Travel Blogger Q&A Series – These are the amazing people that travel the world and share their stories on their blogs. Through this series, I aim to share a better understanding of travel bloggers apart from their blogs – a little more on the personal side of travel! Join me in this interview with Leah & Declan from Officer Travels!
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- Sneadler’s Travels Q&A
- Resrutt – The Travel Blog
- Maybe This Way
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- Sippin Gypsy
- Find World’s Beauty
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- Swing Abroad
- Little Adventures
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- Travel to Blank
- Walking on Foreign Chels
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- Why Not Ju
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- Life by Asha Singh
Hey! We’re Leah + Declan, the creative minds behind Officer Travels! We’re a British couple who decided to sell our home in the English countryside and fly to the otherside of the world with nothing but a 36 ltr backpack. We’re now travelling Australia in our little campervan going wherever the broken road takes us with a growing list of places to go next! On our blog you’ll find the full run down on our off beaten track adventures as well as fun guides, itineraries and lots and lots of passion for what we do!
What is your earliest travel memory?
We were both very fortunate to grown up with family who were able to take us on holiday every year, be it abroad or just a staycation neither of us missed out on an adventure when we were young.
Leah – My earliest travel memory is probably to the Lake District. We used to camp a lot when I was a kid and the Lakes were always a popular place for us. We’d camp right by Coniston Waters and spend the whole holiday swimming and making dens in the woods. The villages around haven’t changed much over the years so whenever we visit it certainly hits me right in the nostalgia!
Dec – Travelling with my Dad in his lorry is probably mine. Due to dad’s job a lorry driver he often drove through France, Italy and Portugal and I was lucky enough to go with him. I saw a lot of places I probably wouldn’t have been able to if it wasn’t for that and it instilled a deep drive for me to travel and see the world.
Have you ever cried at the airport?
Haha oh god! Dec hasn’t but I have, a lot recently actually. The first time being when we went through what is probably most heartbreaking thing we’ve had to deal with so far whilst travelling, and typically it happened at the end of our first full year travelling… we lost our hard drive on the plane and thanks to British Airways we still haven’t got it back. Safe to say there were plenty of tears in the airport while we argued with the airline to get that back.
The second time was trying to come back for our second year of travelling Australia. Our visas pinged saying they’d expired when they most certainly hadn’t… I’m very particular with triple checking things like that, and keep all of our paperwork and emails for such things so I was quick to school the desk agent on how our visas worked as she actually had never come across this before. They ended up having to call Australia’s immigration and border force to try and figure it out and it turned out that due to a glitch in their system we’d never actually left the country… yeah. Unbelievable right! So after answering a lot of questions to prove we’d left the country and were who we said we were they managed to fix it. After, of course, I’d had a hysterical breakdown about how on earth was this happening to us haha… one thing’s for sure, I need to learn to keep my cool!!!
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When you've spent so long in a city isn't it nice to just get out into nature! I can't get over these lovely winter days we've been having! I think Sydney's close proximity to beaches and nationals parks is one of the reasons we love it so much. Head over to the website to see our latest post on our favourite day trips from Sydney! . . . . . . . . . . #bundeenabeach #nswparks #bundeena #girlswhoexplore #roadtripin #ig_australia #paradise🌴 #beachdayout #sydneyiger #traveljunkies #australialovesyou #travel_drops #travelog #sonyA6000 #ig_discover_australia #beachview #girlsborntotravel #depthobsessed #australianlife #travelcouple #australiatrip #travellovers #girlswhowonder #beachwalks #australia_oz #australiagram_nsw #backpackingworld #seetheworldwithme #bewildandfree #createandcapture
What is your travel style?
The last year in Australia has been slow travel in our van. Stopping off wherever looked good, straying down tracks that looked interesting and not really rushing anywhere. We’ve discovered some great little places this way! Like the Pink Lakes in Victoria or the time we saw wild Whales off the south coast.
We mixed it up a bit once we reached Bali though, trying to cram a lot into our week break between Australia and Home. We ended up going to 5 different Islands and were staying in a new place every other night. It was exhausting so next time we’re in Indonesia we’ll definitely be going slow again haha
What is your favorite city?
We get asked this a lot and many assume that just because we’re English we’ll say London, when the truth is we both hate London. It’s the busiest city we’ve ever been to and everyone seems far too stressed. One or two days at a time is plenty for us haha. Anyway, our favourite city is Sydney. It was a tough choice between here and Melbourne as Melbs is just so easy to get around! Sydney topped it with its weather and beaches though! It doesn’t feel like a city to us either and the touristy spots are nowhere near as busy as the ones in London. It’s an amazing city!
What’s the weirdest thing you carry when traveling?
I don’t think its weird but some do… We travel with raw cold pressed Coconut Oil. I’m obsessed, literally. It’s so cheap in Australia and it can be used for anything (Insect bites? Heat rash? Dry skin… Coconut Oil!) I have a small pot for in my day bag and the big jar in the van. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!
What’s the most adventurous thing you have done on a holiday?
