1) Hi Helena, and congratulations on being featured as our globelle gal in focus! Can you tell us where in the world we can currently find you?
Hi GT! I am currently living in London, working as the Community Editor at Urban Outfitters HQ.
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
It's hard to pinpoint where exactly my love for exploration and travel comes from. I grew up in the English countryside which was idyllic and lovely, but I always knew there was more to see than the villages I grew up in.
More than that, I wanted to meet people with different experiences and different stories to tell. I wanted to witness different cultures for myself, first hand. I wanted to explore.
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
That's such a difficult question! There are so many amazing cities out there, it's hard to play favourites.
But if I am, Reykjavik, Iceland is the absolute dream and one of the most memorable trips I've been on. The journey from the airport to the city was surreal on another level, like we'd landed on the moon or arrived on the set for Game of Thrones.
I loved everything about the place; from the colourful toy houses to the beautiful, sweeping landscapes. We visited in June and I remember sitting outside a cafe with a bottle of wine at 7pm, watching the sun high in the sky. Even when we fell into bed at night, it was still daylight outside; it was super disorientating!
The thing I was most excited to see though were the black sand beaches; picture it, roaring white waves crashing against coal-black shorelines - can it get more beautiful than that?! I'd love to go back for longer and explore more of the country.
4) What is the worst thing that's happened to you since being on the road? How did you deal with it?
After I finished university I booked one-way flights to Berlin and enrolled on a German language course. It's a city that captured my heart from the moment I touched down at Schonefeld, but my first month was tougher than I had expected. The hardest thing was moving away from friends and family.
Although I was having an amazing time, there were moments when I missed being able to message a friend and head out to dinner or grab some drinks. My phone book had suddenly shrunk to the size of five people and it felt pretty isolating. The only way to deal with it was to start exploring by myself, which quickly became completely normal and really liberating.
I rented a bike, a bold move for someone who lacks coordination as much as I do, and cycled around the city, exploring cafes and parks. I took myself out to dinner solo for the first time, and to my complete surprise it wasn't a terrible, terrible experience. I was too busy eating all of the sushi to worry.
5) Who would you say has been the most influential person to your travels, and why?
Rather than one person, I'd say the people who inspire me the most are the ones who have discovered their passions and made every effort to pursue them. Whether that's taking a chance by moving to the other side of the world to start a new life, or putting everything on the line for a project they are wholly committed to.
6) Obviously life on the road is about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
From a practical point of view, my phone is everything. Kudos to the woman who can successfully navigate her way through life without the assistance of Google Maps. However, my actual answer would have to be a pile of paperbacks. For the days when life gets a bit too much, it's reassuring to know you can slip away into someone else's world for a few hours. I've lost count of the times when having a book in my bag has saved me from boredom on long train rides, delayed flights, rainy afternoons or sunny days in the park.
7) What is it about travelling that you love to capture when on the road? As an avid photographer, what would be your tips for any female travellers tempted to try exploring behind the lens?
I've always loved photography, but it's only been with my job at Urban Outfitters that I've had the opportunity to take it on in professionally, which has been incredible. I love capturing the colours and mood of the place I am visiting. Candid photography can also be really beautiful and the end results = completely lovely. I was recently given a film camera which I need to make time to experiment with. I'm sure my first roll will be a mess, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
For any female travellers wanting to experiment with photography, the most important thing is to get stuck in. Don't be afraid your photos might turn out badly, or it's not 'the perfect shot'. Photography is a journey too, and the more you snap the better you'll get.
Having a good understanding of manual settings is important too. Get to grips with your aperture, shutter speed and ISO and you'll start to understand how to take better shots. It may seem daunting at first, but you'll pick it up quickly and your shots will see the benefit.
Most importantly, have fun with it!
8) One of the things we love about you Helena at HQ is even when you're not at the road, you approach life with the same passion for exploration. What tips would you have for any of our adventurers out there trying to make the most of the days they don't find themselves on the road? How did you gain such a balanced outlook?
I recently got out of a job that wasn't really for me, which made all the difference in the world. Finding a job that inspires you is super important because it alters your entire outlook on life. Since starting at UO, I've been all kinds of keen for making the most out of every weekend, exploring the corners of the city, and living like a complete tourist. So for me I guess, gaining a balance meant recognising where, and what, you find happiness in. And then making sure that every part of your life is contributing to it in some way.
As for tips of how to make the most of not being on the road, make a bucket list of what you want to do, and actively seek new inspiration! I have an ever-growing bucket list that I'm constantly adding to from recommendations by friends, things I see on Pinterest or other people's blogs. Put time aside to discover new opportunities in your neighbourhood, and let the little things inspire you too!
I'm sure I drive my boyfriend crazy when I suddenly halt in the street to take a photo whilst he strides ahead, only to realise he lost me to a photo opportunity five minutes previously. (HQ: Another example of the #instaboyfs trend rising, are we right?)
9) What do you hope to achieve one day from all of your experiences?
I'd love to found a print publication around travel and lifestyle, but I'm a believer in taking things slow and doing it right. Although it would be hugely exciting, it would also be a massive challenge financially and personally. For now, I'm happy where I am, exploring and wandering along the way.
10) What does travelling mean to you?
For me, travelling is humbling and gives you perspective. By meeting different people, putting yourself into different cultures and seeing how things are done in different places, it forces you to re-evaulate your 'norm'. The result can only ever be a good thing.
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?
There's no one way to do things and you shouldn't put pressure on yourself to have the perfect experience, 100% of the time. There'll be good and bad days, and that's totally fine.
12) And finally, how can girls get in touch with you?
You can find me 'gramming and tweeting at: