Guests’ Corner: ASocialNomad, Sarah Carter

As part of the next instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner (previously a local South African travel interview section on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust), I chatted to Sarah Carter, travel blogger at ASocialNomad.

Up until as recently as 2014, Sarah Carter was happily ascending the corporate ladder, working as a GM in Social Business for US-based IT company, Actiance. Then, after some twenty years in IT sales and marketing, she decided to take a plunge into the unpredictable world of travel.

Together with her husband, Nigel Dockerty, she packed two 40-litre backpacks – and they set off to explore the world together. Since then, Sarah and Nigel have traded speedy boarding, business class flights and corporate events for budget travel, backpacks and country hopping.

They hike, taste local food, wine and beer and enjoy discovering more about each country’s local culture, before sharing their travel experiences with their readers on travel blog, ASocialNomad… Visit the blog to join Sarah and Nigel on their social adventures!

1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?

My mum and my mother-in-law inspired me to go into travel blogging, when we left the UK to live on the West Coast of the USA for four years.

While I didn’t actually write anything in the four years we were there, when we then started travelling, it seemed an obvious way to keep them in touch with where we were in the world.

2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?

I like to experience the region and country that I’m travelling – so if there are museums, that’s where you’ll find me. A zip line over the Laotian wilderness, heck yes. A local roadside place to eat, definitely.

I love national parks and hiking trails and, while I love a good brewery or wine tasting tour, you probably won’t find me at a full moon party!

3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.

1. Arriving at Everest Base Camp after a 14-day trek: We had bad weather, and a longer route because of it, but just knowing that I got there under my own steam was an incredible feeling.

2. Standing on the Great Wall of China after getting there on public transport and hiking the untamed part of the wall, scrambling over bricks and rocks, is an amazing experience.

3. Being an honoured guest (in a beautiful sari) at a friend’s Indian wedding, along with more than a thousand other guests, was the most unbelievable cultural experience.

4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why? (Please provide your home country’s name too.)

I’m a native Brit, but have mainly been out of the country for the last seven years – arriving home because of a family illness, and experiencing the diversity and professionalism of the National Health Service (the NHS), as they cared for my mother-in-law, was breathtaking.

The professionalism and fortitude of the people, who made up the team that supported her and us, her family, was without compare.

5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?

The day I arrived in India – the country where we planned to spend the next six months – I was groped by a group of young men. I was with my husband at the time, but separated by a few feet in a crowd. To add insult to injury, as I slapped one of them, I managed to cut my hand on his teeth (he was grinning at the time), and ended up with a small infection.

6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?

1. Nepal: The people, The Himalayas and the views are breathtaking in many ways.

2. India: Like many, I love and despair of India, but I keep going back.

3. New Zealand: If I were to live in one place for the rest of my life, it would be here.

7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?

The GoWonder group on Facebook is a superb resource for women travellers. I also find that co-working sites – for the location that I’m going to – are great for local information.

8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

Vietnam: I’m so cold at the moment and in desperate need of a Viet. food fix…

9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?

(Right now I’m not in a city, I’m in a small town called Brightlingsea in Essex – so I’ll generalise.)

Always take water with you – in a reusable bottle, don’t add to landfills!  Eat your main meal at lunchtime, it’s usually more cost-effective that way – in the UK at least.

Travel off-peak on buses and trains; it’s significantly cheaper and much less crowded that way!

10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?

While we all ask the internet for places to go and see – think Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, etc. – get out there and ask people. Walk into the local pub and ask the bar person where to go. Ask people at a bus stop or on a train. It’s good to come to a city with an outsider’s perspective and a local outlook.

To read about and see all of Sarah’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her awesome blog. Or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you very much, Sarah, for appearing in this international 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.

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