Hi, I’m Diva – though not to my parents – a thirty ‘something’ marketing professional with a love of cakes, cocktails and the contents of my Netflix queue (I watch more TV than is strictly healthy). Most of all, though, I’m passionate about travel.
Both my parents took epic, challenging, life-affirming trips in their early twenties when they emigrated to the UK and, with that kind of pedigree, it is a little surprising that it took me so long to break out of my package-holiday-with-the-girls comfort zone and find a little adventure.
I took baby steps. I worked in the US for a while and was lucky that later jobs gave me the opportunity (in between meetings, of course)to explore cities that wouldn’t normally be on my bucket list. But it wasn’t until I hit thirty that I booked my first independent trip and lost my backpacking virginity – and I haven’t looked back since.
I’m a traveller with unashamedly touristy tendencies, fitting most of my trips into either weekends or 2/3 week stints of annual leave. Yes, I have a backpack (full disclosure: it has straps AND wheels) but I never leave the house without mini-straighteners (especially after the great Amazon Frizzball of 08), a MAC lipstick and a pair of wedges. I’ve also been known to take the odd organised tour and –nurse! Pass me my smelling salts!– get on an open-top bus. If in your mind that doesn’t make me a “real” backpacker, guess what? I DON’T CARE!
What is a “real” backpacker anyway? I had always thought that it was exclusively the domain of either posh ‘gap yah’ wasters called Jamie or Sophie, or pseudo-hippies with dirty blonde dreadlocks wandering barefoot around India smoking shedloads of weed and being “dead authentic, yeah”. Oh, and Australians .
I didn’t expect to meet many people “like me” on my travels (by that I mean crazy black girls travelling solo with too much luggage and inappropriate footwear). I didn’t think I would bond with my fellow travellers . I didn’t think the locals would want to talk to me. In all honesty, I half expected to be run out of town or burnt as a witch somewhere along the way (I’d obviously been reading the WRONG Reddit forums ).
But you know what? I did it anyway.
As empowering as it was to challenge other people’s stereotypes as to what a backpacker should or shouldn’t be, it was even more powerful to challenge my own. In reality, “the road” has turned turned out to be a much more diverse place. Yes, the usual suspects still dominate, but with every trip I take, I meet more and more people of all ages, all circumstances, from all backgrounds.
Since that first trip, I’ve become a little bit addicted to exploring new places, meeting new people and – be they members of the local community or even my fellow travellers – learning from them too. Happiness for me is a packed bag and booked ticket (as well as the cake and Netflix thing ) and I plan to keep packing those bags and booking those tickets for as long as I’m able. I’m really grateful to have you along for the ride.
Please bear with me, this site is very much a work in progress. Find out a little more about the content here. Feel free to comment, get in contact or stalk me on twitter. Be brutal – I can take it!
Lots of love,