35 questions – Lara Lain talks travel and inspiration

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Some times life really does make you want to chuck things out of windows.

I currently have 39 drafted and unpublished posts on my blog, thats 39 times I have sat down to write, for up to three hours at a time and not completed my own words.

39 lots of blurred lines has been frustrating and not something I have had trouble with before. Writers block is NOT my mate.

… So with the itch to write but not the will to finish what I was about¬†to publish recently, I decided to try and give myself a rev-up with my¬†writing again by answering some travel-inspired interview questions I found online.

Anything to get the cogs turning again! Hope you enjoy reading and here’s to ‘normal’ pieces resuming soon!


1. 7 words that say a bit about you?

Run, write, explore, marketeer, dance, laugh, BONDI.

2. Which country do you come from/call home?

Wales, in the UK, is and always will be where I get the ‘there’s no place¬†like home feeling. I was born and raised in Pembrokeshire, in the West.

Beautiful beaches complete the Pembs coast line, when the sun shows its¬†face you feel like you don’t need to be anywhere else!

3. Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?

I started as a backpacker on a ‘6 month trip’, leaving the UK on 3rd¬†January 2014. Now, well over 2 years later I am living and working in

Sydney, Australia … Time flies when you’re having fun! This was not¬†my plan!

4. How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/ other)?

Before leaving home I sold pretty much everything I owned (which I now sometimes regret as I have had to build essentials back up!), but it was all with the main goal in mind Рto save for my trip.

I also worked full time in London and had savings that I had accumulated through buying and selling horses over the years too.

… Now, I work here to live here. The money is brilliant in Australia¬†compared to home, it is the good life!

5. What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?

My first clear memory of being out of the UK was a trip to Germany where my little cousin had been born, I was 7 at the time. I just remember seeing snow!

6. Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

Everywhere is never exactly how I imagined but New Zealand was off the¬†scale! Flying there in April 2015 from Australia, I thought it would offer me a ‘quieter’, more laid back, life where I could buckle down and save¬†some money.

It was the complete opposite! With parties in Queenstown pretty much every day of the week and the wages the lowest I had ever worked for. Saving was a nigh-on impossible task but it was a crazy amount of fun!

7. Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

I’ve lost two great people I was lucky enough to call my friends, in tragic road accidents, while I’ve been on the road. One I met in Australia and¬†one I met in Thailand, both I shared some of the best times of my life¬†with. I will never, ever forget them.

8. Most dangerous experience whilst travelling?

A deranged local man broke into my room in Don Det (4000 islands) in Laos. I was asleep and had no idea. I woke up to find him sitting on my pillow,¬†leaning over me. I didn’t realise he was not (!!) one of my friends until I turned the light on.

We managed to get him out but he later came back, trying again to get into my room through a different door. Nothing happened but it could have been so much worse. I am usually pretty chilled but that genuinely scared the shit out of me.

9. Do you have any funny travel stories?

There are so, so many! Most days something hilarious happens when you¬†travel – laughing amid random situations is one of the best things about¬†being on the road …

One sticks in my mind from Salvador, Brazil. I was there volunteering on a fan campsite for the World Cup in 2014. Boys in our group gave one of the locals on the campsite $100 to go out and get supplies for our team.

”Cacassa Charlie”, as we nicknamed him, went on the missing list for¬†about 12 hours, coming back high as a kite, smiling like a goof, in a new¬†t-shirt and brand new trainers that were at least 6 sizes too big for him¬†with no sign of goods for the group! He had blown it all in the Favela!

10. Most exhilarating experience whilst travelling?

The Nevis bungy jump in Queenstown, Sky Diving in Taupo, Cliff jumping in Australia, those kind of things push you to your physical and mental limits but they are obvious ones that many will relate to.

… The feeling just as a plane leaves the ground for my next destination, wherever it may be, for whatever reason is always a feeling that gets me¬†every time!¬†It makes me take stock of where I’ve been, where I’m going next and makes¬†me feel lucky to even be flying anywhere at all. Travel life is a blessed¬†life!

11. Where is your favourite place in the world?

SYDNEY! I lived in London for 5 years before I travelled and used to love¬†the bones of the UK’s capital but as time went on my love for it subsided a bit and I felt the need to leave, to move on pastures new.

From day 1 Sydney has given me the ‘Oh My God! I LOVE this city’ and I am¬†certain it always will, Sydney is my place.

12. Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

1.Take my little sister to Bondi. My little (middle) sister is currently¬†10 and obsessed with Bondi! She watches Bondi Rescue back home and can’t¬†wait to visit one day. I can’t wait to take her when the time comes!

2. Visit The Philippines. In 2015 I was intent in getting there but never made it, I got obsessed with the idea but ended up in New Zealand instead! So I still feel I owe it to myself to get there at some point.

3. Get a dog. As soon as I know my life will allow it this must happen!

4. Run a half marathon. I run between 5k and 8k 5 days a week for fun, I¬†just love running and get grumpy if I don’t got for more than 2 days at a¬†time. It’s a big part of my life and to complete a half marathon would be a great achievement.

5. Finally settle down and raise a happy family full of love, fun and adventure (and complete with dog called Luigi!). Not yet though, this is a few years away in my mind!.

13. Can you imagine life without travel?

Yes and I often think ‘What if I hadn’t done this…’.¬†Life was great at home, I went away because I love life and wanted to get¬†more out of it, not because I was unhappy. Life would have still been fab¬†at home, just very, very different to my ‘norm’ now.

But a life without travel wasn’t meant for me! So here I am …

14. If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?

I would no doubt be working for a global brand, as I have always done, most likely in a Head of Marketing or similar role as my experience would have¬†built even more in the last 2 years (my last job before leaving home was a Senior Digital Marketing Manager for a leading international brand).¬†I probably would have settled down (a bit) by now and would have surely had a dog if nothing else ūüėČ

15. When did you begin your blog?

I starting writing a blog in 2009 when I worked for LOOK magazine, the UK’s biggest selling fashion weekly magazine. I worked with bloggers on a daily basis and thought ‘I could do that!’.¬†My blog became a popular read at the time as I was writing about fashion¬†and all the behind-the-scenes fun of my job in the fashion world.¬†When I left to travel I re-launched my blog into an open diary of my¬†adventures on the road but I kind of outgrew that. I have been writing this current blog for a year and will keep this one!

16. Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?

I used to mainly write for others when I first started Рwhen readers started following I would get a buzz as my statistics grew. I soon realised I was writing for the wrong reasons Рthese days I only write when I really feel something; whether that be something pressing in my mind, something I have learned or something I simply think must be shared. I hope to give readers something to smile about, learn from, or to relate to in some way.

17. What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?

My writing is often the window to my soul, sometimes I say too much but¬†thats just how I am. I am an ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl and my blog is¬†the same! I am always honest and often write about things other people¬†think but won’t open up about.

I love to hear I have helped people with their travel plans or inspired them to chase their dreams. I have had readers, many whom I have never met, say I have had them in tears with some posts. I find this kind of crazy but I get it РI am on their level Рus humans often think the same shit!

18. What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?

Writing about Love on the road shook some feathers and started a few¬†arguments on a Facebook page in Queenstown in 2015. With one lady taking¬†offence that I had written about what people go through – that was the point though … we all go through similar things! I just happen to write about them! That post was read by thousands from all over the globe.

19. What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?

I can’t name one in particular but sometimes I write and it just comes out, words pour out of me and my fingers can just about keep up with my mind.

It is great feeling of relief once I finish a post.¬†I get inwardly anxious if I need to write but the words won’t come out,¬†hence me doing this post now to give myself a bit of inner calm and hopefully restore my inspiration to get back into writing more regularly again.

I also enjoy writing life-inspiration posts for List For Life too. Check it out for lots of inspo posts from various writers.

20. If you could build a home from scratch what would you include in it that you have seen on your travels? 

Comfy big bean bags to chill on! A big speaker for sunny parties in the¬†garden! … To have a sun filled house with a balcony complete with hammock would be pretty special! I would like a massive, handmade Dreamcatcher¬†hung somewhere full of natural light too.

21. What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?

I have a massive, amazing, Nikon camera (which I am not that great at using yet!) at home. I need to get it sent out to me in Australia when I settle in a home long term as it really is wasted at home without me using it!

22. For you, what are the most and least liveable cities you’ve visited?

Melbourne is a great city! If Sydney didn’t exist I would be living there. I went there first when I came to Straya and thought that would be my place… then I came to Sydney and it all changed within a few days … Sydney¬†got me!

As much as I love Asia I couldn’t live in any of their cities long term,¬†they are all chaotic, so much fun for trips through though!

