Travel Writing versus Travel Waffling.

With so many travellers writing about their trips with tricks and advice, who do you really listen to?

Let me begin by saying that I am most certainly not the most experienced travel writer. If anything I am far from it and having only just begun writing about my tales I am learning about what it takes to be a good travel writer and get noticed.

Having said that, I know that what you write, in any situation, is aimed at your audience, so your writing should be directed to this all important fact. I just wonder when I see travel waffle what they are really going on about?

What does make a truly great travel writer?
Whatever it is, I want it.

One blogger in particular took me by surprise when they posted a brand new feature video. I thought it would be amazing and I was utterly disappointed when all I saw was someone in front of a camera for two minutes blowing kisses, winking and adjusting the camera with a little giggle while an up-beat tune played in the background. I asked myself, what on earth does this have to do with travel?

Like minded travel writers may think the same. Your blog is your space to share your travel adventures and to perhaps to give some much needed advice to your followers. Plus it is an amazing way to keep those you love in the loop about what you are up to on your adventures. There are some incredible travel writers out there and I am beginning to read what they have to say and realising what makes them so entertaining.

So many tales to tell.
So many tales to tell.

Although my tales thus far are about some of the crazy times I had in Europe and may focus on the little things in life that I find important, I assure you that I will continue to tell my tales and give you my advice as a novice travel writer. I will not subject you all to two minute videos of myself in my lounge with a tune in the background.

You may see a ‘selfie’ (self-taken shot) on occasion and if any video will be posted it will be one of me in an exciting place with adventure all around me.

This is my promise to you, my loyal followers.

La Petite Globetrotter, over and out.

Cruising Corfu Island.

A boating lesson for 10 minutes and then the 6 of us were let loose on a boat around Corfu Island.

The Greeks most certainly know how to live and life on Corfu Island is no different. Umbrellas and deck chairs with crisp and burnt tourists scatter the beaches. The more daring tourist can be seen zipping through the water on a jetski and then there are those that wander through the old town of Corfu, ensuring not to arrive ready to shop during siesta, when all the shops close in the afternoon so everyone can have a nap (tough life).

One way to see Corfu is to hire a boat, which is exactly what we did. The boat could hold six people and it wasn’t difficult finding ladies to join us. The initial cost to hire the boat for six hours was 150 Euro, which when you split it five ways works out to 25 Euro each, not bad for a day out.

Cruising around Corfu
Cruising around Corfu

We had booked the boat for the following day and we were told that we needed to arrive a little bit earlier for a ‘boating lesson’. The morning arrived and we did as we were told. Alexander our lovely tanned Greek greeted us and we jumped into the boat.

Our ‘boating lesson’ consisted of “Ok so you know, don’t get it stuck in the sand, this is how you raise and lower the engine and this is how you go forwards and backwards. Make sure you anchor if you jump off the boat. Ok you good? Good, you go now.” I looked at my friend and thought “well how hard could it really be?” no boat licence needed, we all jumped on with our snacks and bikinis in tow and we were off.

We were told about a shallow bay where the water came up to knee height and headed there first. I had to give Alexander my mobile number in case of an emergency and as soon had we arrived at the shallow bay I had several missed calls from Alexander, but we were far too busy swimming to be concerned with such details.

The Shallow Bay
The Shallow Bay

The wind began coming in and it made our stop at a local beach a little more difficult than I had expected, nonetheless we did what ladies do on a beach; tanned. Seeing the missed calls from Alexander I called him back. He said “Hello, you be careful the storm is coming and you don’t get my boat stuck in the sand, also they are waiting for you at the ‘taverna’ for lunch. Goodbye.”

With that we collected our tanning goodies and made our way back to the boat, we eventually found the ‘taverna’ we were told about and made our way to the dock. As we were arriving a Greek God of a waiter stepped out and helped us tie the boat to the dock.

Boats at the dock
Boats at the dock

Sitting right on the water we all took a moment to realise that we were cruising around the Greek Islands. We ordered typical Greek dishes, a mixture of freshly caught squid, calamari and fish, accompanied by a refreshing Greek salad. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Corfu.

Fresh Calamari & Greek Salad
Fresh Calamari & Greek Salad

After the journey back we were once again greeted by Alexander and we made the final payments. When you hire a boat you need to pay for the fuel you use as well as the use of the boat. After six hours cruising around the island we used 50 Euros of petrol which we once again split between the six of us.

The whole day cost us all roughly 50 Euro each, including our meals, it was a wonderful and relatively inexpensive way of seeing this relaxed and breathtaking island, a boating lesson is even included for those of you who, like me, have never captained a boat before.

So I say to you, happy cruising!

Let the Training Begin…

19 Countries, over 12000 KM, 68 Days; welcome to Contiki Training.

In three months I will be packing my bag for a trip that I can only describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity. A whirlwind of adventure that will see me wake up in one country and fall asleep in another, if I get any sleep at all.

Recently, I saved all of my pennies for a Contiki Trip, I travelled with a friend from London to Athens with a bunch of 50 crazy travellers, during a hot European summer, making memories that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Contiki
Contiki

When I returned to Australia I started my final semester at university, still unsure of what I wanted to do once I graduated. I had seen Contiki advertise a Tour Manager position for Europe and the requirements seemed simple enough; be a confident speaker, have a European passport or be able to obtain visas, to preferably have travelled before and to be bubbly and outgoing. I possess all of the above and my most treasured travel item is my EU passport.

I poured my heart into my online application and a month later I was flying to Sydney for a group interview at Contiki HQ. With 20 people in the group interview the vibe was tense, many crumbled under the pressure when giving their speeches, myself included. I picked it up where I left off and after a long and stressful group interview, I scored myself a personal interview that same afternoon.

Never have I been in an personal interview that challenged me more. Trying to get a smile out of my interviewers was near impossible and serious thought went into each and every answer I gave. I walked out not knowing what to expect, all I knew was that in two weeks I would have my answer.

The email I had been waiting for.
The email I had been waiting for.

Two weeks later I was hurtled out of bed with the news that I had been accepted on the training trip. I laughed, cried and jumped at the good news. I’ve never wanted anything so badly before. Since returning from my last Contiki, I have had an urge to travel, to explore and to see the world from a different perspective, now I have that chance.

March will see me leave Australia for eight months and endure a challenging training trip before being offered a position as a Contiki Tour Manager in Europe. I am currently completing a huge assignment to help me prepare for my trip.

19 Countries, 12000 KM, 68 Days
19 Countries, 12000 KM, 68 Days

Overwhelmed and excited are two words I would use to describe how I feel about jetting off to Europe and when I mapped out my trip I figured out that I will be visiting 19 countries, covering about 12 000 KM, all in just 68 days. Not very many people can say that they have done that. I simply cannot wait.

So  sure to follow me by email to keep an eye on La Petite Globetrotter for tales from my crazy European adventure.

A Venitian Side Street Cafe.

Explore the narrow alleyways of Venice to experience an authentic Italy.

When I think of Italy, my mind wanders to the beautiful landscapes, the romantic Italian language and of course; the food.

On a, very hot, summer’s day in Venice, after wondering through St Mark’s Square and being utterly astonished by the exquisite floating city, it was time to find something to eat.

Our Charming Italian Waiter
Our Charming Italian Waiter

My travel buddy, Ashleigh, has a great eye for finding the perfect place to eat, so Madeline and I left it up to her. She wandered ahead and turned into a narrow alleyway. With laundry gently suspended above us, we made our way towards a soft mumble of people sitting at small tables at Ostaria Ai Storti. Ashleigh turned to me and promptly said “We are eating here, I want to eat here.” She could not have chosen a more perfect spot.

