As part of the next instalment in my Guests’ Corner, a new travel interview segment on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, I chatted to fellow SA travel blogger, Tyla van Til.
Tyla van Til is a 24-year-old blonde, with freckles and pale skin – she is also the owner of self-named Tyla van Til: a local beauty, lifestyle and travel blog. Tyla chills in Cape Town, South Africa. She likes to write and drink coffee while doing so… Tyla has a love-hate relationship with beauty, lifestyle, and travel – and so that is what she writes about!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
As a young girl, my parents would travel often. And by often, I mean two or three times a year. They would always come home with the most amazing stories and experiences, and show me all of the pictures that they had taken. I would sit in front of them, as they were unpacking their bags, in awe at all the stories that they had to share with me.
I knew that one day I would be the one coming home and telling them my stories about other countries and places that I had been, and the things I had seen and the pictures that I had taken.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?
I would class myself as an all-rounder traveller. I think my travel planning starts off as a culture vulture’s desire to see a country’s culture – but, once I am at my destination, going to see the culture always leads me to find the thrills… I always try and make the most out of my travels and will try out anything and everything while on my journey because you never know when you will be able to go back.
3) What was your most memorable travel experience in SA?
My fiance and I had two friends travel down to South Africa from the UK, before they moved on to travel around Australia. Their goal was to experience South Africa’s culture on a budget, so I planned a day trip to Soweto.
I absolutely loved this day! I spent a good week planning and mapping out the day trip so that we made the most of it. We started off going to see the FNB Stadium and the Orlando Stadium (because both boys are football fans, and travel the world to see anything football-related), the Hector Pieterson Museum, and the Nelson Mandela House on Vilakazi Street before heading off to have some traditional lunch at Wandie’s Place; I highly recommend the chicken feet. But, if you are more into your street food style, then I would definitely recommend you try a kota, which is a traditional food item in Soweto that will keep you filled for a very long time!
After lunch, we headed off to the Regina Mundi Church, and then the Orlando Cooling Towers for a bungee jump and some paintball, and stopped off at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening local travel experience and why?
My family and I travelled around the country to our favourite holiday destinations and always made the most of the trips. Road trips were the cheaper option when travelling with six people. And so, this meant that we would stop off in local areas on the trip to experience the culture.
Any trip through rural South Africa is humbling no matter your background. We are always told that there is a difference between upper class and rural living in South Africa, but there are no words that can describe the eye-opening experience when you see the difference for the first time…
The children get so excited when they see a vehicle coming through their town. We once had a young boy jump up on the back of our Isuzu Bakkie, and he hitched a ride with us to the next town. We stopped to tell him that it was unsafe and he shouldn’t be hanging on the back, but the language barrier caused problems, so we let him ride along with us on the back of the bakkie and just made sure that we travelled slow enough for him to be safe.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
There are no memories that I can think of.
6) Your top three travel destinations (or road trips) in SA are?
1. Cape Town is definitely at the top of the list. There is so much to do and to see without breaking the bank. My favourite thing to do for free is to hike up Lion’s Head. I do it often and I love it! My next goal is to hike up Table Mountain – wish me luck!
2. Soweto, although not a travel destination as such – but it is a South African culture-rich place to go where you will find the most amazing history of this country.
3. The road trip from Joburg to Cape Town is a bucket list item – like a rite of passage almost.
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs, either local or international, you can recommend for following?
I love Mike Eloff. He is a South African adventurer and photographer. He has been around, and reading about his adventures is inspirational.
I also love @craighowes on Instagram. I haven’t been following him for long, but the images he posts are absolutely breathtaking and they truly make you want to go to the places he has been.
8) If you could travel anywhere in South Africa – or the world in general – right now, where would it be?
Well, I will be heading to Thailand in January, and there is a part of me that wishes that January was here already and that I was leaving for Thailand tomorrow! My fiance and I will be backpacking for 28 days, and we are not booking anything in advance – so we are pretty much going to wing it! We have booked our flights, and our first two nights of accommodation and from there on… who knows what we will end up doing!
It is the most exciting and scary adventure that I will be going on. I have backpacked before but I mapped out every detail of the month that I was travelling. This will be the first overseas trip that I will be going on with only an idea in my head – and the clothes in my backpack – and nothing else.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city/province?
Most of my local adventures are road trips, and there are a few things that I will never start a road trip without. I always make sure that my iPod is synced with my latest favourite songs because FM frequencies don’t always reach dirt roads.
I also never go anywhere until I am stocked up on water and road snacks. I tend to eat a lot more than usual on road trips, so I make sure that there are a decent amount of healthy snacks in amongst the chips and chocolates! I pack pillows and blankets for the early mornings and the late nights on the road.
I always take my camera with me in the car because there might be things along the way that I want to stop and look at, and snap a shot of.
Always take a roll of toilet paper… I don’t think I have to go into the reasons for this because I’m sure you will understand!
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Wake up early and travel off the beaten path. If you are going to make the most of your trip, you want the most amount of time to do so.
To read about all of Tyla’s amazing travel stories and adventures, you can visit her blog. Or follow her Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thank you very much, Tyla, for appearing in this guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.