When did you first fall in love with traveling?
Growing up in Greece, we never had money or time to travel. I only went to Scotland every few years (that’s where my mum is from) to visit family. When I moved to Scotland when I was 18 for university, I had the chance to go to Finland for a semester and I was terrified. I almost didn’t go. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Saw the Northern lights, met incredible people from all over the world, learned to ski, visited Santa Claus village in Lapland and it just made me step outside my comfort zone in so many ways. This then helped me find the courage to go to California for my internship for a whole year. And that’s when I started traveling solo. When I was in California I had no one to go to San Francisco with so I decided to go on my own and despite being nervous at first, I absolutely loved it. And since then I have traveled to 11 states, and around Europe on my own and I prefer it more than going with friends. I think it is important to mention that because I chose to study in Scotland and leave the small town I grew up on Crete, and then went to study abroad in Finland, this then made it a lot easier to find courage to travel even further and realize that it’s not that scary.
You have a lot of experience in solo travel, can you give out some tips for solo female travelers out there?
I would definitely recommend staying in a hostel! It’s a great way to meet people very easily, it’s super cheap and they usually have some kind of tours that you could join to explore the destination. When I travel solo I try to not drink alcohol. I want to be 100% aware of my surroundings. If I do end up having a cocktail or a beer, I always keep an eye on it and do not leave it unattended just in case someone spikes it. I avoid walking alone in any little side streets at night or through parks when it’s dark. In the evenings I try to stay in the main areas where there are plenty of people and street lights and always have enough battery on my phone. I also always take a bum bag with me to have on my waist with all my important things, e.g. passport, money so it’s safer rather in my backpack. Lastly, I would recommend taking less stuff with you. Travelling alone with a heavy backpack is definitely exhausting and unnecessary. Just take a few clothes that you can mix and match, minimal makeup/beauty items, charger, phone, passport and a comfy pair of shoes. I usually take a lock too for the hostels’ lockers to keep my valuables in when I’m out.
What do you like the most about solo travel?
I love how free it makes me feel. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want and you really get to know yourself. Plus, traveling solo does not mean you’ll be lonely or alone because there are so many other solo travelers as well as locals that you may meet on the road, bus stops, cafes, hostels, etc.
Do you have any tips on how to stay on budget when traveling?
Staying in hostels or couchsurfing is a great way to save a huge amount of money as usually accommodation is the most expensive part of travelling. I would recommend trying out cheaper local places such as street food to eat at rather than touristy restaurants, etc. And if your accommodation has a kitchen, try to cook most meals there.
You are very creative and have amazing photos, do you have a background in photography? How can you describe your style in photography?
Thank you! I actually studied International Tourism Management but during my studies, I started taking photos of my travels and my university city with an iphone 6 for a couple of years and then invested in my first camera, a Sony Alpha 5100. And from there, I just started practicing every single day, and learning more and more about photography. I love taking photos of landscapes and people but i also love doing food and product photography. I take most of my Instagram self portraits on my own, using a tripod and a timer.
What gear do you like to use?
I now use the Sony Alpha 5100, an Iphone 12, and I always carry a tripod with me since I travel alone. And for editing, I use Lightroom and Photoshop on a Macbook Pro.
You just published an ebook about Aberdeen, what is it about and where can we find it?
The ebook is called “How to travel Aberdeenshire by bus” and inside you will find more than 50 destinations that you can visit by bus. It includes how to get to places such as castles, distilleries, hiking trails, villages, etc. and descriptions of each of these places, the names of the bus stops and how to get to the destination from the bus stop. It also includes suggested itineraries to help you plan and make your trips more economical and allow you to visit more places in a day.
How long have you been to Aberdeen and what are some hidden gems that only locals know about?
I have been living here for about 5 years. Some of my favourite places are:
-Old Aberdeen. From cobbled streets to stunning buildings, there is always something to admire in Old Aberdeen, whatever the season is. It really makes you feel like you are in Hogwarts.
-Footdee or locally known as Fittie. There you can walk around and admire the cute cottages and gardens that are decorated by their residents.
-Torry Battery. A great place for dolphin watching and breathtaking views of the city, is Torry Battery. You can go any time of the day but I would definitely recommend going for sunset. When the dolphins jump out of the water, the golden light reflects off them and it’s one of the most beautiful scenes to witness. Fun fact: Scotland has the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world!
What is the place that you think everyone should visit in their life?
Maui, Hawaii! One of my favourite places in the world. I went for my 21st birthday for a week and stayed in a hostel called Banana Bungalow. So many people questioned the fact that I’m going alone to celebrate my birthday for a week. But wow…it was incredible! I met people from all over the world at the hostel (100% recommend this hostel), jumped off cliffs and waterfalls, hiked the Haleakala Volcano, swam with turtles, saw whales, went on road trips, saw the island from a helicopter, and just had one the best weeks of my life. So grateful to have experienced these adventures with some amazing people. Maui definitely exceeded my expectations. I can’t drive so I was quite worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to explore the island but the hostel offered free tours daily and even took us to non-touristy spots and got to really experience the local culture of Hawaii.
Where would you like to travel that you haven’t been yet and where would you go back if you had the opportunity?
I would love to travel to Vietnam. And if i were to go back somewhere, it would probably be Hawaii.
Where can we connect with you? Please share your social media, website, etc.
Thanks for answering the questions 😊