On the Reizen & Reistips (Travel & Travel Tips) website travel blogger Danny shares his own travel experiences and tips, but he is also curious about the stories of fellow travelers – like me! In this interview, I talk about my travels, travel experiences and preferences. Where have I been, what are my best travel moments and what tips do I have to share?
This is an English translation of the interview that was originally published in Dutch on the website of Reizen & Reistips.
Elisa is a true travel and photo addict with a passion for adventure and the beauty of the world. She has already visited 63 countries, so she has plenty of travel tips to share!
- Name: Elisa
- Age: 37
- From: Alkmaar, The Netherlands
Visited countries: 63. Namibia, South Africa, Australia, China (incl. Hong Kong), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Bahamas, Cuba, Curaçao, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Canada, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile.
Where did your last trip go to?
Thailand! That was a really cool trip. 3 weeks, 5 places, I enjoyed it very much. Thailand was never really high on my to-do list, to be honest. It just seemed so commercial and touristy to me. But my boyfriend wanted to go there, so we finally went to Thailand last January and we definitely did not regret it! I did my best to find not so crowded places. The islands in particular are quite a challenge in that regards, moreover around the holidays, but we found a lovely place and would love to go back soon!
We traveled to Pai, Chiang Mai, Koh Chang, Kanchanaburi and Bangkok. Kanchanaburi turned out to be our least favorite place. A commercial amusement park next to the railroad named ‘Prisoners of War Camp’ with bouncy air castles and stalls, awful! And to me, there were too many old white men accompanied by a particular kind of local women in the bars, you know what I mean? Oh well, what can I say… Kanchanaburi town was not my cup of tea, but who knows, you may love it?
Do you already have a new destination planned?
Before the Corona crisis really hit Europe, I had a trip planned that took me along the Nile: Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor in Egypt. In addition, I had several other trips planned already for 2020: a round trip in Georgia for April, Ukraine in May and a round trip through Iceland in the summer. For the autumn I had plans to go to Marrakech and in the winter to Nicaragua. But how that will work now with the Corona crisis, who knows?
Unfortunately I had to cancel the first two trips already. Over the last couple of years I travelled almost every month, but unfortunately that won’t happen in 2020 due to COVID-19. Although I was already thinking of traveling a little less this year. I still have loads of writing materials waiting for me to turn them into articles, so I will never get bored.
What is your favorite continent or country?
New Zealand is my favorite country in terms of natural beauty. I have been there twice now, can highly recommend it, even if you only have three weeks or so. Culturally, Japan is really a winner, and they have beautiful nature too. I hope to be able to go back to Japan soon, so that my boyfriend can also see and experience it. When I finally went to Japan on a solo trip in 2018, after 15 years of wishing and wanting, it was really a dream come true for me, absolutely fantastic!
Ireland is another favorite of mine, especially within Europe. Ireland is such a beautiful country, with very friendly people and cozy pub culture. I have been there four times now. Africa is a great travel destination, I would like to see a lot more of that continent in the near future.
New Zealand is my top favorite country, but Japan is a cultural highlight.
Which city would you recommend for a city trip?
Prague and London are my favorite cities within Europe, outside of Europe that would be New York City (5 times) and Tokyo. In Prague you should definitely do the Hidden Prague Bike Tour. That tour company is run by a bunch of passionate Dutch people. Lots of fun and achievable for almost everyone, even if you are very pregnant or with kids for example.
Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea is one of my favorite hotels in New York. And another tip for NYC: do not try to squeeze everything in a few days. Combine NYC for example with Florida first, so that you are less affected by your jet lag once you arrive in New York City and can enjoy the city to the fullest.
Which special or undiscovered place should we visit?
A geisha show in Kyoto, Japan. The original maiko and geisha show can only be seen a few weeks a year, so you will need to be very lucky to be there at the right time. And sleep in an authentic ryokan with onsen (hot spring) in rural Japan.
What is the most beautiful trip you have done so far?
I can not really choose between Japan, New Zealand and Namibia combined with South Africa. All three were such cool trips! Namibia I did with one of my best friends, we drove around in our VW Polo, an amazing adventure. Sleeping under the stars, Etosha National Park, climbing the high orange sand dunes … Then we flew to Cape Town, where we went out with friends of hers. Our day of vineyard hopping was truly one of the most beautiful days of my life. Blenheim in Marlborough, New Zealand has so many fantastic vineyards, I really enjoy those kind of trips.
Which destination was a disappointment for you?
Malta. Maybe I have seen too much in my life or something, not sure. The weather was also not quite right, frankly speaking. All so-called ‘highlights’ were quite disappointing to us, anti-social road users, everything looks unfinished, dirty beaches, no atmosphere … Sister island of Gozo felt like it was worth the trip.
Another place I would not recommend as a travel destination is Naples, Italy. I have been there three times now, so I have really tried it, but Naples and I just aren’t a match. As far as I am concerned, the least pleasant city of Italy. A beautiful country that I like visiting, but Naples, no that is a waste of time to me. I already knew that after the first visit, the 2nd and 3rd time I had to go there for business and my first impression got confirmed again. Ugly, dirty city with unfriendly, bad-mannered people, the food is often not good either. Escape the city and enjoy the nearby Capri, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast, much more fun!
