1) Hi Billie, and congratulations on being a Globelle Gal in Focus! Where in the world could we currently find you?
Hey! Thanks for having me! I'm currently trying the city life thing and living in Melbourne, Australia.
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
Snowboarding! My love for snowboarding led me to Switzerland for my first adventure abroad without the parents. Before and after University, Snowboarding continued to mould my travel plans. It was this passion that then took me to Canada for a ski season, and I haven’t looked back since.
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
I am obsessed with Canada. The mountains, the snow, the lakes, the outdoor laidback lifestyle. I can't fully explain it, but Canada just feels like home. It's really tough to decide on just one favourite place in such a vast country but I reckon it would have to be Banff, Alberta. This quaint little mountain town should be on everyone's bucket list, not least for the incredible views in every direction. Banff has everything you could want and more - snowboarding, skiing, hiking, and camping to name but a few.
4) What is the worst thing that's happened to you since being on the road? How did you deal with it?
In March, I somehow managed to scratch my cornea before embarking on a 10 hour road trip to Vancouver from Banff. If anybody has had this before, you know the pain is unlike any other. And for anybody who hasn’t, it is an extremely painful condition where the outer layer of your cornea tears leaving a constant feeling of grit or sand in the eye, redness, weeping involuntary tears, sensitivity to light and blurry vision. Suffice to say, it is not fun!
After going to the doctors straightaway and being given numbing drops, I began the journey to Vancouver. After 4 hours, the numbing drops completely stopped doing their job and bright truck lights were leaving me feeling blinded. In the end, we had to stop at a motel in Revelstoke (conveniently, and just by chance, situated directly opposite an optometrist). The eye doctor informed me of the severity of the issue and summoned me to a dark room for the next 3 days. All I wanted was Mum.
It eventually healed and we made it back to Banff but then bad luck came my way again and it somehow re-scratched itself. So I was dark room bound again for a couple of days. It really is so boring when this happens. I suggest podcasts and audiobooks if it happens to anyone reading this! Every couple of months, my cornea would re-tear and I’d have to repeat this process.
Because I was leaving to go home to the UK soon, I didn’t get anything done in Canada besides antibiotic eye drops. Whilst at home in the UK, a doctor prescribed me with some more antibiotic drops but without a consistent doctor to see all of the recurring problems (and the fact that I was heading to Australia in two weeks) it was hard for them to do much more than this.
Since getting to Australia, the situation has worsened due to the hot and dry environment. The only good thing to come out of this was the fact that I would be staying put in one place so I was able to see one doctor who could see the frequency and severity of the episodes allowing for something more to be done. Laser eye surgery here I come!
The most annoying part is that I don’t even know how I did it in the first place! But these things happen, and when they do, you have to accept that it's happened and work out how you're going to make it work for you. I know this is going to be a continual problem for a while, but i'll be damned if it was going to alter my plans. So my advice for dealing with the tough times when on the road? Keep going. Always.
5) Obviously life on the road is about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
Not going to lie, I go everywhere with my iPhone. It has everything you need on it – camera, notes, email, internet, GPS! I feel naked without it. Got to have that LifeProof case though – I've lost way too many phones to water!
6) Since being on the road, you've founded Voyage Collective, a website dedicated to travel guides that highlight hidden gems, off-the-beaten track adventures, delicious eateries and cool venues to enjoy a drink at all over the world. What inspired you to do this?
I started Voyage Collective in my last year of University. The plan after University was to travel for a couple of years so the website was going to be a way to let family and friends know what I was up to. In the end, I decided to go for more of a guide-style website so that it would appeal to more people and hopefully inspire them to visit these places too.
7) What would be your top tip to finding a hidden gem that a city has to offer?
Oooh, I have three tips:
1. Wander around the city – you never know what random little coffee shop you’ may stumble upon.
2. Speak to locals – these guys often know what’s hot and what’s not and are always happy to share their favourites with you.
3. Read other peoples’ blogs/website – this is a great way to see how others have experienced a place.
8) How would you say travelling has impacted your mind frame for how you can achieve all that you do on a daily basis?
Travelling has changed the way I do everything. It has opened up the world for me (quite literally), but most importantly it has given me the drive to create something that I am passionate about that I want to share with others. Passion combined with hard work always leads to amazing results so I’m excited to see what happens next.
9) What do you hope to achieve one day through all of your hard work?
I hope to inspire others to travel, build a website with great content that people go to for information, and obviously, to get a Canadian passport (I wasn’t joking when I said I’m obsessed with that country)!
10) What does travelling mean to you?
Experiencing something new, seeing the world in a different light, being out of my comfort zone and living in the moment!
Like education, travelling is something that nobody can take away from you. One of the things I love most about travelling is the fact that everybody’s experience is different so it really is limitless as to what can happen in this big wide world.
11) If you had one piece of advice to those travelling for the first time, either in a group or solo, what would it be?
Just do it! Don't be scared, worried or anything – I know that’s easier said than done but as soon as you start travelling, you'll forget about all of these worries. But the key is to just do it. I promise you’ll never look back.
12) And finally, how can our gals get in touch with yourself & the Voyage Collective team?
Anyone can get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Facebook (www.facebook.com/voyagecollective), Instagram (www.instagram.com/voyagecollective) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/voyagecollectiv)!