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Guests’ Corner SPECIAL: Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust

As part of this special instalment of Guests’ Corner, I answer my own interview questions. The wish behind this is to better acquaint my readers with me, as a travel blogger, on a more personal level.

I hope you will enjoy this interview’s different approach – and please be sure to check out my other Guests’ Corner interviews, which feature excellent local and international travel bloggers.

Born in KwaZulu-Natal and raised in Montagu, Tamlyn Ryan – who now lives in Cape Town, South Africa – is the voice behind travel blog, Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust.

Her ‘wanderlust’ was founded in childhood boat trips, long drives and camping adventures with her family… And although she was once a reluctant child traveller, Tamlyn’s wonder for the world eventually nudged her to follow the call of her heart by becoming a travel writer.

This blog initially began as a university assignment during her Journalism studies… But her love for and appreciation of writing, photography and the great outdoors is the truest inspiration behind it. It is, in many ways, the coming together of her two great loves: writing and (travel) photography.

Through this blog, Tamlyn shares travel tips and reviews on unique places dotted across her beautiful country, South Africa. (For now, though, her blog focuses strongly on Cape Town and the Western Cape province.)

Above all else, the goal behind Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust blog is to encourage both local and foreign travellers to explore this world… starting with their very own town or city!

Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust is all about Tamlyn’s restaurant-, activity- and accommodation-reviews, fun guest interviews and interesting photo essays!

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

Without realising it then, I feel my parents probably did because we travelled a lot as a young family. At the time, I mostly hated it! Like most young children, I was restless and easily bored. 🙂 But today, I am so incredibly grateful for the love of this world, nature and travel, which they certainly instilled in me from childhood.

And I always knew I wanted to be a writer… In fact, I think I wrote my first story aged seven (and it was about a rabbit, just like JK Rowling)! It came so naturally to me, like thinking or dreaming. So, growing up, I would divide my time between school, playing outside on our farm(s)… and yes, you guessed it, reading and writing!

The travel blog passion, however, came much later, when I started my Journalism course at university. In our first class, we introduced ourselves and explained what we wanted to specialise in as future journalists… I stood up and said with quiet certainty, “I want to be a travel writer.”

Fortunately for me, things fell into place a few months later when we were tasked with starting and maintaining our own blog… The rest, as they say, is history.

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Photo credit: Honeybee Photography

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

Funnily enough, I used to feel I was all the above except thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie…

But, in hindsight, I am also the same woman who has fearlessly stood on the edge of a tremendous cliff at the Cape of Good Hope (in a gale force wind) – and who loved ziplining in the mountains last year… So I think I need to accept I am actually a thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie sometimes, too.

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But above all: I am unequivocally a nature lover. It’s just where my wild heart is truly happy – and my anxious mind and soul at ease.

I love hiking, exploring fynbos-covered hills and wandering in the most untamed parts, where only wild animals normally go.

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

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  1. Driving from the Western Cape to KZN: In 2004, during the school holidays, my parents and I roadtripped from our Montagu-based farm through the glorious Garden Route and Free State to Durban. It was an epic roadtrip, filled with wonderful and scary moments. We saw a mini tsunami near Wilderness, strolled the beach at Jeffrey’s Bay and even visited the Big Tree. It was just a really special time with my parents. And, although we have no photos from it, the memories and moments will forever be etched in my heart and mind.
  2. Exploring Cape Town and surrounds: When my oldest brother and his girlfriend (who also run their own gorgeous travel blog, Non Stop Destination) came from the UK for a visit in 2014, I joined them on a month of wonderful adventures and foodie experiences. I would finish my classes and we’d meet up – or we would spend the whole weekend heading from one activity to the next.
    We covered many local highlights – like Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point, Boulders Beach, Nederburg and more – but it was truly special sharing that time with them. Especially as I saw my country (and city) afresh through their visiting eyes. Obviously, like me, my brother grew up here in SA and lived in Cape Town for several years – but his girlfriend is from Belgium, so it was amazing to see how much she loved our city and South Africa’s natural beauty… It was incredible and definitely one of my best travel memories ever!
  3. Weekend getaway in Simon’s Town: In May 2017, I went away with someone close to me. And, while it wasn’t meant to be – it ended up being this quintessential couple’s getaway… A cosy, beautiful cottage a few minutes’ drive from the ocean, perfect cuddle weather and good, homemade pizza and Boulders penguins! 🙂
    It was a healing weekend, not just for us but in general. I learnt then that, even if I plan a rich, jam-packed travel itinerary, my travels (and life) don’t go according to plan… Sometimes, you need to accept the storms (literally) and go with the flow. We spent most of the weekend indoors but the rain eventually cleared and we walked to Boulders Beach. I loved every moment of that weekend. It’s a special travel memory to me.

