I created the “Travellers’ Tales” series earlier this year to give my readers and other travellers an opportunity to talk about their travels. Today I would like to introduce you to Kristina, a travel blogger and enthusiastic diver, currently based in Thailand. She blogs at I Left Home .
I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales” , fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.
Read about Kristina’s travels here,
- Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! My name is Kristina. I’m a Canadian-born traveller currently backpacking/living in Southeast Asia with my French boyfriend, Gaspard. I have been a traveller almost my whole life; I’ve grown up in several countries and have lived as an expat for most of my childhood. The travel lifestyle has become a natural part of my life, and when I am not abroad I feel antsy! After six years of university back in Canada, I left home once again and have been on the go ever since.
My feet have gently settled for a time being – in Thailand! Gaspard and I have now been living in Koh Phangan, a small island in the south of Thailand, for the past three months and we have no plans to move on anytime soon! I have a job here as a SCUBA diving instructor at an amazing dive school in a lovely quiet area of the island. I could not be happier.
- What is your earliest travel memory?
I have been travelling ever since I was an infant. My mother is originally Hungarian, and she would take me home with her to visit her family… apparently I was the most well behaved baby that has ever flown on an overseas flight!
I guess I can say that my first travel memories have been with my parents and my sister. We’d go every summer to Budapest to visit cousins, grandparents, godparents, second cousins…. Strangers!
My sister and I would be sent to summer camps in the outskirts of Hungary, a summer camp focused on language learning. We’d be the only Canadians learning Hungarian; the rest of the kids would be learning English!
I believe travelling at such a young age has really helped create a strong bond between my sister and I. There have been many times where we would only have each other. We are best friends.
- Where was your last holiday?
Hmmm. Well, since I am travelling and abroad lots, it’s a strange question to answer as sometimes it feels like a holiday everyday! I’d say my last proper holiday was in February. I travelled with my dad to Indonesia and we went SCUBA diving for a few weeks in Gili Trawangan. It was good father-daughter bonding time for sure!
- What was the best thing you did there?
Definitely the diving. My father, my sister, and I are avid divers – we are all professional divers! It has been an activity that has really made the three of us grow close over the years. We started diving together, taking our open water and advanced open water courses together. Diving has really become a special hobby that keeps the family close!
- What was your best holiday ever? Why?
About five or six years ago (I was 19 years old then) I did my dive master internship on Gili Trawangan (Indonesia). I was there on my own and it was such a blast! I worked hard diving and training everyday but it was also my first time really on my own as a traveller and I made a lot of friends, got into trouble, and – let’s just say – hardly got any sleep! That same summer, I left the island as a newly certified Dive Master… then I hopped on a plane to Hungary and returned to that summer camp I would go to as a kid, but this time as an English Teacher and camp counsellor. It was a really busy and fantastic summer. I did so much, I can’t believe I survived with such little sleep!
- What is your favourite travel destination?
That is always such a hard question to answer. But, I can easily say I love travelling to Thailand, and it is definitely a country I always find myself retuning to… well, now I practically live here!
- What is the one thing one must do there?
Would it be too easy for me to say: DIVE! It definitely is a great place to give it a try, and even start your training here. The conditions are fantastic – warm, clear water – the dive sites seem like they were designed for training, and you see a lot of gorgeous life. A few weeks ago I saw a whale shark for the first time. It was a dream-come-true!
I would recommend spending at least a month – if not more – time in Thailand. Each region offers something unique and you can’t experience everything in only a week or two. If you can drive, rent a motorbike while you are in smaller towns and simply get lost on your scooter. You’ll discover the country more authentically that way than if you solely booked organized tours or followed others on more typical trips and sites.
- Who is your favourite travel companion/s?
My boyfriend and my sister! I’ve travelled with my boyfriend for over a year non-stop and it has been a great experience. We’ve grown as a couple, and we enjoy the same travel style so it has been such a blast exploring the world together.
I love travelling with my sister because it’s like travelling with my best friend. We take care of each other, we have inside jokes, and we make the best memories together.
- Name one item you must have when travelling.
My blue and brown striped scarf! This thing is so old, it has holes in it, and it’s been through a lot. It’s saved me so many times though! It’s big enough to use as a blanket on cold bus rides, or a towel, or a picnic blanket, it protects my valuables in my backpack, and it’s even helped me make friends on miserable ferry rides! It’s ugly, it’s comfortable, and I am pretty sure it brings me luck.
- Your best travel advice?
Don’t stress out about making the perfect travel itinerary. You will soon figure out that plans are hardly followed through, and for a good reason! If you become too rigid while you travel you will miss out on the authenticity of the experience. Allow yourself some freedom to be spontaneous, and don’t hesitate to give yourself a few days where you do absolutely nothing. Travelling will become exhausting and miserable if you stress about checking everything off your bucket list. Experience the moment for what it is, and you will get way more out of your trip.
- The one place you want to visit before you die?
Oh boy. The north of India. And I definitely want to go back to Nepal! I want to see the mountains, to hike, feel the cold air in my lungs in the morning and enjoy the absence of technology and cell service! When I have a few months off, I want to get lost in India. But first, I better do some conditioning if I want to survive the walk!
- How can people get in touch with you?
Thank you, Kristina , for sharing your fascinating travels with us!
I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales”, fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.