In this travel chat with Georgina from My Timeless Footsteps, mature travel blogger and empty-nester Georgina shares how her love of travel and hunger to learn a new language led her to start blogging just over 12 months ago.
Georgina’s deep knowledge of London shines a light on off-the-beaten-path gems, with her rich travel stories drawing the reader in -they always leave me want to read more!
Hi, I am Georgina and I started to blog passionately a little over a year ago as My Timeless Footsteps.
Growing up in Malaysia till my early twenties, it was the desire to cross oceans and see what is beyond the horizon that brought me to the UK, a place I proudly call Home.
In 2015, I decided to give up my full-time employment to pursue something more fulfilling for myself – travel and learn a language. The timing was perfect as my two kids were in Universities pursuing their own interests and I thought if not now, when?
My blog is aimed at women and couples from all walks of life and especially women over 50 whom I seek to inspire to pursue their heart’s desires – be it love, travel or change of career, it is never too late.Georgina
Q1. When did you start travelling?
For as long as I can recall, I travelled often as my parents would take our family interstate (in Malaysia) to visit relatives but my grandest of adventures was when I was twenty-two years old.
Q2. Where did you go on your first trip, and why?
At 22, I left Malaysia to the UK to pursue a degree in Law which I duly completed three years later. UK was a whole new world to be explored and I have not stopped since.
Q3. How would you describe your travel style?
Of late, I travel solo and I enjoy doing so as I can take all the time, I need to snap away eye catching locations. However, for some destinations, I join tour groups as I believe guided tours add value to exploring a destination by way of knowledgeable tour guides and highlights of a region which sometimes may be difficult to accomplish if my visit is a brief one.
For domestic travel, I drive to locations which are not far but if it involves more than three hours journey, I prefer to travel by train. The UK has some great scenic train journeys which I have only just begun experiencing.
I do spoil myself with a little luxury by staying in an upscale accommodation as I prefer the space and the quality that comes along with it.
Q4. What do you love most about travelling? And what drives you crazy?
Anita Desai once said, “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow” and that quote resonates with me completely. I become newer at each travel, each destination, the people I meet and places I visit – each teach me something new.
I am not sure what drives me crazy because although I’m quite set in my ways and can pretty much achieve what I want when I travel, I am also flexible if the situation demands it.
I think what will disappoint me greatly is if a tour gets cancelled or the hotel did not accommodate my request for a room with my preferred views – thankfully I have not experienced either of these.
Q5. How do you most like to travel? (mode of transport)
I like to drive because it gives me greater flexibility to stop at scenic spots and to enjoy the journey at my pace. Otherwise, I like train travelling as it affords me time to relax.
Q6. Are you a planner or a last-minute traveller?
Absolutely a planner! Without a doubt. I have a list for everything. However, while travelling, I have opted for impromptu detours and unplanned activities which have been fun.
Q7. Are you a full-time or part-time traveller?
I have lived in the US for 4 months and in Japan for almost 6 months. I travelled regularly to the US for 2 years. However, with Covid upon us, travel seems non-existent this year. I squeezed in a trip to Scotland late September, and I have plans to explore Wales also. Generally, I am a part-time traveller nowadays as I have other commitments and I dedicate more time to writing.
Q8. Do you travel differently today to how you did in your 20s and 30s? What’s changed, and why?
In my late teens going into early 20s, I did a few backpacking trips with friends, in Malaysia. In my mid-20s and with work commitments, it was more a last-minute weekend getaway sort of travel. I travelled with friends or solo and most times there were very good last-minute deals for flights and up-scale accommodations which I took advantage of.
In my late 20s, I had met my ex-husband, but he was not much of a traveller and we did not travel very much. It was okay because we purchased a house, and our time was taken up with creative ideas around the house and entertaining friends.
In my early 30s, my son came along, and I was determined to show him the world, so we travelled with a baby, nearby at first than to theme parks and Disneyland Paris. With my daughter on board as well by my mid-30s, travel was firmly back on our schedule. We travelled at every possible half-term and termly holidays.