4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why?

My most humbling and eye-opening travel experience was visiting Cape Point (in 2014 and again in 2017). I realised then the natural wonders we possess in SA.

I saw fully how tourists travel across the globe to see SA. Yet we, as locals, barely explore this beautiful country. It seems a travesty… Especially when I realise, in the past, I was not much different. I too used to dream of visiting foreign countries instead of first appreciating my own.

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For years, I ignored the beauty of our small towns and natural spaces. And the saddest part is, if you have a car and the time, so many of these experiences and activities are free. You don’t have to be rich to travel South Africa.

Thankfully, since running Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, I have tried to change that – for myself and those around me.

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

Undoubtedly when we moved down to the Cape. My parents and I drove down from Summerveld (where I was raised) to Montagu with most of our furniture and it was just one disaster after another. But the most frightening of all was being caught in this terrifying storm.

It hit us as we travelled down Van Reenen’s Pass… We literally saw huge boulders cleaved in two by lightning bolts and big trucks nearly tumbling off the mountainside. I was about six years old but I can still remember my horror – and freakish wonder – at the force of nature. It was, in many ways, the perfect storm.

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

I have so many places I want to visit to be honest – so I am going to list five (only one of which I’ve experienced to date).

  1. Ireland: My surname is Irish and there’s meant to be a town filled with Ryans. So it’s in my blood… I have to go.
  2. British Columbia, Canada: Because it looks a stunning region. I’m biased though – my main reason is because my brother and his girlfriend now live there.
  3. Garden Route, South Africa: I love this part of South Africa. It’s one of the most special drives in the world and from experience, I can strongly recommend it.
  4. Prague, Czech Republic: I love history and old cities and Prague fills me with wonder. I would love to walk its streets and feel time stand still. Plus, the countryside around it looks breathtaking,
  5. New Zealand: I was obsessed with The Lord of the Rings movies and books growing up (still am, to be honest) so I have to. I’ve always dreamed of it… But now I know it to be a richly beautiful, safe country so it’s even more appealing!

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

Any of the blogs featured under my Guests’ Corner are wonderful reads – and visually lovely blogs to boot. They come from a mixed group of South African and international travel bloggers/photographers and travellers… Spanning from single travellers to couples and entrepreneurs. I find them all inspirational.

My biggest favourite internationally is Non Stop Destination. (Sure, I am shamelessly biased – but their blog is both stunning and well-written!)

I also like a lot of local bloggers/sites (they’re not all travel-centric though). Some of the main ones are: The Travel Manuel (Lauren and Vaughan are a really special, talented couple) , Shante Hutton of Rose and Thorns (her photography is insanely beautiful – and her Instagram stories are a source of wicked amusement to me), 9Lives (I have had the pleasure of travelling with Liezel; she’s such a seriously cool person and professional) – and probably a no-brainer but: Getaway Magazine. (They are, to me, the best local travel magazine/online publication.)

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

I would go to Canada. Mainly because my brother and his girlfriend are there so it would be the smoothest solo trip for me to take – and I would probably score on free accommodation, ha, ha! 🙂

But also because the country looks so wild, vast and beautiful, especially in the mountains. Definitely my type of travel adventure.

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

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My city is the beautiful Mother City, Cape Town. Wow, I have so many tips and travel ideas for this city – but your best bet would be to check out my blog posts. Especially since my focus has always been on Cape Town; there’s a lot of solid content on here.

In terms of tips, I would say be careful on the streets or wherever you walk/drive/hike because yes, there is crime (which there is in every country, just by the way). But it’s not always as bad as it seems in the press.

For me, it’s just about being sensible and street-savvy, really. In the past, I myself have taken needless, foolish chances. And I see now how, especially as I mostly travel about the city as a single female traveller, they could have ended badly.

Make sure someone always knows where you are going to, don’t flash your jewellry and valuables around unnecessarily (and fasten bags and camera straps around your neck/body).

And always pack in sunscreen (during summer, autumn and spring!) and a warm top. The weather is crazy in this city and you literally can and will experience four seasons in a day… we really don’t exaggerate when we say that!

10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?

Travel with an open mind – and be friendly and respectful to the people around you. And above all, don’t be afraid to follow the road less travelled… Often, that is where all the magic is to be found.

And whether you have to travel alone or are fortunate enough to share your journeys with others, just travel… just go and do it. Your life will be so much the richer for it.

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To read about and see all of Tamlyn’s travel stories and experiences, continue reading her blog, Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust. Or follow her on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Until the next guests’ corner segment… 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.

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