I love being able to highlight new and up and coming travel bloggers and Francesca Haprer’s blog, A Time and a Place, is one of my favourite new blogs that you should be looking out for.
Francesca is a self-confessed culture-junkie who in between experiencing my passions in life – travel, literature, art and hiking – is working as hard as possible as a freelance blogger and copywriter. 2011 was an incredible year of travel, but she has a lot lined up in 2012 too, including Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark in the spring and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer.
1. Can you describe yourself in 5 words?
Wow; you’re straight in there with a corker of a difficult question! I guess 5 words that sum me up are creative, independent, book-worm, nostalgic and open-minded, but I’m sure my friends and family could think of a few more…
2. Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re up to at the moment.
I currently work from my home in Suffolk as a Freelance Copywriter and Blogger for digital marketing agencies and my own clients (a position I’ve had for over 2 years), I’m the online editor for my local National Trust property and as a Travel Blogger for my own blog and various other travel websites. I am currently working on building a new travel inspiration website which I hope to launch in February/March time, if all goes to plan of course!
3. Many people have to live with their parents either before or after they travel – do you have any tips on how to survive?
I’ve been there; I still am in fact! Luckily for me, my mum and I are (still) very close and my work keeps me busy in my office all day. Of course how well you get on with your parents can determine how good or bad living back at home is, but either way, my general tips would be to make sure your bedroom is your sanctuary, get out of the house as often as possible to see friends and to think of the light at the end of the tunnel; travelling and/or leaving home!
4. What inspired you to start your travel blog?
A moment of madness! No, seriously, I guess as I have been an online writer for five years, the step into having my own travel blog wasn’t a difficult choice. On my return from travelling I felt like I had so many stories to tell that I needed an outlet for them all. Also, I hope to move permanently into travel writing and I know my blog will help me develop my writing style and act as a portfolio for future job applications.
5. What would be your dream travel destination and why?
That’s easy; Scandinavia. That feeling of wonderment and awe you get when you look up at the moon at night is just how thinking about Scandinavia – Norway and Svalbard in particular – makes me feel. It’s a dream trip I’m hoping to fulfil in 2013; I’ve got my Scandinavia and Western Europe Lonely Planet guides at the ready!
6. What’s the best type of food you’ve discovered on the road?
The 30baht Pad Thai you can get from a street vendor on Koh San Road, Bangkok makes me salivate just thinking about it. So cheap but the best meal I ate in Thailand! Before that, I wasn’t a big fan of Thai food, now I – try to – cook it all the time
7. If you could only put 1 non-essential thing in your backpack, what would it be?
Aside from my digital camera (surely that’s an essential?!) it would have to be my diary/scrap-book complete with scissors and sticky-tape. I don’t ever keep a diary at home, but having one on the road to store used tickets/leaflets/beer mats/labels is a great way to keep a visually stimulating log of my travels.
8. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from travelling?
It may sound strange, but I learnt that it’s OK to be selfish from time to time. The very act of travelling is selfish anyway; you’re going for your own experiences/memories after all. But I think it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else thinks are must sees-dos even if you’re not particularly interested in them yourself. With both travelling and life in general, you should go with your instincts and listen to what you want.
9. Which of your blog posts are you most proud of and why?
From my own personal blog, it would have to be a toss-up between ‘Retrospective: My Orc-Walk Through Tongariro National Park’ and ‘Retrospective: Facing My Fears in Fiji’. Both were just so enjoyable to write as they took me straight back to my travels and all the sensations I felt at the time. My favourite guest post I have written is ‘The Best Art Galleries of Australia’s East Coast’ for TravMonkey.com; I’m a massive art-junkie so again this one reflected personal passions and experiences of mine.
10. What is your favourite travel photo and where was it taken?
Ouch; what a difficult question to finish on! I’ve surprised myself with this answer actually. There are many landscape photos I have taken which have just about managed to reflect the beauty of the place, but instead I’ve chosen a photo which isn’t necessarily the best artistically or in quality, but the moment I’m most proud of capturing. It was taken in May 2011 at the Ulun Danu Batur Temple in Bali and captures an intimate traditional Balinese wedding ceremony we witnessed whilst on our tour of the temple.