Charley has just settled in New Zealand after an epic year-long trip around Asia. She loves to combine travel with photography and believes that photos make the best memories and souvenirs. Visit her Instagram (@CHARLEYROBINSON) for daily travel visuals, or her blog (www.southeasternpromises.com) for write ups on the places she’s visited.
Alex: Can you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi, I’m Charley and I love to live to travel. I try to spend an extended amount of time in each place I visit, as I’d rather explore and fully understand a city or town, than rush through and see less. I’m currently waiting out the winter in New Zealand, after an incredible trip around Asia, and can’t wait to see more of this beautiful part of the world.
Why do you travel? What are your inspirations?
I travel to see and experience new places; fairly cliché but it’s true. My inspiration is photography – seeing travel photos by other people gives me motive to visit certain places and revisiting cities allows me the chance to improve on my own work.
How do you organize your travel plans? Any travel hacks you can share?
I research and plan a lot before I leave for a trip. I think this is, for me, a way of exerting my excitement into something productive! Once I arrive in a new place, I therefore have an idea of what I want to spend time doing, but I usually only book accommodation and transport day by day. I hate the feeling of being tied into plans.
My favourite travel hacks include rolling clothes instead of folding (but not everything… jeans? No.), I use a Lush Shampoo Bar to save space and weight and rely on the offline maps of GoogleMaps to get around new cities.
Aside from the basics, name three items that you always bring when you travel.
Music, my Kindle and tissues!
What is your motto when it comes to traveling?
Try everything at least once (unless it’s durian fruit – I wouldn’t recommend trying that at all!)
The best and the worst meals you’ve ever had traveling?
My favourite meal was in Ubud, Bali. It was just fish with veggies, but after nearly a year of eating rice and noodles, it really made me feel amazing. I can’t recall a worst meal, but I didn’t get on with many of the dishes in China, generally.
Which city do you consider yourself an expert on? Can you share any hidden gems in that city?
I don’t know if I’d consider myself an expert on any city, but I have been to Bangkok eight times. My hidden gems for Bangkok would be to make the most of the huge range of rooftop bars (my favourites include Nest Rooftop Lounge, SkyBar @ Lebua & River City Rooftop Bar), and explore the city canals by longtail boat (my favourite day trip is to Ko Kret, a gorgeous island just north of the city, where you can visit local pottery artisans at work). I love to find hidden gem bars in big cities, the quirkier the better, and Bangkok has an awesome one – the Bookshop Bar. A mix between being in Alice in Wonderland and a library, the atmosphere is magical and the cocktails are imaginative and delicious.
What is your favorite travel song/album to listen on a trip?
Music is such a huge part of travel for me, I’d never go a day without listening to a few albums. Being a country fan, my favourite songs are anything by Johnny Cash or Sheryl Crow, but for something chilled to make me smile, Lana Del Rey wins.
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