Vicki Garside
 
Vicki, tell us something about your early life and how your interest in travel emerged.

It might seem like a weird thing to say, but travel has always been ‘normal’ for me. I was very lucky to grow up in the UK and travelled to Europe and the North America with my family from a young age. We mostly visited European holiday resorts aimed at Brits, reserving visits to Walt Disney World in Florida as a special treat. Growing up like this, the decision to travel after University was one that seemed completely natural – although I hadn’t expected to stay ‘on the road’ for the 4 years that followed!

Your blog is called Make Time to See the World. Why did you choose this title? Does time always seem to be the main 'obstacle' to travelling?

MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld was born out of a desire to encourage and inspire people to get out and explore our incredible planet. When I started the blog I had visited 30 countries, 6 of which I had lived and worked in. I had met people from all walks of life and cultures. I had seen and experienced incredible things – and I had learnt so much about myself. And I wanted to inspire others to do the same. 

One of the biggest ‘objections’ to travel is that people don’t have ‘time’ and they are too ‘busy’.  Time is relative, and everyone has it; it’s more about how you use it. And ‘busy’ – modern society dictates that we have busy lives, that drive to better oneself, to be the best person you can be and so we take on too much and often fall into the trap of being too busy trying to make a life that we forget to live it. MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld is a challenge to everyone to prioritize travel and maximise whatever time – short or long – to see what an incredible planet we live on.

Tell us more about your blog and what you get out of maintaining it.

I started the blog initially to record my own travels (and as a record for my partner who has a terrible memory!) but I quickly realised that our experiences could help others, through travel tips, itineraries and destination guides. I hope my articles peak the interest of people that are thinking about travelling and help give them a push to taking that trip; to show that travel doesn’t have to be super expensive – but that it is OK to splurge on unique experiences. I also hope that they are entertaining and informative for armchair travellers, who for whatever physically can’t travel, but whom can see the world through my words and photographs.

As for what I get out of running it – it makes me happy and is something I am hugely passionate about. I decided in February 2017 to turn it into a business and it has grown exponentially since I started working on it full time (and I hope it continues to do so!) Travel taught me there is more to life than having (lots of) money, and gave me the confidence to walk away for a career as a lawyer that I worked for for over 10 years. And if I can inspire just one person to travel, then it is all worth it.
 

Your blog has posts on quite a number of countries - which one would you say surprised you most, comparing to what you had expected?

Our last big trip was a Budget Overland Safari in Southern Africa, where we camped (on the ground in basic tents – no glamping here!) across Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa – and I can safely say that this trip took me further out of my comfort zone than I had ever been. 4 days after arriving at Victoria Falls, and just before we departed on our overland adventure, I sat in the hostel bar, battered and bruised from 7 hours of Grade 5 white water rafting, and said out loud – I’m not sure if I can do this. I’m not a camper, I can be a fussy eater, I’m not a fan of a cold shower, I hated the thought of going to the bathroom in the bush and love my little luxuries like wine and cheese. And here I was in Africa. But everything was a lot more civilised than I anticipated. I had thought the trip would be a serious detox – but in fact I ate and drank so well that I put on weight(!). We shared cooking and cleaning duties and I had some of the best meals I have ever eaten; I quickly got used to toileting al fresco and, to be honest, I didn’t really mind the tent! (But the wine may have had something to do with that!) An overland safari isn’t for everyone, but two of my favourite articles were ones I wrote when we came back about what to expect on an overland safari and what to pack for an African safari – they have both been read several thousand times – so hopefully within those numbers, I have given someone the confidence to book their own trip to what is currently my favourite continent!

How does it feel to be a Brit in Australia? Apart from the obvious weather difference, what other cultural differences did you encounter?

To be honest, I never really noticed much difference between Australia and the UK. The weather, whilst an obvious difference, I think plays the biggest part where nicer weather makes for happier and more laid back people. But other than that, it’s relatively similar. The stuff I noticed most when I arrived (and still notice to this day) were little things like that you still get charged to withdraw money from an ATM that belongs to a bank you don’t have an account with (we got rid of this years ago in the UK) and that there are fewer streetlights in residential areas. Weird I know, but I think it is because Australia is so big people tend to drive everywhere, so the streetlights are not designed with foot traffic in mind. Australian’s also tent to live a more outdoorsy life – enjoying camping, BBQ-ing etc, but again, I put that down to the weather.

Have you met (m)any other interesting travellers/bloggers either online or on the road? Tell us a story of one such encounter.

I’m lucky to have a great support network of other bloggers in the online community. Everyone is helpful and supportive – which when working alone behind a computer screen can be a real blessing. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting some of these in person at blogger-meet ups in Melbourne and it was really great to put online personas and people together.

Tell us one of your travel stories that really stand out.

Oh, where to start.. I think my travel story in itself is quite unique and interesting, but it is what I affectionately call my ‘AfricaOuttakes’ that spring to mind at the moment. They’re the bits I wrote to show travel in Africa isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. They cover being unable to walk for 3 days after white water rafting, attempting to walk up a wall sideways following a canyon swing, crashing so hard on a sand board I was wearing half the desert for the next week and the dreaded longdrop by headtorch.  If you’re looking for something to cheer you up, my series of unfortunate events has had a few people chuckling.

How has travelling changed you as a person, and how does it affect your interaction with family and friends who 'stayed home'?

Travel has made me a better person. I have always been highly strung, but travel has taught me (a little) patience and emphasised the importance of tolerance and acceptance in a world where sometimes it can appear to be completely lacking.

As for the people I ‘left behind’ – things are no different with my family, and I’m lucky to have a very small circle of friends in both the UK and Australia, whom I know accept and love me for who I am. They know I’m not always physically there, but when I am, I will do anything for them and it is these people that give me strength to live my life the way I do, safe in the knowledge they will always be there, whether I have spoken to them in the last two days or two years!

Finally, what are your travel plans in the coming period? And what is on your bucket list for further down the road? 

I had said I would make an effort to explore more of Australia in 2017, and then in 2018 I would head back to East Africa to visit Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawai, Zanzibar and Zambia - but I’m answering these questions from the middle seat of an Air Asia plane as I fly to my 40th country – the Maldives, which was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up!

And my bucket list: Cuba, Myanmar, Japan and Jordan. 

The photographs accompanying this interview are from Vicki's private collection and show a number of her favourite places - Bali, Fiji, Namibia, Horse Shoe Bend in Oregon and Australia.

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