Katharina Parsons of Beautifullytravelled.com
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Katharina is a well experienced traveler and the Travel Blogger behind Beautifullytravelled.com. She is currently based in the North-east of London. She can speak English, French and German fluently and have a basic understanding of Spanish.
She already visited five continents, visited eighteen countries, lived in four different countries and have dual nationality. She went to an international school and have friends all over the world.
When did you started blogging, Why do you blog?
I started blogging in January 2015. The project, I had worked on for over a year, in my full-time Job as an Architect, had just been cancelled out of the blue. And I needed a creative outlet.
My boyfriend and I had also made a new year’s resolution to get out of our house on weekends and explore our local surroundings as frequently as possible. So, naturally, I started blogging about our excursions.
Now I blog in order to inspire others, to get out every weekend and explore their local surroundings. There is more on your doorstep, than you might think!
Tell us more about your hometown.
I currently live in London, one of the top destinations in the world. It’s a busy city and there is always something to do. In fact they say that “If you are tired of London, you are tired of Life”.
We enjoy living in London, but will probably move on to new adventures sooner or late (I always have itchy feet). So we have set ourselves a goal for the next year to visit at least one London attractions every single weekend. That is 52 attractions / destinations and comes no where close to scratching the surface of things to do in London.
When did you start traveling, inspirations?
At a very young age, and before I can actually clearly remember. My parents are keen world explorers themselves. So they took us on trips around Europe when we were very young. As we got older, the adventures got bigger. And I am lucky to say that I have seen a fair share of the world, thanks to my parents.
Whilst my dad frequently whisked us off on wild adventures in far-flung places (such as Africa, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean Islands and Egypt), my mum and stepdad spoilt us with cultural trips in England, Scotland, Germany, Austria and France. These childhood vacations played a big part in forming the person that I am today.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Funny, perhaps in hindsight. This year, we went on a two week trip to Thailand. Within those two weeks, we stayed in six different locations. So we were pretty tired when we finally arrived in Bangkok and obviously didn’t quite have our wits about us. After being very cautious for two weeks, we set all our own rules aside.
So this man approaches us in the terminal and asks us, if we need a taxi. We ask him how much it will cost and agreed a price of 800 baht. Then instead of taking us to the taxi rank, we follow him into an elevator and up into the car parking. Here we get into a shiny car and he requests we pay upfront. Which for some reason, we do. Surprisingly (not) he then gets a phone call, leaves the car.
He comes back in company. Tells us he has an urgent matter he needs to sort and that his colleague will take us instead. We follow the new guy down to the car drop-off area. Where he tells us to wait for him. We do. Why? I don’t know. A car drives up, stops and we get in. Feeling very queasy about the whole thing at this point.
We drive up to the security checkpoint. I try to communicate with the guard, by staring at him anxiously. It works and he stops the car. Our driver begs us to tell the guard, that he is simply picking us up. We don’t. The security guard makes us all get out of the car and takes us aside. He explains to us that we got into a Mafia taxi and that we could have got robbed. The police get involved too and take pictures of our passport. Then we are put into a “real” taxi and sent off to our hotel.
I now realise, just how dangerous this could have been and how lucky we were. The one good thing about this experience is that we now have a very interesting story to tell.
Lessons you learned on the road?
Always learn at least a couple of words and sentences in the native language. Even if your language skills aren’t perfect, the effort is much appreciated. And locals will often show you places that are of the beaten track.
Destinations on your Bucket List?
So many. But the BIG one is New Zealand.
Beach or Mountain?
I am actually more of a Mountain girl. Although I will last a couple of hours on the beach (more if I can go snorkelling or diving), I generally get bored too quickly. I also cower in the shade. Ha!
How often do you travel by air / land?
When I was a little girl, I loved flying. That was before terrorist attacks and the scanning malarkey. Nowadays I prefer travelling by train. You see more.
Nonetheless this year, I flew eight times. On land, I travelled (by car and train) more than I can count.
What’s your favourite airport?
There are actually a couple. For its architecture, Barcelona. For a great overlay, Amsterdam and Istanbul. And in my own country, Heathrow.
What is your favorite Hotel?
In the UK, it has to be The Bel and the Dragon. And abroad, Hotel Grand Arc Hanzomon in Tokyo and 137 Pillars House Hotel in Chiang Mai.
What is your preferred Airline?
We had a really good experience with Turkish Airways.
How do you beat jet lag / Motion sickness?
I am lucky and don’t really get motion sick. My sister, though, does. My advice, sleep through it. If you can.
In order to beat jet lag, I try to adapt to the local time, as soon as I get on the plane. If it is night time at my destination, I force myself to sleep. If it’s lunchtime, I eat. If I arrive at my destination in the morning, I force myself to be active. Don’t give in, don’t surrender and have that nap!
What are your favourite travel gadgets?
My phone… Haha… I normally invest in a pocket wifi and then use Google Maps on my phone.
Any Tips on how to travel light?
Plan your outfits. Before I pack for a two-week trip, I go through a thorough planning process (one pair of trousers for three days, a very light top and underwear for each day, one jumper). I always know exactly what I will wear each day. I also love to use packing cubes, they keep my suitcase tidy.
My bf and I also tend to share a suitcase. My side is definitely neater than his…Hahaha
Most of the weight in our suitcase is usually taken up by my blogging gear though. Laptop, cameras, charging cables…I haven’t found a way of lightening the load there, as of yet.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Plan your trip but always leave some scope for flexibility. Read blogposts about your destination. There are some great itineraries, tips and advice online. But know that not everything will go your way. Accept that and enjoy the moment.
Best Backpack Brand?
I really couldn’t say. My backpack is really old. I have heard that Osprey is good, if a little expensive. However do get your backpack fitted. You want to choose one that fits your height and shape.
Top 3 International Destinations?
From the ones, I visited. Japan, Africa and Iceland
Favorite Travel Quote :
“The World is a Book, and those that don’t travel, only read one page.” – Saint Augustin