What special animal have you ever seen while traveling?
A beautiful toucan at the Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Very cool to see them in the wild, sitting on a tree branch, looking at you. There is also a nice bird park there. And yes of course the animals in South Africa and Namibia, such as wild rhinos, elephants and lions, beautiful! In Etosha NP we also saw a dik-dik, a mini deer with big, Disney-kind of eyes, super cute. I also really like horse riding when traveling; a horseback safari in South Africa and horseback riding with an Argentinean gaucho in the Andes certainly were special rides.
What type of traveler are you? How do you prepare for a trip?
I am a planner who likes luxury without exaggerating, getting good value for money. Trips to countries with particular risks I book with my friend who has her own travel agency, although I am probably not her easiest-to-please customer LOL I sort everything out in advance. Not because I absolutely want to do and see everything, but so that I know beforehand what there is to do. That way I do not have to spend a lot of time on the spot sorting things out. I prefer to do this on a rainy evening or weekend day at home behind the laptop.
I like freedom so traveling by car has its advantages. However, for example I travelled around Japan alone by train and that was great! Thailand was with drivers, which saved my boyfriend a lot of stress and is not necessarily more expensive than a rental car. I do think more and more about the environment and try to travel climate friendlier these days, for example at home I drive an electric car now.
I see myself as a planner who likes luxury, without exaggerating
Tell us about your travel blog?
My travel blog is called Flitter Fever. I like flittering from place to place (like a bird) and as a travel junkie I get this feverish feeling when I even think about not being able to travel for a while. Blogging has affected my way of traveling to some degree. Prepare a little better, start writing whenever I have time during my travels, take some extra photos of certain things that I want to include in a new article, things like that.
My blog is a one-woman show, which is quite a challenge in the current web of SEO and ever-changing algorithms, combined with a busy, demanding full-time job. I usually publish one to max two times a week, often quite long articles, which take a lot of time, but I really enjoy doing it. I used to love writing as a child and as a teenager I wanted to be a journalist, I guess that’s who I am, a person with a passion for writing and traveling. Writing is also a way of relaxation for me, me-time. If I can’t write for awhile, I tend to get a bit cranky.
I love flittering from place to place and I get this feverish feeling when I even think about not being able to travel for a while.
Which equipment and gadgets are in your travel bag for sure?
One of my articles is about the 40 travel articles that I like to take with me on a trip. But I do not bring them all on every trip; it depends on what kind of trip I am going to take. No matter where I’m going to travel to, I always bring my good Canon camera with me, it has a good zoom lens. My own travel pillow, earplugs and eye mask are always squeezed into my luggage because sleeping well is a must. For longer flights I also bring my Bose noise canceling headphone. On a solo trip, the tripod and selfie stick will certainly be part of my luggage. Nowadays I try to travel lighter and therefore prefer to carry less stuff with me, but this is a forever lasting challenge.
What is your ultimate travel song?
I really cannot pick one particular song. Music plays an important role in my life and I love combining travel and music. I have written written an entire article about traveling for music. Concerts have sent me to places all over the world. I also went on a cruise to the Bahamas with my favorite band. And yes, playing Enya’s Celtic music loudly from the speakers while driving the country roads in Ireland, goosebumps!
Enya’s Celtic music loudly from the speakers while driving through the countryside of Ireland, goosebumps!
Finally: which destination would you like to go to?
My to-do list is quite long and the more I travel, the longer it seems to get instead of shrinking haha Countries like Georgia, Iceland, Uganda, Taiwan, Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Jordan and Albania are definitely on my current bucket list. For a variety of reasons: beautiful things to see, culture, food, people, animals, etc. Uganda and Borneo mainly because of the gorillas and orangutans, I really would like to see them for real, in their own natural habitat.
Hawaii also attracts me, and maybe India? However, I do not have the ambition to travel to all countries world-wide. I feel like I should not travel to certain countries, such as North Korea, at least with the current state of affairs. I would love to go back to Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil and the USA for example. My grandmother was born and raised in Indonesia. I think it would be interesting to take a deep dive into that part of my family’s history.
About the author: Elisa
In daily life I am a marketing manager in veterinary medicine. In my spare time I like to travel and write about it on my travel blog FlitterFever.com. I started my first own website about my life in the US during my studies back in 2006. My current travel blog has been around for over 4 years now. At the beginning of this year I registered with the Chamber of Commerce. I travel a lot (about every month) and regularly receive questions for tips, so I decided to put them centrally available on my website. I share tips and info as I would do with my best friend.
My articles are usually quite long and contain a lot of details; useful things to know that I have gathered (not rarely over the years) and sometimes also things that I would have liked to know myself beforehand. Working on my blog till late happens quite frequently, but I do not mind because I want to go that extra mile, take that extra step, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I love city trips, round trips, solo trips and recently made my first group trip, which I actually liked more than I thought I would. Saves a lot of time in preparation LOL Perhaps also something characteristic for me and my blog are the vintage style dresses that I often wear during my travels.
Thank you Danny van der Meijden of Reizen & Reistips for this great interview!
The original, Dutch version of this interview can be read on the website of Reizen & Reistips (Travel & Travel Tips).
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