1) Hi Charlotte, and congratulations on being a globelle gal in focus! Where in the world could we currently find you?
Thanks! Right now I'm in transit between the breathtaking Fiji where the local motto is 'no hurry no worry', and the slightly faster paced LA-LA land (Los Angeles)!
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
I'm the youngest of a big family and grew up admiring the many adventures that my parents and siblings had taken. When I was 14, one of my sisters took a gap year and I actually met her for three weeks which was at the time the longest I had been away from my parents for, let alone the first time travelling alone! Safe to say, I was hooked by the idea of travelling after that!!
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
Over the last 5 or so years I've spoilt myself by visiting some spectacular places so that's always a hard question to answer. South Africa is certainly a favourite for culture and landscape, but I have to say Fiji has absolutely taken my breath away. Thanks to its stunning environment and friendly people, it's definitely up there near the top of my list too.
4) Who would you say has been the most influential person to your travels, and why?
Again this one probably comes back around to my family. Seeing my sisters and brother work hard so that they could take incredible trips around the world definitely shaped the way I thought about using my own hard earned cash!
5) What is the worst thing that's happened to you on the road? How did you deal with it?
I like to think I've been very fortunate on my travels considering I have visited a few countries that aren't thought of as "safe" by myself. I did however leave my purse in a bar in Johannesburg the night before flying alone to Brazil, meaning I arrived on a new continent with no debit card or cash (other than what I had managed to beg and borrow in Johannesburg!). I had enough to pay for 6 nights in a hostel in Rio, and 4 mangoes a day to live on. I was hit by the flu and lost a lot of my travel weight (silver lining). Fortunately, my parents were able to set up a Western Union account after a week to save me until they could post new cards!
I'm a pretty laid back traveller and when things go wrong I tend to feel grateful that they weren't worse, but arriving in a new country where you know no one and have very little money to your name is quite a daunting experience. I like to think that it made me more responsible with important items on the road... But I know that those who know me would say that's not quite the case!!
6) Obviously life on the road about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
This is a hard one! It's easy now to say my iPhone, because of its efficiency to play the role of camera and contact with the real world. However, the last couple of years I got on just fine on travelling without one, and even in recent times when they have been ummm...misplaced... Permanently. Whoops.
7) For a large part of your travels, you were studying full time beforehand. How did you find balancing your studies and finding time to save and plan for your travels. What tips would you share for girls also in the same position?
I can't remember a time in the past 6 years in school and University when I haven't been saving for my "next big trip". Booking flights to new countries has always been at the forefront of my spending habits, whether I have been in the position to or not! During education, I worked regularly to keep myself afloat. However, when it came to the summer breaks I would take every shift going, dedicating those few months of spare time to funding a 2 week trip just before going back to study.
As with anything in life, if you want it badly enough, you'll find a way to do it and get yourself there. It couldn't be more worthwhile no matter how many tiring shifts you have to put in, or nights out with the girls you have to miss to afford it (HQ: Preach!)
8) You've been to a variety of places solo and as part of a group. What do you look for in a travelling companion?
I've always been happy to travel alone if none of my friends have had an interest in joining me to that particular location. Luckily I have a few close to me who share an interest in experiencing the wild and wonderful, so have also enjoyed many trips with great companions who were both friends and family. As long as they have eyes as wide as mine and a longing to explore the REAL side of new cultures and countries (not just the shiny resort) then they are welcome to join me.
9) What destinations are still on your bucket list?
Still on my bucketlist are the remaining wonders of the world that I haven't seen. I set myself a goal of seeing all 7 in 7 years. So far I am 4 down with 3 to go (yet to see the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, and Petra). I have 3 years left to complete the task, so am on track so far!
10) What does travelling mean to you?
None of us get out of this world alive... In the end, all that is important is surrounding yourself with lots and lots of photos of the fantastic things you've seen with the people that made you smile - and to me, travelling makes all of this possible.
11) If you could offer one piece of advice to those considering travelling for the first time, either solo or as part of a group, what would it be?
My only advice is to not put off a trip for any reason, there will always be an excuse to "wait until next year". There is nothing better that you could spend your money on than seeing this incredible world and making life long friends along the way. The friends and partners that want to share it with you, will. If they don't, then they will still be there when you get back (if they're supposed to be!!).
12) And finally, how can Globelle Gals get in touch and follow your journey?
You can follow my journey on Instagram at @charlottelgriffiths, if I'm not currently travelling when you take a look - it won't be long before I next am so stay tuned!