This is the FIRST post in a new interview series on this blog. Each Tuesday from now on I'll be hosting interviews with other travel bloggers, to help you discover more blogs and even more inspiration to travel. If you want to be part of this series please contact me.
1. For those who don't know you, introduce yourself and your blog
My name is Kiara Gallop and I blog over at Gallop Around the Globe. It’s a travel and photography site which focuses on all my favourite things - beautiful landscapes and architecture, hiking, cycling, art, culture, music, and food. I’ve recently returned from a 5-month trip through South America, and am busy writing about my adventures and experiences on the continent right now!
2. Are you a light packer or an overpacker, what one thing won't you leave the house without?
Despite consistent attempts to pack lighter with every trip I take, I still end up returning from said trip with clothes I haven’t worn and items I haven’t used. I try to pack for every eventuality which unfortunately means I’m an overpacker. I have a 55 litre Berghaus backpack that I take on long-term trips (longer than a month) and I pack it to the gills! I’m always tempted to replace it with a slightly larger one, so that I have room for souvenirs and gifts, but I’m sure I’d only end up overpacking even more if I did.
3. Do you plan your trips, or just go with the flow?
A bit of both. I always try to have a rough itinerary, but I don’t necessarily plan how many days I will spend at each destination, or if I will add any extra cities/towns/villages to my travel map along the way. I’ve often acted upon recommendations from other travellers or bloggers. On shorter trips, the itinerary obviously has to be a lot more strict, but I’m not really a huge fan of sticking to strict schedules, given a choice.
4. Where has been your favourite place to visit to date?
I hate to say this because I just feel like I’m jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else, but I love and miss Thailand every day – the people, the culture, the climate, the landscapes, the food… However, unlike a lot of people, I’ve hardly spent any time on the islands; I fell in love with northern Thailand instead. I love the rural mountain villages, the rice paddies, the hilltop temples, and the fact that much of it still retains it’s authentic Thai charm.
5. Where is currently at the top of your list to visit?
I really fancy another cycling trip and would love to explore the backroads of Cuba on two wheels, or Kerala in Southern India. However I’m going to need a few more years to build the finances back up before I can afford either of those!
6. What is the best experience you've had whilst travelling?
That’s an impossible question to answer, I’ve had so many amazing experiences! I think the ones that stay with you are those involving other people, whether they be other travellers with whom you share laughter and stories, or local people who welcome you into their country and their culture with an open mind and a kind heart.
7. What tip would you give to other travellers?
You can never take too many photos. Just remember to take the time to enjoy those experiences as well as viewing them from behind a lens.
8. You cycled from Venice, Italy to Porec, Croatia with no training- did that kill you, or is it something you’d do again?
There were parts of it that nearly killed me, but I’d definitely do it again. I love challenging myself and feeling a sense of accomplishment.
9. You've travelled alone quite a lot, what's your favourite thing about solo travel?
The freedom it gives you to build your own itinerary. You can do what you want, when and how you want to. I also feel like solo travel teaches you so much about yourself, and you become a lot more capable and independent, and grow as a person.
10. Most recently you took a trip through South America, was it what you expected? Where was your favourite place to visit there?
The food was a lot better than I expected, especially in Peru! Other than that, I don’t there were too many surprises. The landscapes were truly as beautiful and spectacular as I expected them to be, and it’s such a diverse continent to travel upon. There are mountains, lakes, jungles, deserts, and seas; there are the sprawling metropolises of Lima and La Paz, and there are quaint cobblestone towns, colourful colonial architecture, and age-old ruins that laid undiscovered for years.
I don’t have a single favourite place, but I loved the fascinating contrast between the vibrant, buzzing city life, and the languid pace of life on the Amazon, in Iquitos. I also loved the Peruvian cities of Cusco (especially the cobbled streets of the artsy, bohemian San Blas neighbourhood) and Arequipa, I loved the stunning mountain landscapes surrounding Huaraz (the Cordilleras are the second highest mountain range in the world), the peaceful, picturesque treks through the Colca Canyon, and the beautiful white-washed buildings of Sucre, Bolivia, where I was based for 3 weeks whilst learning Spanish.
You can find Kiara at....
Blog Gallop Around the Globe
Facebook Gallop Around the Globe