This week we would like to introduce Olivia of Halfway Somewhere. Olivia is a student from Melbourne, Australia who likes to leave home as often as possible. Her first big trip was a year in Ireland after finishing high school and at the moment she’s studying in Spain. She wants nothing more than to figure out a way to move to a new place every year or two until she’s too old to do it anymore.
1. What inspires you to travel, and how would you define the word ‘traveler’?
I travel because it makes me happy. I get restless pretty quickly when I’m stuck at home. I’m inspired by people who’ve figured out how to turn travel into a lifestyle, because as soon as I have my degree that’s my plan. I just can’t get enough of seeing new places and new things and new people.
I’ve never really thought about my definition for ‘traveller’. I think just getting out there and going new places no matter how you do it – group tours, with a friend, or by yourself. I hate when people make a big deal about whether they’re tourists or travellers and I think it’s a waste of time to get all up in arms about any distinctions between the two.
2. For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
I like to move somewhere and get to know it. I couldn’t handle the sort of travel where you’re in a new place every second day for very long. I take a lot of weekend trips around the places I live and I also like to do more backpacking type trips at the end of a move before I have to return to Australia. I try to make the most of my time away, so as soon as my semester here in Spain is finished I’ll hit the road again and only go home a few days before I start uni again in Brisbane.
3. How do you afford your travels?
My first big trip was a working holiday after high school, so I worked after school most days and saved up enough to get away. Then I found a job there, which helped me afford to travel around Ireland and Europe. This trip I saved up a bit of money before leaving by working during uni and the government at home gives loans to encourage people to study overseas. I’ll have to repay it eventually, but it’s no-interest and I won’t have to start paying it back for years, so there really is no down side. It won’t cover everything, though, so that’s where the savings come in. I love working holidays and I plan to do a few more before I’m too old to get the visas.
4. Where was your first international trip and how old were you?
My family and I spend a fortnight in New Zealand when I was about 16. We stayed in a hostel one night and I thought hanging out in the lounge room there with people from all over was just the coolest thing ever.
5. Where has been your favorite destination? Where has been your least favorite?
My favourites change all the time. Right now I’m completely in love with Madrid, but others that are usually on the top of my list are Stockholm, Dublin, and Tokyo. They’re all so different but so great. I’ve never been somewhere I hated, but I didn’t love Copenhagen, sadly.
6. If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
I’m gonna cheat on this one. My dream is to buy an old bus to fix up and live in. The background on my phone has been an old Winnebago for months now. That way I’ll be able to take my home with me while I keep exploring. I’m going to make this happen sometime in the next few years.
7. Have you ever had high hopes for a destination, tour, etc., only to be disappointed in the end? Or any travel mishaps?
When I was a teenager I was obsessed with Denmark. I talked about moving there for months and months. I just knew it would be some magical place where everything would happen. Then I went to Stockholm, Sweden, and fell in love with the city. So since these two places are so close geographically and are similar in a lot of ways that just made Denmark seem even better. When I finally got to visit it was… okay. Not great, not horrible, just average. And then the fact that it wasn’t completely fabulous made me feel worse. But I’m still convinced it’s got to be a great place and I really want to get back and give it a second chance.
8. What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
I don’t know if it really counts as a cultural idiosyncrasy, but I love language clashes and when things get lost in translation. Like the time one friend tried to compliment another but came out with ‘hey, you don’t look as fat as usual today’.
9. What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations?
I like to buy fabric patches. Right now I have them sewn on a small pillow that’s packed up at home, but eventually I’ll put them all on a blanket. I also like to keep a few coins from new places.
10. How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
My cameras. It’s an obvious answer, but everything else I think I could work around. I hate not having a camera on me. Counting my phone I usually have four or five different cameras for different purposes.
11. Why did you begin blogging? And how did you come up with your blog name?
I thought it looked like fun and I wanted a way to remember my future trips better than I remembered my past ones. The name ‘Halfway Somewhere’ just came to me one day. I checked if the domain was available and bought it a few moments later and that was that.
12. What’s next for 2014?
I’ll be in Spain for the next few months and I’m hoping to do a few more weekend trips around the country and others close by. Then I’ll spend a bit of time visiting Iceland, Canada and America all for the first time before I go home for my last semester of university.
Backpack or suitcase? Backpack for travelling; suitcase for moving somewhere for a while.
Solo or group? Solo.
Tapas or sushi? I could live off either and be perfectly happy, but I’ll say tapas because I’m pretty picky with my sushi.
Beach or mountains? Beach. I also love being in the mountains, but I’m Australian. I grew up on the beach and I just love it.
Be sure to follow in the adventures of Olivia around the world: