Most travel blogs aim to guide you to hidden sights, tip you off to the best restaurants or hotels, and help you get around a new city. Meet Lauren, our featured tripwolf blogger of the month for November. She commenced traveling and writing her blog Never Ending Footsteps 15 months ago. “On Never Ending Footsteps I mostly write about how NOT to travel! I always have the most ridiculous things happen to me on the road – I’ve been “poked” during a massage in Bangkok, punched a scammer in Shanghai, been attacked by monkeys in Bali, sat next to a dead woman on a slowboat in Laos and so much more!”
Let’s just say Never Ending Footsteps is not most travel blogs.
tw: What would you like most to communicate through your blog, and why share your perspective?
Why is traveling so important to you and how would you define ‘real travel?’
“I believe that travel has made me a better person – that I’m more patient, more tolerant, more able to push myself outside my comfort zone and recognize the benefits of doing so. I spend all day everyday reading about places around the world so, for me, a big part of traveling is being able to satisfy my curiosity about places I’ve always been captivated by.
“I travel to feel inspired, alive, happy and free.I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to travel, or that a certain way of traveling is “fake” — it all depends on what the traveler is looking for. I feel that just getting out there (physically and mentally) is more important than the way in which you do it.”
You recently passed the one-year mark, the point you had originally said you’d stop! What keeps you going, and why?
“I originally believed that I had enough savings to keep me traveling for a year. Six months in, I began making enough money to fund my travels so decided to keep going for as long as I can/want to. I find that the more I travel, the more places I want to see so I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon!”
Do you have a story to share about plans gone awry?
“The worst was probably my slowboat experience in Laos. The first day went without incident, but on the second day a woman on our boat died of malaria. She was placed at the back of the boat, next to where I was sitting, and remained there for the next six hours. The rest of the journey was filled with the grieving cries of her husband so by the end of the journey I was feeling extremely traumatized.
“When I arrived in Luang Prabang, I decided to treat myself with a nice room to cheer myself up. Of course, I ended up in the worst guesthouse of my entire life! That evening, I was locked out of my room for several hours until the guesthouse owner hacked off the door handle with a machete to let me in. As I closed the door behind me, I then realized I was locked inside my room with no door handle to get out. I was stuck inside for another several hours!
“With all guesthouses in the area now closed for the night, I had to move to another room that was full of dozens of cockroaches and bugs. I tried to sleep but the cockroaches crawling over my arms every five minutes made this a little tricky! I went outside to sleep on the concrete and ran into a couple of backpackers who said I could stay in their room for the night. As soon as I fell asleep on their floor, I woke up to one of them groping me. As I tried to leave their room I realised that it was my original room – the one that’s impossible to open from the inside. Fortunately, I managed to get out and spent the rest of the night sat outside crying!”
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were truly afraid during traveling?
“So many. I think the biggest one for me was being in Phuket airport during an earthquake in Indonesia and having a tsunami alert issued. Looking up and seeing every single person in the airport sprinting towards me with a look of terror on their faces was the scariest moment of my entire life. We were evacuated to a nearby raised area of ground and I spent the next six hours having no idea what was going on, absolutely convinced that I was about to die. Six months later and I still haven’t recovered completely from it.”
Which three items do you not leave home without?
“I never leave wherever I’m staying without money, water and a camera.”
Is there anything that you dislike about traveling?
“Being away from my family.”
What was the strangest food you’ve ever eaten, and what was the best?
“The strangest would have to be either chicken feet in Taiwan or cockroaches in Laos. The best is a plate of fried pork fat in Romania. It nearly reduced me to tears. So good.”
What is your favorite place in your home country or city?
“I love spending time in Camden Town. It’s the center of alternative culture in London and attracts the punks, the goths, the hippies and the emos. It’s the best place in London to meet up with friends, have a drink and people watch.”
Mountains, beach or city? Beach
Couch-surfing or guesthouse? Guesthouse
Cockroaches or rats? Cockroaches
Skiing or surfing? Surfing
iPhone or Android? Neither
Travel tool you find most useful: Skyscanner
Postcard or emails? Emails
How do you inform yourself about your next destination, and how do you prepare for the trip?
Your latest discovery on the Internet?
The best breakfast in the world is…
What is on your bucket list and where you will your next trip take you?
If you could recommend three places our readers must visit in their lifetimes:
Blogger name(s): Lauren Juliff
twitter handle: NEFootsteps
facebook: Never Ending Footsteps
Want to be a tripwolf featured Travel Blogger of the Month? Read on for how to contact us.