Each Tuesday I feature an interview with someone living outside of their home country, or a travel enthusiast set on seeing the world. Today’s interview is with travel blogger, Desiree, a native of the island of Malta and founder of The Anti-Tourist blog, where she aims to share her mission to “discover the last few hidden spots of the world” with her readers. Read along to learn why she thinks it’s possible to travel on a budget and find out if you’re an “anti-tourist” yourself!
Hi Desiree, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Desiree, 21, and I’m from Malta. I’m currently reading for a law degree (I promise it’s not as boring as it sounds), I love literature and am very passionate about social activism and civil rights. Obviously, I also love travelling and I fly away from home whenever I get the opportunity!
Would you recommend we travel to Malta? Where is it exactly?
Malta is a tiny island right in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. It’s a gorgeous slice of sunny heaven almost every day of the year, and it has something for everyone. Be it the nightlife, the food or the natural wonders such as Comino’s Blue Lagoon, you’re never bored in Malta. Its history is an amazing story too, going back thousands of years. Did you know that our Neolithic Temples, scattered all over the island, are older than the Pyramids in Egypt?
I’d recommend a visit to anyone, but my tip would be to come around April or May – the heat won’t be that unbearable, there won’t be so many tourists around and you’ll have the undivided attention of us friendly locals – come say hi!
Tell us about your blog. What makes it different from so many other travel blogs?
Mainly, two things. First, it’s different in the sense that it highlights the ‘normal’ way of travelling. Most of us follow the adventures of full time travelers online, dreaming that one day we too will manage to quit our boring jobs and just roam the planet, and get paid for it. For most of us, however, that just can’t be the case. That is what I write about – as a student with a very tight budget and schedule to abide by, including months of examinations and studying, I have to plan my travels in advance and with my commitments in mind, which is what most of us have to do. That doesn’t mean that our travels aren’t as fun or memorable! I’d like to show my readers that you don’t have to be commitment free to travel. Life will always get in the way, you just have to learn how to dance around it!
Secondly, as the name of my blog implies, I don’t like classic modes of travelling. That is, you won’t see me dead posing by the tower in Pisa, trying to hold it up, or rushing to London in January just for the crazy sales. Sure, I love Tuscany and I adore Britain, and I love admiring the heritage of iconic sites, but I also love looking up and hunting for those secret unknown spots, away from the touristy hustle and bustle of the busier areas! That way, I feel like I get to really know the place I’m visiting, together with its people, of course. If you think you might like that kind of travelling, check out my ‘Anti-Tourist Test’ right here!
Why did you decide to start a blog? Any tips for people who want to start their own blog?
It was a little under a year ago. I had just returned from a great trip in Florence and I was bursting to show my friends and family all the interesting spots I’d found, but I didn’t want to spam anyone else with my rants and photos. A blog sounded like the perfect compromise, and so my online adventure began! I was surprised to find my following began to increase gradually, and today my readers span from countries all around the world – for which I’m incredibly grateful.
If I had to start blogging from the beginning once again, my advice would be to write about something you’re really passionate. Blogging is demanding and time-consuming, but as long as you love what you’re writing about, it won’t feel like a chore!
What’s the most difficult part about traveling? What’s the best part?
Being a student, I can only travel if I budget very carefully. I save up, prioritize expenses and even then I look for cheaper flights and accommodation. So I’d have to say that costs are the tough part of travelling! As for the best part, everything else fits the bill. I don’t mind layovers or hours cramped in a bus if that means I get to see incredible new places!
What have you learned from traveling?
This will sound clichéd, but travel does change your perspective on life. The people you meet and places you see rid you of prejudice, and the more you travel the more your sense of adventure grows.
Oh, and travelling makes you more responsible whether you like it or not – you won’t be going far if you lose your passport or leave your tickets behind!
What´s the best place you´ve ever traveled to?
My all time favourite has to be Adrasan, in Southern Turkey. It’s a tiny village nestled in a cove of mountains, and it’s the most unspoilt place I’ve ever visited – a sense of peace oozes out of it. It’s not exactly the easiest place to reach, but trust me, it’s worth the trip. Its beach is simply dreamy, and there’s a floating bamboo hotel hidden in a creek!
Do you have a bucket list? Would you share with us a couple of things on that list?
Well, I can basically sum up my bucket list in one goal: see the whole world! But highlights would definitely include spending a whole year away from home, visiting Hobbiton (yes I’m a geek) and wandering around the streets of Havana, in Cuba – I have a feeling those streets have quite a story to tell!
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about traveling, but are feeling doubtful?
Just go. I know it may be scary, and I know it may feel like you might fall behind in your day-to-day life, but the older you get, the more responsibilities and commitments you’ll have that won’t allow you to go where you please. The memories you make now will stay with you forever, and believe it or not, some of the experiences you live may actually help your career!
Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on travel with us Desiree! I know this interview has certainly got me daydreaming about the next trip I’ll be taking (Malta perhaps?). If you want to learn more about Desiree and her travels you can find her on her blog, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Have you got your own story to tell? Are you living outside of your home country or love to travel? I’m always looking for global citizens to feature as part of the Tuesday interview series, so don’t hesitate to get in touch!