Hayley from A Lovely Planet tells us all about her travels including an incredible time in South America, Zanzibar and swimming with dolphins in our latest travel blogger interview!
Why do you love travel?
So many reasons! I love the excitement of discovering a new place. Meeting new people, seeing different cultures. For me, even the build up is great, choosing where to go, buying travel books, researching, looking at maps, and then arriving and realising its nothing like you imagined. Or everything you imagined.
What destination is top of your bucket list?
I really want to go to Norway (among many other places). I love Scandinavia and have been to Sweden and Denmark a few times, and had an amazing time. I’ve heard the scenery in Norway is stunning and I love the Scandinavian culture.
Where is your most favourite place you have travelled to?
This is obviously a very difficult question, and there are many places I love for very different reasons. I think if I had to choose just one, it would probably be Zanzibar. I spent some time volunteering in a school there in 2012 and it was amazing. The people were so lovely, it has such a rich history and influences from all over, plus some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. I also swam with wild dolphins there which was one of the most magical experiences.
What is your most favourite memory or experience whilst travelling?
I was travelling in South America with my sister. We were heading to Paraty, Brazil with a few friends and and we got chatting to a few locals on the bus. We had planned to do a tour of the town when we arrived, but they suggested instead, that we head out of the town to a collection of waterfalls and natural pools. So on arrival, we abandoned our original plan, grabbed our swimsuits and followed their directions.
We found ourselves in the most amazing location, rock pools and waterfalls surrounded by lush rainforest, and the best part was there was only a couple of other people there, who were all Paraty residents. The waterfalls had a natural slide that you could glide down on your bum, or for the more athletic/talented -slide down on foot (with an optional somersault at the end!)
For me, the highlight was a 12 metre high rock above a deep pool of water, which made for a very scary and exciting diving board. We hadn’t seen anyone do it, but there was a rope ladder attached, so we knew its purpose. After checking the depth of the water my sister and I left the boys behind and headed up the ladder. 12 metres definitely looks a lot higher from the top, but after a few seconds contemplation – I went for it. It was an exhilarating experience. The only snag was that as I hit the water the pressure ripped my bikini bottoms off – so getting out of the rock pool was a little interesting! My sister jumped next and then we managed to persuade one of the boys to have a go. It was an amazing day and one I will never forget.
What is your favourite photo from your travels?
I love this photo for two reasons; the colour of the ice is amazing, and secondly, because it was such a fantastic day – heli-hiking on Franz Josef.