Featured Traveler: Sofie Couwenbergh of WonderfulWanderings.com

Sofie in Portugal
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Sofie Couwenbergh of WonderfulWanderings.com

Sofie quit a stable job in marketing to forge her own career path and travel the world, exploring cities and cultures in her home country Belgium and beyond. She’s created her own self-guided Wonderful Walks and shares travel tips and inspiration on her blog WonderfulWanderings.com. If you connect with her on Facebook, she’ll be one happy gall.

Sofie Couwenbergh in Bilbao Spain
Sofie Couwenbergh in Bilbao Spain

Sofie started blogging full-time since the beginning of 2015 and so far haven’t regretted taking the step to become a freelancer. Shes a big fan of tea and love to dance and she considers blogging and traveling her priority at the moment.

Learn more about Sofie by reading her answers to few of our travel related questions:

When did you started blogging, Why do you blog?

I launched the blog in 2012 because I didn’t feel like I could do the kind of writing I wanted to do at the job I had at that time. I wanted a space that was completely mine. With WonderfulWanderings.com, I hope to inspire other people to travel and especially help them to plan their own trips in an efficient way.

Sofie Couwenbergh in Bulgaria
Sofie Couwenbergh in Bulgaria

Tell us more about your hometown.

Leuven is a quaint university town in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium. It has a centuries old history, tons of bars and restaurants and great shopping opportunities. The center is easily walkable, although you’ll see bikes everywhere as well.
When did you start traveling, inspirations?

I’ve actually always traveled. Ever since I was little, my parents have taken me and later also my brother abroad. When I was 12, my dad took me to London for the first time and we’ve been doing an annual city trip ever since. When I was 18, I was allowed to travel without my parents for the first time. A friend and I went to Barcelona and had a blast, although we stayed in a rather crappy hostel. I’ve only traveled more and more since.

Do you have any funny travel stories?

A (girl) friend and I traveled to Granada, Spain together. We’d booked a private hostel room for the two of us. Little did we know that that room was the only private one in the hostel. But no biggie, right? So we checked in and received a key – one key – which had a heart on it. The guy at the reception looked at us a bit funny, or did we only imagine that. He took us to our room but left it to us to open the door and go in. When we did, we saw why he’d had a funny look… Our room was clearly the lovers room, completely with mirrors on the ceiling and a kama sutra drawing on the wall!

Lessons you learned on the road?

Smile at people. The more open you are toward strangers, the more open they’ll be to you and the more likely you’ll make connections you’ll never forget.

Destinations on your Bucket List?

South Africa!

Sofie Couwenbergh in Sintra Portugal
Sofie Couwenbergh in Sintra Portugal

Beach or Mountain?

Can I be in the city in between the two? 🙂

How often do you travel by air / land?

It depends, I travel a lot to neighboring countries, which usually happens by train, but I just as easily fly around Europe or further. On average I think I go abroad twice a month.

What’s your favorite airport?

Brussels Airport, of course!

Sofie in Portugal
Sofie in Portugal

What is your favorite Hotel?

That’s a tough one. I absolutely loved Quinta Nova in the Douro Valley in Portugal. The view on the vineyards was amazing and the food to die for.

Sofie op Kreta
Sofie op Kreta

What is your preferred Airline?

Brussels Airlines, just because I’ve never had any issues with them. I often fly the same airline, though, as I travel a lot within Europe. I’d love to try out an airline like Qatar or Etihad. Business class, of course 😀

How do you beat jet lag / Motion sickness?

I endure it:D For het lag, I try to adapt to the local rhythm as quickly as possible. For motion sickness, a good cola to make me burp (sorry, it works) or something against nausea. A friend once gave me a ginger tablet when I was nauseaus and that worked like a charm, but I don’t know if it works for motion sickness as well.

Sofie in Quebec
Sofie in Quebec

What are your favorite travel gadgets?

It’s an app, but I wouldn’t know what to do without Google Maps. I use it everyswhere, all the time; I actually need to use it less and wander more again, but it’s so handy and reassuring  to always know where you are.

Any Tips on how to travel light?

Take only clothes that can all be combined with each other (work within a basic color palet!) and only pack what you really need. Don’t think “in case I spill something”, or “in case I sweat”. Know thyself and realize that it’s perfectly fine to wear the same outfit two days in a row (I’m looking at you, moms).

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Have a plan. You don’t need to stick to it, but I find it reassuring to know what there is to do, when everything opens and closes and how I need to get there. When you have a plan, you can still go with the flow, but you’ll always have something to fall back on.

Sofie in Spain
Sofie in Spain

Best Backpack Brand?

I only travel with a laptop bag and a trolley:-)

Top 3 International Destinations?

Canada, Portugal and… pershaps the USA, because I love LA.

Favorite Travel Quote:

The only travel quotes I know by heart are the two everybody keeps republishing over and over and over again, so those two. You know, about wandering and being lost and being things that make you richer. How about I launch a new one?

“To truly experience the world, one must stop reading travel quotes” 😀

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