As part of the latest instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner (which I am so happy to resume), I chatted to travel and lifestyle blogger, Lana of Lana Travels.
Raised in Australia but now based in the UK, Lana is a passionate traveller and the face behind travel and lifestyle blog, Lana Travels.
Lana first caught the travel bug aged eight, when she moved to England – now, several years later, Lana has explored 24 countries… and still counting! Currently studying Global Studies, Society and Communications, Lana’s dream is to explore the globe as travel journalist and art teacher.
Her blog was originally started as a diary… She set it up for her eight-month-long backpacking adventures (during October 2018 to May 2019) – but the interest among her Instagram followers soon inspired her to change it into a blog, written by a backpacker for backpackers.
Today, her aesthetically beautiful blog, Lana Travels, offers insightful itineraries, travel tips and survival guides. It also bravely touches on some of Lana’s more personal experience(s) of travelling with mental health challenges, such as an anxiety disorder and PTSD, and her helpful tips on how to do it.
Follow Lana’s amazing blog to discover all her past and future travel adventures for yourself!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
My whole life I have struggled with mental health, particularly anxiety, and I never thought that I would be able to travel without the guidance of my parents or any other type of ‘guardian’.
When I was 16, I completed the National Citizen Service, which not only helped me conquer my social anxiety – but I also overcame a lot of other fears.
While sitting out of an activity (it involved tight spaces and the dark… no thanks!), I started talking to this girl, who was also sitting out, and she told me about her plans to travel the world and, as I sat there, in complete awe, I was like: “Yes, that is what I want to do.” Two years later, I embarked on my first backpacking trip (to China) and, although it was as a part of a group tour – to me, it felt like I was doing it solo.
When I returned, so many of my friends and family, as well as complete strangers on Instagram, were asking me how I was able to do it at such a young age – and those who knew me were asking how I managed to do it with my anxiety.
And that’s when I started my blog… I want to inspire and guide others who may also believe that they can’t travel due to unforeseen circumstances… I want to show them that they quite possibly can.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or some of everything?
Oh, one hundred percent a mix of all.
One of my favourite things about travel and the reason I am studying the degree I am is because of how fascinating and inspiring I find learning about and experiencing cultures across the world.
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
1) Bungee jumping off of Macau Tower
Remember my first backpacking trip? I also overcame my fear of dying on that trip.
Bungee jumping is an experience that I truly don’t think you can explain but one that I believe everyone should give a go.
2) Spending a week volunteering and working alongside elephants at Elephant Nature Park just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
This experience was one of the most eye-opening and incredible weeks of my whole life. Never have I ever been in such awe of an animal than when I was watching elephants peacefully wandering the parks (and even when I was cleaning up their poop).
Please, watch the film, Love & Bananas – An Elephant Story if you would like to find out more about the park and the amazing work that the co-founder, Lek (Chailert), has done for elephants – not only in Thailand but all across the world.
3) The Philippines
I learnt a lot while backpacking in the Philippines and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
My time there was filled with so many incredible memories and I met some really awesome people. My whole time there is a highlight that I’ll never forget!
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why?
I currently live in England. I think the most eye-opening travel experience I have had in England is the first time my family and I spent a weekend in a log cabin in the middle of nature (with no WiFi).
Although I struggled at first, it reminded me just how important family time is and how WiFi and social media really impact our lives.
It is something we now try to do once a year.
5) Worst (local) travel experience?
I mean, I don’t really think I’ve had any bad local travel experiences.
Possibly the time my friends and I went to a UK festival and it rained all weekend and we woke up to our tent in an actual swamp. But that’s just UK weather for you…
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
Can I answer both, ha, ha?
My top three that I’ve visited and would go back to again (and again) are: The Philippines, Thailand and Australia.
My top three that I’d love to visit are: South Africa, Hawaii and Mexico.
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
Top sites I can recommend and that I use to plan are:
– Skyscanner: For booking flights.
– Rome2rio: For seeing the best way to get from A to B.
– Booking.com: To book accommodation.
– Pinterest: There are so many awesome ideas on here!
I’d also really recommend downloading some apps for when you’re travelling. I really recommend Grab – basically like Uber but really popular in Asia.
Splitwise for keeping track of your costs, especially if you’re not travelling solo.
And a currency exchanger and translator of some sort.
Honestly, I’ve got so many tips – make sure to check out some blog posts on tips for XYZ country or general tips for travelling.
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Think I’ve said this way too many times but The Philippines! Ah, I miss it so much!
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
So I actually live in a teeny tiny village in the middle of nowhere – but the closest city to me is Cambridge.
Cambridge is so popular to travel to – and famous for the university. Honestly, it’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve been, so bring a camera.
Although I haven’t really been a tourist in Cambridge, I know there’s quite a lot to do. Everything from punting, exploring museums and shopping to going on a food tour.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Take things at a pace that suits you. Be respectful. Don’t just do touristy things. Make friends… the locals won’t bite (most of the time).
To read about and see all of Lana’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her awesome blog or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Thank you very much, Lana, for appearing in this guest travel interview. 🙂
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.