As part of the next instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner, I chatted to travel, lifestyle and fashion blogger, Mina.
Born and raised in Bulgaria, but now living in Portugal, Mina is a passionate travel, lifestyle, beauty and fashion blogger at Randomly Blogging Around.
On her stunning blog, Mina shares insights into her clothes (some of which she creates), adventures and guided tours. Her blog fulfills the dreams she had when she was growing up: to be first a fashion designer, journalist and finally, a tour guide too!
Mina’s writing and photos pay tribute to the fast-paced, dream-chasing life of adventure that we can all live out in some way.
Be sure to follow Mina for all your fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel tips!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
I’m an expat, living in Portugal, but my family is still living in my home country, Bulgaria… So, after my first big trip to Asia, I wanted to tell them everything about my experience there, which led me to an old passion of mine: writing.
From there, it all somehow started happening naturally.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or some of everything?
Well, for me, it all depends on the destination. I don’t want to miss a single thing that the place I’m visiting has to offer.
For example, in Patagonia, I went hiking glaciers… When in Italy, I can drink wine and eat pasta all day long… In Miami, I partied until 10 am.
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
1. Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Copenhagen: Just visiting Copenhagen around Christmas time was a dream.
The Tivoli Gardens were simply the most magical place in the world! I can’t really say the same about the city’s central square at midnight, as everyone was bringing their own fireworks… Crazy!
The best part of the our celebration, however, was when we somehow got into a Lebanese bar and were probably the only non-Lebanese clients in it… We had so much fun though!
2. Riding a bike around the Seychelles’ island, La Digue: The island is quite small and almost traffic-free, which was amazing!
We rented bikes for the day (we only had a day and a half on the island) and went to discover some of its most amazing beaches. We felt so light and free, going everywhere we wanted (and had time for)… just pedalling with our cute bikes. Well, going up the hills was not my favourite, but hey – it was part of the experience!
3. Exploring the Amazon rainforest: The peaceful scenery of the Black River (Rio Negro) left me speechless. I could spend hours just admiring its calm reflection, without having the need to say a single word. It’s a powerful landscape and an experience I wish more people would aim to do, as it also spreads such important awareness about preserving our planet.
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why?
Being an expat, every time I go back to Bulgaria, I try to visit (or re-visit) different places. Just next to my home town, Ruse, there’s a rock monastery – the only one still functioning in the Balkans… I’ve been there many times, but I think when I went there once with friends from Portugal, I kind of realised how beautiful and unique this place really is.
As we visit the same spot several times, we tend to accept it as a given – that it will be there and most probably in the same condition when we come back next time… Sometimes, we need to borrow an extra, foreigner’s pair of eyes to remind us that it might not be the same next time we come back – so we have to truly appreciate it now.
5) Worst (local) travel experience?
Thankfully, I haven’t had many bad experiences while abroad. However, the first one I think about is my trip to Barcelona. It was my first (and only) solo trip ever (and I don’t really think there will be a second one, as I like to share my experiences with someone else…).
However, probably because it was my first time abroad alone, I felt constantly unsafe – especially when a guy was publicly following me at Las Ramblas… Happily, nothing bad happened – but I wasn’t really able to enjoy the city. I’m considering giving Barcelona a second chance to impress me though.
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
There are so many countries I’d love to visit, I don’t really know where to start… But okay, here’s my top three at the moment:
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
For some amazing wanderlust inspiration I love following Travel in Her Shoes.
Other than that, it all depends on what destination I’m researching and my current mood.
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
At the time of writing this, Lisbon is still unexpectedly chilly, so I would love to enjoy some sunshine. So, I’m thinking about Egypt and Jordan.
Also, because being that close to such incredible heritage, like the pyramids, is simply mind-blowing!
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
Explore Lisbon by its areas to save time. For example, spend a couple of days downtown, another day in the neighbourhoods of Alcântara and Belém and a day trip to Sintra for some castle hunting… Lisbon and the surrounding areas don’t seem that big, but they have plenty of beautiful sights to offer.
Also, plan time for a proper lunch… Slowly appreciating the food is a huge part of Portuguese culture.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Don’t overplan – and don’t rush. I personally like to plan out just the guidelines, and not every minute of the trip…
Getting lost in the streets of a new city is one of my most favourite things to do (although, this might depend on the city) – and who knows what hidden gem I will find there?
To read about and see all of Mina’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her awesome blog. Or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you very much, Mina, for appearing in this guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn 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.