travel a little more this year.
If you could only go back to one place in the world, where would you go and why?
This is such a hard question as I do love most of the places I go to! I would have to say Istanbul, Turkey, as I am half Turkish and my dad lives there. I love the sights, smells and sounds of this exotic city so much. It is the only city in the world in two continents and crossing the bridge from Europe to Asia is a really amazing experience.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me to accept many different cultures and to be more sensitive to other people. It has also taught me to be less materialistic and appreciate everything I am fortunate enough to own. I have no desire to own expensive items now and I realised when living as an ex-pat in Singapore is that I can live with literally just a handful of things. Happiness does not come from possessions
What is that one moment from a trip you will never ever forget?
My favourite moment was in Singapore when we were living there in 2018. I booked a surprise dinner at Spago on top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. It was the week before Singapore’s National Day which is celebrated with a huge fireworks display like no other I have ever seen. The night we dined at Spago, little did we know that they would be doing a practice run of the fireworks, and we were treated to an amazing display over the most famous rooftop pool in the world. It was a completely unplanned coincidence and an evening I will never, ever forget.
And finally… What’s your favourite line from the Stories from a Backpack manifesto and why?
This is a great quote to live by and ties in nicely to my previous answer about the best life advice.
Thank you so much, Melis! Laura xx