23. Do you have any irrational fears that your travels have helped you overcome? How?

I’ve never been one for fear, I feel the fear and do it anyway!.¬†But I do live in ‘fear’ of not doing everything I want to – travel life¬†allows me to do what I want and essentially chase my dreams every day so¬†its perfect for now.

24. 3 things you really miss from your life before travel?

1. I always miss my family and my friends. I miss the little things like actually having influence from my family in my day-to-day life and chats with my Mum etc that you take for granted when you are at home. I was so lucky to have a special group of close friends. Facebook and FaceTime has to be sufficient at times though.

2. I miss festivals in the UK! I am a party girl and they were my life¬†every summer but right now my life essentially IS a holiday so I can’t¬†complain.

3. I miss having my own dog. I can’t wait until the time is right to have a dog again, alongside horses, they’re my best animals in the world.

25. What’s something you pack that’s not absolutely essential but you like having it?

A diary! If the pages are blank its because I am having too much fun!! I wrote in mine about 5 times during my 3 months working on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand from November 2015. I would love to be able to look back on my notes from those crazy days but I was too caught up in it to record anything!

26. Any common travel/travel blogger wisdom that you disagree with? 

That girls can’t travel safely on their own. I did it, so do many others.¬†If you’ve got the guts you can do whatever you want in this world.

27. What do you know now about traveling cheaply that you wish you’d known earlier?

I have wasted SO MUCH money during my travels, booking flights and not¬†getting on the plane has cost me around $2,500 in 2 years, but at the time things changed as I wanted them to I don’t regret it. But I could have been a bit smarter and just stopped booking ahead!

28. If you had to give up your passport and get another country’s passport, what would you pick?

A UK passport is amazing, we have the WHOLE of Europe to explore, work in, travel whenever we please. I obviously would say Australia but my family is at home so if push came to shove I would say ‘Thank you but nope!’ and¬†keep my UK identity …

29. Favourite Animal experience when travelling?

Once while farming in Australia in 2014 a group of about 20 of us had a day off and went to a beach near Bundaberg called Burnett heads. We spotted¬†Hump Back Whales out at sea. Our eyes couldn’t believe what we were seeng!¬†It was magic and extra special as it was completely random and there were¬†so many of us there. It was the only day off in 4 months that we all went¬†to the beach like that, seeing them was just unreal!

30. Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

1. Make the most of your age vs your visas! If you want to go somewhere,¬†make sure you factor how long you have to travel freely and on what visas¬†as time goes quick and you can’t turn back the clock!

2. Decide where you want to go and go, trust yourself and don’t look back.

3. If the itch is in you get out and do it! You are better off living a¬†‘Can’t believe I did that!’ than a ‘Can’t believe I didn’t go for it when I had the chance…’ life.

31. 3 things you would tell yourself Now vs Before you travelled?

1. Don’t spend ALL your money. I did and so did many of my friends, money¬†comes and goes and its certainly not the end of the world if you blow it¬†all. But even if you keep a few grand aside its something if you need an¬†emergency flight home …

2. Keep a diary. Take photos. Record videos. Update social media … record as much of your life as you can and BACK IT ALL UP. I recently lost 4¬†months of photos and videos when I lost my phone. Koh Phi Phi, Bali, Perth and Sydney times all gone!

3. Don’t let little things become big things, you look back and wonder¬†what all the fuss was about sometimes.

32. What has travel taught you?

– No matter where I am in the world, I’m still me.

– My friends have shaped a lot of my life since hitting the road.

– I will always miss home.

– Travel is undoubtedly one of the best things anyone can ever do. FACT.

33. What couldn’t you live without while travelling?

My friends. People who travel will understand Рour friends become the family we choose for ourselves. Corny but true!.

34. Any regrets?

Of course I would have done some things differently – handling money,¬†holiday flings that took up too much time, leaving places sooner than¬†perhaps I should have …

But on the whole, no regrets, everything is how it is meant to be.

35. What is next?

I am currently looking for a new home in Sydney, and trying to secure¬†sponsorship. If my sponsorship doesn’t come off I will be making the most¬†of Australia while I can and heading home when my second year is up in¬†February 2017.

I will have done around 15 countries and over 3 years on the road by then, what a journey it has been and it ain’t over yet!

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Thank you for reading

@LaraLain

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