Welcome back to another Feature Friday! Today, we have the pleasure of meeting Jill. Jill is a travel blogger as well, and in her blog, she combines two of my favorite things – reading and travelling. Jill has taken the time to share her thoughts on travel-related topics, and share a little about her blogging journey. Let’s see what she has to say:
1. Thank you for deciding to be a part of Feature Friday. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
Of course! My name is Jill and my blog is Reading the Book: http://readingthebook.blog. It’s based on one of my favourite quotes, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”, which has been attributed to St Augustine. It’s also a play on the fact that, as well as travelling, I love to read – and if I can read about travel, even better!
2. Why did you decide to become a travel blogger?
I’ve actually come to travel blogging fairly recently. I started it originally because I have SO many stories in my head about the places I have travelled to, and wanted to record them for myself and for friends and family. But I’ve quickly discovered the blogging world and the amazing network of other bloggers who love travel as much as I do, so it’s growing way beyond what I expected and I couldn’t be happier!
3. What do you love so much about travelling?
I absolutely love the human aspect of travel: meeting people from other cultures whose backgrounds and experiences are so completely different from my own. Getting to see places and landscapes is an incredible bonus, but the most meaningful moments are the ones where I’ve engaged with local people and learnt something about their world which I hadn’t appreciated before.
4. Have you regretted doing something while travelling?
After 15 years of travel, I’m still learning, from my own experiences and from other travellers. It’s hard to strike a balance between documenting your experiences and exploiting local people, and there have been moments where I have paid children for photographs or haggled harder than I should, and only thought about the repercussions afterwards. Each time I do something I regret, I take it forward and learn from it, but it doesn’t stop me looking back and thinking “I wish I hadn’t done that”.
5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done while travelling?
I’m not a thrill-seeker, so mostly I stick to activities that aren’t too scary. But I think the biggest “eek!” moments have come from encounters with wild animals in Africa. Waking up at 2am to hear hyenas attacking the food trailer just outside your tent is something that tends to stick in your mind!
6. What is your most embarrassing travel story?
I’m prone to nosebleeds in hot weather, and I had a massive nosebleed in a market in India on one occasion. I just remember sitting on the kerb, blood pouring from my nose, while people flocked around me and a beggar with a club foot stared at me with a pitying look on his face. (That was a humanising moment right there!). I’m also generally embarrassed by any full-length photos of me on my travels: did I REALLY think that comfy outfit actually looked good?!
7. Have you ever travelled solo? Would you do it again? If you haven’t, would you ever do it?
I travel solo a lot, and I absolutely love it. There are countries where I would stick to group travel, either for safety reasons or because it’s just so much easier to have a guide sort out the logistics for you, but when it’s safe and feasible I do love to go it alone. You can blend in better, do exactly as you please, and it’s a great time for reflection and disconnecting from the world at home. I would encourage everyone to try it.
8. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the least? Why?
I went to Hong Kong recently and really didn’t enjoy it that much, which surprised me. I’d come straight from Taiwan, so perhaps it was that, but Hong Kong was busy, impersonal and didn’t feel remotely like a Chinese city. But I was only there for a day, so I will probably give it another chance sometime.
9. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the most? Why?
By an absolute mile, India. I love the colours, the food, the friendliness of the people and the way that life is completely unfiltered and unapologetic. I don’t feel any pressure to be anything but myself there, and it’s the one place I keep going back to.
10. If you had to choose one place to live for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?
This surprises most people when I say it, but I would stay in my home country of the UK. Family and friends are here, and it’s so important to have your own identity and a secure base to come home to. But if I had to live in another country, I would probably settle for somewhere sunny with good connections to the rest of the world, so maybe somewhere like Dubai or Singapore.
11. Are there any social norms or practices you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were normal in your native culture?
Coming from the UK, everyone is in their own little bubble and it’s not normal to smile and make eye contact with everyone you meet. There is a friendliness to strangers in many other countries which would be a nice thing to have. But we Brits make amazing friends when you get to know us!
12. Is there anywhere you would not visit? Where, and why?
I’m pescatarian (I eat fish but no meat), so anywhere that involves animal slaughter would be an absolute non-starter for me, much as I appreciate that not eating meat is a western luxury. And it stands to reason that I would avoid anywhere that I know to be unethical in any way.
13. What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?
My own pillow!
14. Do you think there’s a difference between people who deem themselves tourists vs. travellers? What do you consider yourself, and why?
It’s just a personal opinion, but I feel sorry for people who feel that being a tourist is a bad thing. I love to immerse myself in local culture, but it’s also great to see the famous landmarks and fun to do the cheesy tourist activities once in a while. They’re popular for a reason! I definitely think there is a difference between being a tourist and a traveller, but it’s best to be a bit of both, which I hope is what I am.
15. What does home mean to you?
Friends and family. I never miss places and objects, it’s the people I look forward to coming home to.
16. What advice would you give an aspiring travel blogger?
Since I’ve only been blogging a short while, you might have to ask me again in a year or so! But I’d tell them to be prepared for it to take over their life – in a very good way!
Thank you Jill for being a guest on Life with Larissa! We enjoyed getting to know you and your travel personality a little bit more. I’ll definitely have to visit India to experience the colors, foods, and friendliness you discussed. Fingers crossed that trip is in my near future!
Did you enjoy what your read? Get to know more about the author!
The blogger is Jill Bowdery, and she has always wanted to travel. Even when as a child, she would spend hours looking at atlases and dreaming of life in other countries. She considers herself the luckiest person alive to be able to live out those dreams as an adult.
When Jill’s not travelling, she has a full-time day job and spends her spare time singing, performing and reading. Life’s too short not to do everything!
Hometown: Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
You can find Jill at the following: