Victoria Brewood is a British girl who decided there is more to life than the hours between 9 and 5. After graduating from university she packed her journalism degree into her suitcase and decided to travel the world, live life, and work remotely. She set up her travel blog Pommie Travels in 2009 and has since become a full-time travel blogger and freelance writer.
WTBz: What is the focus / goal of your website?
Pommie: I’m traveling solo, so I hope my site will encourage people to take the leap and book a ticket. I’d like to explore as much of the world as possible, and make my site the most comprehensive travel resource I can. Some people start blogging as a way to document their travels, but I guess I set up Pommie Travels originally to share tips I’d gathered along the way and showcase my writing. I’ve been traveling the world since 2008 and have never had a 9 to 5 job, so I’d like to prove to people out there that you can be your own boss and work remotely. If I can inspire people to travel and help them save a bit of cash along the way, then I’ll be pretty happy.
WTBz: What was your first experience with traveling? Was this when you’d say you ‘became’ a Traveler? Or did you really discover your passion for travel later on?
Pommie: As a kid my Mum took me on holidays to places like Spain and Greece and I always had this desire to ‘escape’, but it wasn’t till my university days that I developed my passion for independent travel. I went to an all girls’ school that really discouraged Gap Years- instead it was drummed into us that we should go to university, get a degree and be serious about a career, so that’s what I did. Anyway I can pinpoint the exact moment I decided to do a solo backpacking trip- I’d just graduated and I went to Portugal with my best friend from university. We met all these backpackers who were traveling around Europe, or working in Portugal for the summer season. Later that summer I went back to Portugal by myself for a while, then booked a ticket to Australia shortly after. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that travel was the way to figure it out.
Can you explain your passion for travel? What do you love about it? What do you get from it?
I just love to be free and I enjoy the feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next. I feel that by traveling the world, I’m opening myself up to new possibilities. Every time I hop on a flight, I wonder what’s in store, who I’m going to meet and what crazy antics I’ll get up to. The best thing about travel is meeting new people, making best friends and creating moments that I’ll remember forever. I guess you could say I’ve set myself a challenge to ‘live’ as much as I possibly can.
What’s your travel style? Party? Culture? Volunteering? Connecting with the locals? A little of everything? What’s the balance?
When it comes to travel style, everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way to travel. Me? Probably a bit of everything. I’ll spend the days sightseeing and exploring, then the nights drinking shots with locals and partying into the early hours. I’m all about the adventure and the experiences and I prefer doing things rather than looking at things. So, for example, I will probably be in and out of a museum in 5 minutes, but I’d happily do activities like camping, swimming or skydiving. I love nature, scenery and beaching, and I enjoy sitting in cafes for hours watching the world go by.
Do you prefer to travel alone or with a friend, group of friends, partner? How does your travel style affect what you get out of your journey?
I usually travel alone, although there are times where I have travelled with friends and past boyfriends. Generally I enjoy travelling alone because I get so much out of the experience- everything that I do is out of my own choice, and I meet more people because I have to make the effort to talk to them. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed traveling with friends- it’s just very different. If I waited for my friends to get time off work for travelling, I’d be waiting a very long time!
If you could travel with any 3 people (real, fictional, alive, or dead) who would they be and where would you go?
Wow who do I choose?! I think it would be pretty cool to travel with Richard Branson- he’s up for all sorts of crazy stunts isn’t he? And I’d like to take along Mashable’s Pete Cashmore so I could have some really geeky blog conversations. Liam Neeson is always kicking-ass in movies, so he’d be pretty handy to have in case of trouble. And I guess if we’re with Richard Branson, we could get some tickets on Virgin Galactic?
Many people who don’t travel always think they can’t afford it. What do you have to say to that?
You can always afford to travel. People who say they can’t afford it are just making excuses. If you think about the money you spend per month at home on rent, bills, food and nights out, you’ll probably be saving yourself money on the road. It’s a misconception that you have to save heaps of money to go traveling. If you’re prepared to stay in hostels or try couchsurfing, and you budget well enough, you can travel quite cheaply. There have been times when I was almost broke on the road, but I’ve found work to get by. If you run out of money, you can work in hostels or do some bartending to save up some cash.
If you weren’t a traveler, how would your life be different? i.e. what would you be doing if you weren’t always on the road? (Or, what are you doing now that you aren’t on the road?)
Seriously, I can’t imagine what I would do. At the moment I travel most of the time, and between travels I stay at my mum’s house in the UK, but I have no idea where my own ‘home’ base will be eventually. I guess I’ll have to slow down at some point, but I’m hoping that will figure itself out. If I wasn’t a traveller I’d probably be in a 9 to 5 job in London, perhaps with more money, but my life wouldn’t be as rich.
What was the most grueling adventure? (epic hike with low supplies, long train ride in India with no toilets, etc.)
Hmmmm I’ve not had too many gruelling experiences, I guess I need to work on that! Generally all my experiences have been really good, or if I’ve had bad ones, I’ve forgotten about them.
What’s your best travel tip?
That’s a really tough one! Be a ‘yes’ person!
One of my favorite parts of travel is connecting with the people I meet along the way, both locals and other travelers. Can you tell us about one of your most cherished travel connections?
I’ve met so many people on the road, and some of them are now my closest friends. One of my best friends I met in Portugal 2 years ago and went to visit in Perth quite recently- it was like we’d only seen each other yesterday. When I tour the United States in June, I’ll be crashing on the couches of American friends I’ve met all over the world. Last month I was on a Paddywagon tour of Ireland and instantly became friends with a girl on the bus. We got on so well that people thought we’d known each other for years, but in fact we’d only met the day before! In fact if I examined my Facebook friends list, I reckon 90% are people I’ve met travelling.
What advice would you give to first-time travelers?
It’ll be fine, I can promise you now, you will have the most fun you’ve ever had in your life! I remember when I went on my first solo backpacking trip- I was worried that I wouldn’t meet anyone and the trip would be a disaster. Of course, the moment I stepped off the plane in Australia, I realised all my fears had been completely unfounded. Whilst it can be good to plan ahead, don’t try to plan a strict schedule, because you might end up meeting people and decide to join them.
What advice would you give to struggling travel writers / photographers?
Do as much networking as you can and make friends with other people doing what you’re doing. People in the travel industry are a friendly bunch, and talking to them will get you a long way. Not only will you learn from other people, they may also be able to point you in the right direction. Most importantly, keep going with it- if you believe you can do it, you will do it.
Thank you so much for taking time to share your experiences with us! We hope to run into you one day on the road.
You can follow Victoria’s amazing adventures by checking out her website http://www.pommietravels.com/ . Don’t forget to like her on facebook here http://www.facebook.com/pommietravels and follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/PommieTravels .