Featured Traveler: Silvia Lawrence of HeartMyBackpack.com

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Silvia of HeartMyBackpack.com started blogging with her friend Danielle last fall while backpacking through Southeast Asia, China, and Central Asia. She was surprised by how much she enjoyed the process of writing about places, as well as sharing her experiences in less popular destinations like Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan. When she decided to continue traveling alone after that trip was over, it seemed natural for her to start up Heart My Backpack to chronicle her adventures!

Exploring Komodo Island
Exploring Komodo Island

Tell me something about yourself:)

I’m 26 and have been based in Asia for over four years now. I grew up in Massachusetts, but my family is Norwegian so I really would consider Europe home. I find it hard to stay in one place though, so I think I might always be a bit of a nomad!

When did you start traveling, inspirations?

My parents are university professors, so they had long summers off, as well as sabbatical years and opportunities to teach abroad, so I’ve sort of grown up traveling. When I was five we lived in Nepal, when I was six we were based in Japan, and so on. I’m always really impressed with people who started traveling when they were older, though, especially when their families aren’t supportive.

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Cultural Immersion
Cultural Immersion

Lessons you learned on the road?

That’s a hard question to answer, as I feel like I’m constantly learning while on the road. But one of the main lessons that I’m always relearning is how universally good people are. I especially love visiting “scary” places, like Iran and Afghanistan, because it’s a reminder that those negative stereotypes agains them are purely political – the locals in Iran in particular were some of the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met!

Destinations on your Bucket List?

I still haven’t been to South America or Antarctica!

Beach or Mountain?

Mountains!

Enjoying the Tropical Beach
Enjoying the Boracay’s Tropical Beach

How often do you travel by air / land?

About half and half for shorter journeys, but when I’m backpacking for several months I travel mostly be land. Last fall I flew to Beijing, and then traveled up to Kazakhstan, down to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and back through China into Vietnam all overland. Lots of very long bus rides!

What’s your favorite airport?

Oslo Gardermoen has really comfortable seats and free Wifi!

In Sarytash Kyrgyzstan
In Sarytash Kyrgyzstan

What is your favorite Hotel?

I loved the Sakura Guest House in Bishkek.

What is your preferred Airline?

Korean Air is amazing!

How do you beat jet lag / Motion sickness?

Honestly, I don’t. It’s a huge bummer.

Any Tips on how to travel light?

Decide what you want to bring, and then get rid of a third of it. I still always end up with things I simply don’t need.

Best Backpack Brand?

I love my Deuter Act Lite backpack!

Silvia in Georgia
Silvia in Georgia

Top 3 Philippine Destinations?

I’ve actually only been to Boracay so far, but I definitely want to go back and explore the country more! Read her Boracay, Why you are so Pretty? article:)

Things you love about the Philippines?

It’s beautiful, and the locals were so friendly and helpful! I also really loved the food.

Things you hate about the Philippines?

It does seem a little unfair that the islands in the Philippines get to be SO beautiful.

What made you decide to visit the Philippines?

I had heard so many raves from people who had been there, so even though I only had a week off I decided to book a flight there. I only regret not going for longer!

Silvia in Iran
Silvia in Iran

Top 3 International Destinations?

Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Iran

Favorite Travel Quote :

Not exactly a travel quote, but I love:

“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Follow her on Facebook: facebook.com/heartmybackpack and Twitter: @heartmybackpack

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