Travelling with my son, and then with my daughter also saw me becoming a meticulous planner and embracing the upscale baby boomer lifestyle. Every detail was included right from wake-up time to bedtime, which also included their downtime. It was important to me that when we travelled, we brought comfort and familiarity of our home with us. So, I brought along their favourite games, soft toys, and videos to watch. Excess baggage did not matter. My kids were always so well behaved, that travelling with kids was easy and fun. As my kids grew older, they embraced travel as a normalcy.
Now, in my 50s, with adult kids with interests of their own, I travel solo. My daughter comes along sometimes if she can but mostly it has been solo for the last two years.
Q9. Has Coronavirus made you think differently about your future travels?
It certainly has. I want to do less flying and travel by train more. I travelled to Inverness, Scotland recently by train and it was a relaxing 8-hour journey. It is not only environmentally friendly, but I also feel safer and healthier being on the ground because it gives me greater control over what I do whilst travelling.
Having said that, I cannot travel everywhere I want to go by train. I very much look forward to exploring Canada, Alaska, New Zealand, Australia, and South America where I need to travel by air. I hope to do so when the world opens-up post-Covid when I am comfortable with international travel.
Q10. Tell us about the most memorable place you’ve visited so far
Well, each destination I had travelled to has been special with unforgettable memories. The many temples and mountains of Japan, the marvel of experiencing the Smoky Mountains, and the trips to the beautiful Lake District as well as exploring Dumfries & Galloway along with Hadrian’s Wall with my kids – treasured memories beyond words could describe.
I think If I had to choose one that had the most impact on me, it would have to be Niagara Falls, Ontario. The majestic waterfall was surreal. The journey behind the falls and getting so close to the Horseshoe Falls was an unimaginable experience till then. It was quite simply, awesome!
Q11. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go, or a type of travel/experience
you wouldn’t be comfortable with?
I think it would have to be India and some parts of Africa where there is unrest for safety reasons. I would not do backpacking now.
Q12. If you could live in one other country, where would you choose, and why?
I considered moving to the US a few years ago but I could not do it. My heart is in the UK where my kids are and as I explore more of this beautiful country, I think this is where permanence will always be. However, I would love to spend 6 months at a time in a country like Canada, Alaska, New Zealand or Greece to explore and experience the country.
Q13. What’s the worst travel mistake/regret you’ll admit to?
Mistakes – I have made many. Regrets – none.
Every mistake made has taught me to be better and has shaped me to be the person I am today.
One travel mistake was when I tried a budget airline, and the baggage allowance was per bag and not cumulative total. I had to purchase a bag and repack at the airport on the airport floor, much to the horror of my kids.
If I had read the small print, I would have known but I assumed that because there were four of us in a group, one bag could weigh a couple of kilos more than another. Apparently not! I had never faced this issue with British Airways, or Malaysian Airlines, the carriers I use. That was the only time I flew to Barcelona on a budget airline and I booked our return flight on BA.
Q14. What do you do first when you arrive somewhere new?
I check the en-suite to ensure it is perfectly clean, enough towels and hot water. Then the views, TV channels, the menu, and evacuation meeting point along with fire alarm testing times.
Q15. How do you stay healthy when travelling?
I pretty much eat healthy with lots of fish and veg. Red meat is virtually non-existent in my diet. When I travel, my choices are easily accommodated. Together with fresh fruits, lots of walking and good early nights is about all I can do because my days are usually full on with sightseeing activities.
Q16. What wouldn’t you leave home without in your cabin bag?
My i-Phone. I cannot imagine a moment without my phone!
Q17. Which movie(s) or book(s) have inspired your travels?
Movies that inspires the travel in me is without a doubt is Mamma Mia. I am completely enchanted with the islands and look forward to spending at least 6 months to experience the culture and history of the country.
As for books, I think one of the earlier ones I have read is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – the inspiring fable about following your dream. Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is another of my favourites as well as A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (book) and the movie.
Q18. What are the best and the worst things you’ve eaten on your travels?
This is a difficult one as I am selective of what I eat. I think the worst would be if the table is laid out with all sorts of red meat with no other options, but this has not happened so far. I cannot recall of an experience where I’ve eaten the worst.
Q19. When choosing somewhere to visit, what’s most important to you?
It’s history, culture and the opportunity to explore both the beaten as well as the unbeaten paths of the destination
Q20. Tell us about three midlife bloggers you follow and why their blogs inspire you
Lisa of One Ocean at a Time. I discovered Lisa along with her blog in an FB group and I was inspired from the very first moment I started reading her adventures around the globe. I have followed her blog since as she takes me along virtually with her journeys through her beautifully crafted stories that, some of which I can only dream of experiencing.
Lisa’s is an incredible journey and embracing sailing at the age of 50 after winning the battle against breast cancer is even more so. How can anyone be not inspired by Lisa?
Estelle and Greg of What’s on Watsons – Retirees Enjoying Travel. I met Estelle on Instagram and have followed What’s on Watsons since. Both Estelle and Greg retired about 4 years ago to embrace travel full-time. However, since the onset of travel restrictions, along with cancellations of some international travel, they have been exploring locally and I keep up with their regular posts on FB
Barry Till of Travel the World Club – Barry writes detailed articles about getting from A to B and of his travels generally, with a sense of humour which often makes me smile as I read his adventures.
Q21. What’s #1 on your travel bucket list and why?
Alaska. I know it is cold, but Alaska has always fascinated me. The rivers, mountains, fjords, glaciers, coastlines…the list goes on.
Q22. Where are you planning to visit next?
My next travel will be within UK, most likely Wales or back to Scotland. I want to do as much domestic travel as I can now during the pandemic and support UK businesses along the way. I envisage that I will continue to do so for the next few months until travel restrictions are eased. Beyond that, I would like to travel Europe by train and visit all the European destinations on my list.
A Little More Travel Chat with Georgina from My Timeless Footsteps
Georgina’s Top 3 Travel Tips:
Top packing tip
Layers. Packing layers (rolled of course) is not only useful for your comfort adjusting to the rise and fall of temperatures but it is also lightweight, not stretching the allowable baggage weight and it does not take up too much space as a chunky jumper would.
How to survive long-haul flying
Watch movies or read. I hardly sleep when flying and often watch movies and when bored, I read a Kindle book.
How to stay safe when travelling
This is a tough question to answer because it is an important one. It depends very much where one is travelling to and adopt safety measures accordingly.
- Follow your instincts – it never lets you down.
- If you are not comfortable at a place or the people around you, leave unnoticed at your earliest opportunity.
- Generally, observe and respect local customs. As a woman, always dress appropriately.
- Be in control of the situation – don’t drink too much or take drugs so to impair your sense of judgment.
As I travel solo these days, I ensure the hotels I stay at are central and within walking distance to transportation. The hotels must have had good reviews as well.
Since travelling solo, I do not stay out late, and I do not visit clubs etc. Sometimes, if there is a Michelin starred restaurant that I wish to dine at, I make my reservations for an early time of 6:30 pm or 7.00 pm. Otherwise, I select a hotel that offers a good selection on their menu and perhaps music in the lounge. I have my dinners at the hotels for 7:30, listen to live music over a drink and retire to my self-imposed curfew for 10 pm.
When needing transportation from the hotel, I ask for one through the hotel reception – this is something I had always done even when travelling with my kids as the companies will have a decent reputation to be working with upscale hotels.
Finally, I carry a personal alarm and a mini torch.
Final Quick Words for this Travel Chat with Georgina from My Timeless Footsteps
Self-guided travel or join a tour? Self-guided
Window seat or aisle? Preferably window
Favourite thing to wear for travelling? Comfortable jeans, boots.
Favourite Country? Japan for its landscape, culture, food and people
Checked bags or carry on only? Checked bags.
Book or Kindle? Kindle for in-flight reads, but always have a book packed in checked luggage. I like turning the pages of a book when reading.
Best travel resource? Condé Nast Traveler for inspiration, and blogs for details.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this travel chat with Georgina from My Timeless Footsteps. Don’t forget to check out her travel stories on My Travel Footsteps and do follow her on social media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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More Travel Chats
While you’re here, why not take a peek at more travel chats with inspiring
travel bloggers? They have so many tales to tell!
- Sue from Sue Where? Why? What?
- Zoe from Duende by Madam Zo-Zo
- Heather from Heather Begins
- Lisa from One Ocean at a Time
- Alma from Roaming Fox
- Liesbet from Roaming About
If you have any feedback or suggestions for other mature travel bloggers to interview, please let me know in the comments box below! If you have any questions, feel free to ask too.