Introducing Laura Dale…Laura is travel photographer and blogger. Having moved house every two years and lived abroad for half her life, her severely itchy feet have almost been scratched off.
What is your most treasured item that you have collected whilst travelling?
It’s incredibly trivial, but I don’t think I could be separated from my harem pants that I got on Bangkok’s Khao San Road. They’re absolutely everywhere right now, but when I came home from travelling wearing them, I was the laughing stock of my friends. That was of course until they came into fashion over here and I was suddenly a trendsetter! They’re now so overused and tattered that they’re my trusty pyjama bottoms.
What has been your favourite travel experience so far and why?
An obvious choice for me; it would be trekking through the Rwandan mountains to visit the mountain gorillas. It was hard as hell clambering up a vine covered mountain for around four hours, but it was so worth it. The moment I caught the eye of a baby gorilla, I was hooked. They’re so similar to humans in a number of ways, yet their stature, movements and appearance are completely humbling, not to mention hypnotic – I couldn’t tear my eyes away. That hour went far too quickly and I’m determined to go back soon (this time with a good camera and not a rubbish disposable!).
….and your least favourite?
I have had quite a few travelling disasters; losing my purse on my second day in Thailand, getting chased through a mall in Kuala Lumpa and skiing up trees. Having said that, the worst experience was probably in Phuket. We’d been to Koh Phangan for five days and travelled for 21 hours straight after the full moon party which made me really ill. The duration of our stay in Phuket was spent in bed with the occasional trip to a Pizza Hut (cringe!) for some trusty home comforts. The one time we did venture out we popped to Koh Phi Phi where there was a Tsunami warning. It rained all day and the sea was too rough for our little boat so we ended up being transferred onto a huge ship. It didn’t really help, though, as the journey back took around four hours, with the ship crashing against monstrous waves, children crying and people vomiting everywhere – terrible!
What are your top 3 must-pack items to travel with?
I’m actually an awful packer. I like to be prepared for every situation and have an outfit for each. I definitely don’t travel light! Having said that if I were to hop on a plane in half an hour’s time, the first thing I would grab would be my ‘techno pack’ (a backpack full of camera and video equipment), my laptop, so I can scribble down my musings and store my silly amount of footage, and some comfy walking boots. I like exploring on foot and sometimes flip flips just don’t cut it. That or a hair-bobble. My mane’s a frizzy mess in the heat.
Who would be your ideal travel companion?
I’m a very active traveller in that when I visit somewhere, I hate wasting time wondering where to go or sunbathing by a hotel pool, so I would need someone with a sense of adventure and exploration. I definitely couldn’t go away with a lazy Benidorm-esque tourist, but more of a Bear Grylls buddy. I also dislike serious and boring people, so they’d need a sense of humour, whatever the situation. Perhaps a Nick Frost or Rufus Hound? My ultimate companion, however, would probably be Hugh Jackman. He plays tough guys so has to ‘protective’ thing down to a T, he’s adventurous and he’s best in the buff!
If money was no object, where would you go next and why?
I’d struggle to pick just one place as my bucket list is never-ending! I’d probably say India as I haven’t been there yet. It’s a completely different way of life and such an incredibly beautiful country, why wouldn’t you want to go? And the food ain’t half bad either. If money were no object, I may give the Royal Orient Train a go while I was there. It sounds very swanky!
What is your favourite beer from around the world?
I actually don’t like beer. I tried some homemade beer at a Zulu village when I was younger which was incredibly disgusting. It tasted vaguely of beer, but mostly of maize and looked like sloppy rice pudding. Eugh! Instead, I love rum. I have a soft spot for a little Thai Sangsom…