Why do you travel?
The answer to this question is very fluid for me, and it has definitely changed throughout the years, and even from trip-to-trip. Reasons why I have traveled range anywhere from because it is a right of passage, because I want to see and experience new things, because I want to heal myself, because it’s fun, because I want to make a career out of it, because I need to get away/have a break from “real life”, because I want to take photos of somewhere/something, because I’ve inextricably always wanted to go to [x], because I want to experience a new culture, because I want to push myself, and so on. Why I travel is all of these things and more, and I am sure new reasons and motivations will continue to come up as time goes on.
Share a travel experience that really shaped who you are today.
I think that every time I travel it in some way shapes me, however of course a few stand out more than others. Once I was in Sri Lanka and waiting until it was time for me to head to the girls orphanage I was volunteering at. It was hot, and so I went into the small ramshackle shop at the top of the hill, and bought a glass bottle of coke to try and dismiss the heat while I waited. I exited the shop, and sat down on the rickety wooden stairs; sipping on my coke as I watched the tuk tuks buzz by. A small, old woman was slowly making her way up the hill on the other side of the road, laden with bags and the weight of her years. She crossed the street and passed me on the stairs as she entered the shop. A few seconds later, I felt a hand lightly touch my shoulder. I glanced up into the old woman’s eyes, pale blue with cataracts, and was immediately worried that I had offended her by being in the way on the stairs and went to move. She shook her head, and furnished a small plastic stool – gesturing for me to sit. I sat down and thanked her, then watched as she moved slowly away in the direction she had been heading. It dawned on me then that this woman, who was old, tired, and burdened with bags, had seen me – a tourist – sitting on the stairs in the dirt, and crossed the road solely to ask the shopkeeper for something for me to sit on, brought it to me, and then continued on her way. This single act of kindness and humanity I will never forget. I paid the shopkeeper so that I could keep the glass coke bottle (which they usually send back for a refund), as a reminder of that moment, and of the kind of person I want to be, and often forget exists in our modern world.
Check a bag or carry on?
100% depends on the trip!
Do you collect souvenirs when you travel? If so, what?
I do! I will usually try to collect a magnet from each city/place I visit, but I also will purchase anything that takes my fancy and which I feel represents my time there, or otherwise reminds me of my travels.
You just won an all expenses paid trip. Where are you going? Who are you taking with you?
This is a hard one, so I’m going to pick two – Bora Bora with my significant other, and Greenland, on my own.
Where are you heading next?
Other than a wee weekend break to Paris, I’m next headed to Kyrgyzstan, and I can’t wait!
A quote you live by is…
“The meaning of life is to discover the meaning of life”
What’s your favorite travel hack?
Two very small things – 1. Using shower caps from hotel rooms to put over your shoes when packing to keep everything else clean, and 2. Using carabiners to secure the zips on my handbag in protection against theft.
Favorite destination and travel tip for that destination.
I honestly don’t know how to answer a favorite, so I will choose a place at random for a good tip. Lisbon, Portugal: If you get up early (around 8 AM) you will have the city virtually to yourself. I caught one of the first trains out to Sintra, and on my way to the station the streets were all but deserted, with the sun casting shades of color in the skies, and peering morning rays through the maze of steep streets with a view to the water. When I returned in the afternoon I barely recognized the place, and while the hustle and bustle had brought the city alive, I was definitely glad that I got to experience the city before it awoke.
Tegan Lewis (@heelstoheeledge) is a lawyer, photographer and travel blogger from New Zealand, currently living in London, UK and travelling as much as she can. In 2015 she quit her job as a lawyer in NZ to become a chalet host in the French Alps, and has since switched back and forth a few times. Her travels have seen her live in 5 countries, visit almost 60, and soon she is about to embark back to NZ to explore more of her own back yard for a while. If you want to see more of Tegan’s travels, read more about her story, and follow along on future adventures, please check out her website at www.heelstoheeledge.com, and follow along on Instagram at www.instagram.com/heelstoheeledge.