1) Hi Mel, and congratulations on being featured as a globelle gal in focus! Can you tell us where in the world we can currently find you?
Thank you so much! It is an honour to be featured on a site that is both inspirational and informative in all the best ways!
I am currently at home in Hobart, the charming seaside city in the little gem that is Tasmania, an island found right beneath mainland Australia.
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
I’ll be honest and it’s not pretty – it was mostly jealousy. I was in a rut, halfway through my law degree, about ready to quit and I just needed to get away. I watched so many friends jetting off and having their own adventures and I felt trapped by incessant University and work demands. On a whim, my best friend and I visited a travel agent. We left that visit having booked flights to Europe…
Sometimes things are better when they aren’t planned. I think we danced our way back to the car that day.
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
FINLAND. It was the very first international destination I visited so it will always hold a special place in my heart. I travelled with my best friend up to Rovaniemi, where we embraced our inner child and went crazy over all the Christmas themed experiences on offer. We promptly made our way to go and meet SANTA. Yes, Santa. I don’t know why your parents ever told you he isn’t real…. I have met him, he definitely exists.
Even if he did shatter the illusion a little by telling us about his holiday to Australia, which he was obviously fibbing about, because we deduced he'd have to come here all the time to supervise his Elves.
4) Who would you say has been the most influential person to your travels, and why?
I don’t feel that I could ever name just one person. I think the temporary, surprisingly intense friendships deserve a mention however.
During my first trip overseas with my best friend, she discovered she was pregnant (to her long-term boyfriend back home) so she decided to travel home while I continued on solo for another 3 weeks. I was unexpectedly on my own, feeling nervous and missing my bestie on my first night in a new country with a hostel room to myself, when a girl entered at around 11pm. We talked nearly all night, shared intimate details of our lives with each other and formed a fast friendship for the 2.5 days we were together. I am forever grateful for that temporary friendship, for I feel it sparked my love for solo travel and a confidence in myself that I didn't even know I'd been missing.
Fun Fact: I met this girl in Stockholm and then weeks later randomly met her friends in another hostel in Singapore – that cliché about the world being a small place? It’s TRUE.
5) What is the worst thing that's happened to you since being on the road? How did you deal with it?
Luckily there have been no overwhelming “I just want to go homeeee” moments for me. The struggles I have encountered have been mostly related to being a solo female traveller (which I guess played a part in fuelling my passion for Ladies Gone Global).
I have been made to feel vulnerable in various ways, from being followed by men in Madrid, Spain, to being targeted by a woman, whom I suspect was trying to commit identity theft, in Helsinki, Finland, to having to wrestle for my bag from a would-be thief in Vienna, Austria.
All of these ordeals could have culminated in a feeling of powerlessness, but instead I focused on the feeling of triumph, having emerged from those situations unscathed. Sometimes, you’ve got to relish the small wins.
6) Obviously life on the road is about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
I think one of our most underrated modern inventions is the Kindle (also referred to as an e-reader). I swear by them. You have so many books at your fingertips, without the added baggage (because would you really want to pay for those overweight bags?!?). It's brilliant.
I'm such a fan of pretending I am a local when I visit a new place, I like to settle in a park/coffee shop/random public space and spend time reading and people-watching. It creates a beautiful memory, not to mention gives you a feel for the vibe of your destination. I also think there is no better way to fall in love with a book than by reading it in a special place.
7) You're the founder of a fellow female travel community, the wonderful Ladies Gone Global. What inspired you to do this?
A little while ago I volunteered in a safe house for young women. During my time working with the girls I came to find that many of them didn’t think they were capable of University, let alone doing something like a student exchange, internships or even travelling for leisure. Coming from a relatively privileged background (by comparison), I was shocked that for some, travel isn’t considered a possibility. It was certainly a reality check.
From there I mulled over the idea for Ladies Gone Global for quite some time. It is still at the very early stages of developing an audience, but I think the idea is resonating with many young women. I want to provide general travel opportunities to young female travellers, and eventually be able to help fund the travels of financially disadvantaged women in order for them to go on student exchange, pursue an internship or volunteer overseas.
8) How do you manage to balance your role of inspiring women alongside other commitments you have? What advice would you give to our equally ambitious globelle gals with a lot on to keeping on top of it all?
Small steps! I think one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to have perspective. To acknowledge the small achievements, to own and learn from the mistakes, to move forward with positivity and to stop putting pressure on ourselves to achieve it ALL and do it ALL NOW.
We have to recognise when it’s time to take a step back too. When it gets too much, when you feel like you’re failing at everything, losing direction, lacking motivating and questioning why you even bother – that’s the point where you should be taking a break. I think it is important to give ourselves permission to do this, because otherwise the pressure has the potential to become overwhelming, which can then turn into the dreaded burn-out, with it all becoming a way bigger deal than it should have been.
In short ladies, don't be so hard on yourself. Good things take time, and a lot of hard work (as I have to keep reminding myself!). It'll be worth the wait in the end.
9) What do you hope to achieve one day through all of your hard work?
I would like to say that I have improved the lives of some young ladies that felt defeated, lost or unimportant. I want them to know that they have the potential to succeed in whatever they dream of doing with their life and that no matter what social, political or economic barriers stand in their way – they can break through them. Maybe that seems idealistic and maybe it IS idealistic… but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel that LGG might be able to have some sort of positive impact. That is what I hope to do with the project.
10) What does travelling mean to you?
Travelling means empowerment. I know, I know, totally a buzzword at the moment - but I really feel in my element, when I am OUT of my element… if that makes sense? I like to be challenged, I like to solve problems and I like to feel confronted and uncomfortable (to a point) because I believe that this is the best way to learn.
You discover so much about yourself and the world by travelling and I believe that this is invaluable experience that can’t be gained within the comfortable bubble of home life.
11) If you could offer one piece of advice to those travelling for the first time, either as part of a group or solo, what would it be?
Go without expectations. Treasure every moment for what it is instead of hoping it was different. Do not jeopardise your experience by wishing for something other than what it is. Own the experience, be present in the moment, soak in the sights, sounds, smells – let all of your senses be invigorated by your surroundings and commit the moments to memory. We live in an age where so much of our life is lived without being present, and I believe that this robs us of so many special moments, so you have to consciously train yourself to be grateful and to be THERE. This will improve your experience tenfold – trust me.
12) And finally, how can girls get in touch with you, and Ladies Gone Global as a whole?
The main platform for LGG is on Instagram where you can find in excess of 20 thousand beautiful women sharing their adventures with our lovely community of female travellers.
LGG also has a website which features articles about solo travel, safety tips, first time travel etc at: