Interview – Heather Cole

This week’s interview is with Heather from the blog Conversant Traveller! Read about her adventures, including the scary story of being caught in the middle of a shoot out! You don’t want to miss this one!

Have you ever lived abroad/ do you plan to live abroad in the future?
No, I like home too much (I live in the English Lake District) and whilst I love travelling to exotic far flung places, it makes me appreciate what I have here to return to. Plus I have too many holiday souvenirs to be able to ship them abroad to a new house!

What is the most important traveling tip you have for anyone wanting to travel?
Plan, plan, plan! Never mind all this spontaneity business. You don’t want to return home only to realise you missed some amazing sight just down the road simply because you didn’t know it was there. Planning also maximises your time, which is especially important if, like me, you work full time and have to squeeze travel into your annual leave.
The Lake District - where we live[5]What has been your worst experience while traveling? What did you learn from it?
We once got caught in a shoot out between police and drug smugglers in the middle of nowhere in the mountainous ‘no-man’s land’ between South Africa and Lesotho. Hubbie went to help the policeman. I hid in the foot-well of our jeep! All ended well for the good guys but it has taught me to be prepared for the unexpected wherever we travel.

What was your first traveling experience?
Family holidays would always be camping down in the French Alps, and whilst the scenery was spectacular and instilled in me my love of hiking, it wasn’t all fun and games. My annoying little brother hated walking and would sit at the side of the remote mountain path and refuse to budge. Things haven’t changed much!
Erg Chigaga - Morocco[6]What is your favourite travel memory?
I’m obsessed with plunge pools, and last year did a Google image search for a bit of travel inspiration. In just 24 hours we’d booked flights to Laos and two weeks later went off in search of the Kuang Si Waterfall and remote jungle plunge pools that had captured my imagination. I’m pleased to report we found them, and having some local monks as our scrambling companions on the way up made it even better.

How did you learn about the wonderful world of blogging?
For years I’d been organising trips for friends, family and colleagues, but it was starting to take up so much of my free time that I needed to do something different. I’d never even read another blog before but thought it would be a good source of information for these people as a starting point. My Conversant Traveller blog began as a self-indulgent hobby, but I soon realised it could actually work for me too!
Kuang Si - Laos[1]

What is your goal with blogging?
I’ve been at it nearly 2 years now, and still marvel at the fact I’ve now started to bring in a tiny income as well as getting a significant proportion of our travel through sponsors. Yet I don’t want to sell out, and am making sure I stick to my blog values – outdoor adventure by day, and luxury by night. I have no intention of becoming a ‘digital nomad’ because I enjoy my 9-5 job and don’t want my favourite past-time to become my ‘work’. I’m happy with exactly where I am in blog world, and I love showing other people that they too can fit travel in around their careers!

What has been your favourite post to write so far?
I love writing articles that answer questions, and as a frequent traveller to Morocco, I’m often asked which of the 2 ergs (sand dunes) is best to visit – Erg Chebbi or Erg Chigaga. So I wrote a post comparing them, and came up with a winner, although of course it is all subjective. This has been my most productive post to date, and knowing that some of my readers have done (and enjoyed!) their trips based on my advice makes me feel GREAT!
Wild Camping in the Lake District after work - Heather Cole[2]What would you be doing if you weren’t a world traveler?
Well, the careers advice questionnaire at school came up with ‘bricklayer’…

Quick Favourites:

Favourite Airline:  Emirates
Favourite Country:  Morocco
Favourite City:  Luang Prabang, Laos
Favourite Beach:  I don’t really do beaches, but Kynance Cove in Cornwall is pretty special
Favourite Food: Anything I don’t have to cook myself!
Favourite Language:  Spanish
Favourite Transportation:  Private taxi, until ‘beam me up Scottie’ becomes a reality!
Favourite Hotel:  Sofitel So Bangkok

Where can we follow you?
Website:  http://www.conversanttraveller.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/conv_traveller
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/theconversanttraveller
Instagram: https://instagram.com/conversant_traveller/

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