Living the Italian Life
Living the Italian Life

Greeted by a rather charming Italian waiter, we took a seat outside. Sitting next to us was an old Italian man drinking a chilled glass of wine. As I looked at this old man, he seemed to embody what I can only describe as ‘The Italian Life’. While we carefully examined the delectable dishes on offer, the old man was joined by five local older men whose exuberant characters filled the once quiet alleyway with expressive Italian.

Our food arrived and the three of us sat and spoke about all sorts of topics, before I began eating my shrimp and zucchini spaghetti I sat back, took a deep breath and examined my surroundings. I was sitting in Venice, in a small cafe with two wonderful friends and true Italians around me. For the first time in a long time, I was perfectly content and happy with my life, smiling like a fool I tucked into my meal, which can only be described as phenomenal.

Delicious Shrimp and Zuchhini Spaghetti
Delicious Shrimp and Zucchini Spaghetti

Eating local food was something we had all been eager to do. We ignored crowded tourist spots with English speakers and wherever we went we searched for small places to eat. They all gave us an authentic taste for the country we were visiting and this was no exception.

The chef came to greet us “belle ragazze” (pretty girls) and blushed when we complimented his food. We sat and watched as the old men helped each other up and wandered down the maze of alleyways, and so too did we.

Paris like a Parisian

There aren’t very many places that can beat Paris in the summertime, and with an abundance of parks and beautiful walking paths all over this romantic city it is difficult to surpass for any travel lover.

Whenever I go to Paris my mind is full of Parisian accordion tunes and I even sing La Vie en Rose, one French song I do know by heart, I find it always gets me into the Parisian frame of mind.

Sunset in Paris
Sunset in Paris

Every time I see the beautiful and elegant Eiffel Tower my heart skips a beat and I pinch myself in the realisation that I am in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

My most recent trip to Paris in June of 2012 gave me a fresh view of this diverse city and it is one I will never forget. The best way to see Paris, I feel, is on foot. That’s right, break out your most comfy walking shoes cause this city was made for walking and you will do yourself a terrible injustice if you don’t get lost in the small alleyways and grand avenues.

Wander the city and keep your map tucked in your bag, go without a definite destination. On a free day in Paris, a bunch of us ladies wandered from Notre Dame to Montmartre. On the way we found a Parisian food market in the Latin Quarter. Feeling slightly peckish, as it was approaching lunch time, we decided it would be a good idea to buy ourselves a fresh baguette and fill it with only the finest French produce; fromage (cheese), saucisson (French salami), and stuffed green olives filled our bags. No French meal is complete unless you have a lovely bottle of wine to help wash it down, so we grabbed a chilled Chardonnay from the local grocery store to accompany our spontaneous picnic.

With my knowledge of the French language I made light work of ordering our delicious ingredients and next we were off to find a grassy and shady spot to enjoy our meal. We stumbled upon the Luxembourg Gardens and found a very deserted lovely looking grassy area that I assumed was perfect to have our picnic. Eventually others began sitting, I even made small chat with the locals asking if anyone had a bottle opener for our Chardonnay, alas none of them did.

Picnic in Paris
Picnic in Paris

Suddenly our perfect summer picnic was rudely interrupted by some man in blue blowing on a whistle. On further inspection we realised it was in fact a police officer telling us that “You cannot sit on the grass!”. The droves of people enjoying the summer sun who had sat on the grass, prompted by us foreigners, reluctantly packed their things and moved along, and so too did we with a little giggle.

Arriving in Montmartre later that afternoon we decided to sit on the side of the hill, beneath the trees and crack open the Chardonnay. We sat with the most exquisite panoramic view of Paris and toasted our glasses to a perfect day in Paris.

The view from Montmartre
The view from Montmartre

A trip anywhere is what you make of it, that day in Paris is one I will never forget, not because I had to push past people to see the Mona Lisa, which is completely worthwhile, but because I had great company and enjoyed the simple things that life has to offer.

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