So one thing you should know about Dec and I is that Dec will try anything and I’m scared of everything haha. Ok maybe not everything, but a lot! It’s certainly a lot smaller list now compared to when we first left for Australia that’s for sure! So it’s safe to say I feel like I’ve done a lot of adventurous things while we’ve been away.
My favourite and most recent adventure that had me facing a fear head on was snorkelling though!! I’m not a big fan of going in the sea above my knees and especially don’t like putting my face under water.
In Bali we’d heard you’re pretty much guaranteed to see wild Sea Turtles on the excursions so I knew I had to try. I’m glad I did too!! It was nerve wracking and scary but swimming with the turtles and seeing them in their natural home was A.MAZ.ING
What do you collect when traveling?
Everything. I’m a hoarder and if it wasn’t for Dec keeping on top of things my bag would be just tickets, receipts and random things I found along the way. We’ve put my hoarding to better use now and just collect pins and tickets. Tickets get stored in the van then bought home with us when we come to visit and added to our box of sentimentals. Pins get put on our camera bag so we can show them off.
If you could time travel, which era and area you choose?
Probably to Egypt when the pyramids were being built. They’re so mysterious that it’d be great to watch them being built and get some answers!
What your favorite international meal?
After our recent trip to Bali… anything with rice or noodles and freshly squeezed juice 😉
Our most cooked dish in the van is cajun chicken with sticky rice and veg. It’s simple and doesn’t require many pots so it’s perfect for vanlife!
What do you miss about home when traveling?
Besides family and friends, there isn’t really much else we miss. Galaxy chocolate doesn’t taste the same anywhere else but home though haha. Honestly, if we could pick up and move all our loved ones to wherever we are in the world we don’t think we’d ever miss England!
How does travel make you feel?
We feel more at home and ourselves when we’re on the road. We recently spent 3 weeks back home in England and although it was amazing seeing everyone, it wasn’t long before we felt that ‘trapped’ feeling that made us leave in the first place. Being on the road, we just don’t get that. It’s amazing to just be able to go where we want to and park up if something sparks our curiosity. It’s really opened our eyes and as cliche as it sounds; we’re better people for it.
I (Leah) thought I would feel more anxious, especially at the beginning because I’d never really been away from my family for longer than a few weeks. Even when I moved in with Dec I always saw my dad at least twice a week so it was a huge change for me. Even when things go wrong while we’re on the road, I’ve never found myself wishing I was back home. I’ve grown a lot in the past 12 months.
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What's playing on your mind this weekend? We're having a weekend for self reflection!! —— Since the whole hard drive fiasco we've lost a bit of the enthusiasm for blogging and showing off our pictures. So we've been making more effort to be in the moment and remember where we've been rather than let the photo opportunities take over —— That's the only downside to documenting your travels, even on such a small scale like ours. It's easy to get swept up in what you need for your next post that you forget to just enjoy being there. At least we have our memories of Bali, and a small selection of personal photos! —— 📷 @officertravels.photography —— #travelreflections #selfgrowth #personalhealing #baliindonesia #travelindonesia
Where is the best party scene?
That’s a tough one! We’re not really party animals so when we travel it isn’t high on our priorities. The Nusa Islands and the Gili Islands seemed to have a really busy night life though!!
Favourite travel-related book?
David Attenborough’s ‘life on air’ without a doubt. Although it isn’t strictly about travel, it talks a lot about his first gig as a radio host where he traveled to collect animals for london zoo. It’s where he started and although a lot has changed since then him and his books have most certainly been a big inspiration in my life.
Worst piece travel advice you have received?
I’m not sure any advice is strictly bad advice, I mean, if you learn something from it in the end then it’s ok. Even if it doesn’t seem it in the beginning.
Our ‘worst’ bit of advice though was being told that the hotel owners in Bali can get the cheapest rates for transport such as taxis and boats. This might be the case for a lot of accomodation but we actually ended up paying over the odds for our trip from Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida because we let the hotel arrange it. We didn’t realise he was booking us on public taxi boats, so if we had we could have saved ourselves some money by booking them ourselves on the day. This didn’t bother us too much though as even then the price for the whole day wasn’t expensive. We paid IRD $100,000 for the day with a driver, lunch and the boats, that’s only AUD$94!!
What’s your ritual when you get to new destination?
We’ve recently done a trip back to England, then back to Australia. Doing so many long haul flights (4!!) in the space of a month has meant once we hit Australia all we’ve done is sleep to try and get back on track. This is fairly normal for us if we’ve done a lot of travelling to reach a destination.
We always give ourselves 2 or 3 days of ‘rest’ so that we don’t feel like we’re rushing ourselves and it limits the risk of a travel burn out. It also means we can get our bearings a little by doing short trips to the shops for a stock up etc.
Once we’ve done our rest days, or if we haven’t had to travel too far we always hit the local markets. They’re a great way to see how the locals are, observe them and get a feel for the culture. When we had a layover in Guangzhou we spent most of it just wandering in and out of small shops and market halls. After that we usually grab some local food and manly walk around the area to get our bearings.
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