A huge part of travel for me is the people I meet and the friends I make in the places I get to experience. Some of, well most of my best friends are people I have met while living overseas or travelling and the number one thing we have in common is that we get it. Get what? The whole travel life. The coming and going frequently, the moving towns often and regularly. The face that we will rarely if ever live in the same place for long. And the feeling of saying goodbye/reuniting with each other. Soo when I meet people who share this passion and understanding I immediately want to know more about them and where their adventures have taken them. I find myself drawn to these sorts of people even if I've never even met them in real life, enter Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The whole wide world of blogging has given me the opportunity to (virtually) meet people I would never have if it wasn't for this passion project I have.
November brings us Steph from A Nomads Passport. In the last 4 years, she has had the opportunity to adventure to 5 continents and 29 countries. She first moved abroad to Australia when she was 22, and the rest is, as they say- history. To find out more about Steph and her travel adventures keep reading.
Alright, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
I’m Steph, a photographer and travel blogger. I am a passionate solo traveller that loves the outdoors. Some friends of mine even say that I am both a mountain goat as I love to climb and a mermaid due to my love of the underwater world.
Initially I started what is now my website A Nomads Passport as a way to share my photography with others. But then I started travelling more and starting writing content for others. Therefore, I eventually decided to go all-in and to hopefully turn it into a website full of useful information for everyone that wants to explore all the beautiful corners of our planet.
When I am not traveling for fun and taking photos, I still travel as an onboard courier that handles time-critical shipments. It is the first business I ever started and while photography is my true passion, I cannot help but love this job that made me realize that it is possible to get paid to travel.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
There are several things about me that might surprise people that meet me. One of them is my love of international law. I love reading new resolution and international treaties and staying up to date on what is going on in the world. For a long time, I pursued a carrier in that direction, so I guess this is the last leftover of that time.
Another surprising fact about me is that I once had Olympic ambitions and trained for Rio 2016. It that time I was competing at a national level and was getting better and better. But in the end, I decided to focus on my studies. In the long run it was the more viable option as further training would have delayed my career goals.
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
I have always loved travelling and exploring new places. As a kid I used to spend my holidays in Southern Germany with day trips to Austria.
Got to see a lot of the area at a young age. However, I always had this deep desire to see more of the world. Both my great-grandfather and my grandfather were great travellers. And few things were as fascinating to me as hearing all about their adventures in Europe. In his youth my grandfather traveled all over Europe on his bike and I just wanted to see all these wonderful places he had told me about.
With that in mind, I started exploring Germany, then Europe and eventually the rest of the world. And I can only say that even my wildest imagination couldn’t have anticipated all the adventures of the past few years. My desire to travel might have started with my grandpa’s stories, but now it is the life I want to live. I just love travelling, eating food, meeting new people and learning more about new cultures.
How do you decide where to travel to?
I have no specific approach when it comes to where I will go next, as I love being spontaneous. However, I do have a top ten countries to see list and a set itinerary for a trip there. If an opportunity to go there presents itself, I am more than happy to board the next flight, train or even bus there. And once I have been to one of the countries, I add another one to the list.
Aside from that, I tend to go on spontaneous trips to other locations because friends (and in some cases strangers) have asked me if I want to go somewhere. And oftentimes those trips are just as great as those to my dream destinations.
I guess one could say that my travel planning could be described as ‘always happy to explore new places’ and happy to revisit old favourites.
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
It is hard for me to pick three places because there are so many great countries in the world. But I guess my current top 3 destinations are Jordan, New Zealand and Peru. There are so many things on my to-do list in these countries and I cannot wait to explore them.
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
Do not be afraid to take a chance and to travel the world. There are so many unique places out there and you have to see nature’s beauty with your own eyes, as no photo or video comes close to actually experiencing the moment. Make the trips you have always dreamed of happening as soon as you can- our time to see the world is limited, so no moment should be wasted.
Best & worst travel moment?
At this point, it is hard to say what my favourite travel moment was, as there are so many happy memories associated with so many places. There are moments of peace while sitting on the cliff in Sydney, successfully climbing down gorges in Western Australia, seeing hundreds of wild elephants at once in Sri Lanka or even diving in the Red Sea. I loved all of these moments and so many more, so I honestly cannot say which one was the best of the best.
Strangely enough, even my worst travel moments tend to be connected to fond memories as nearly all of them ended up being a crucial lesson. But I guess the one I could do without would be breaking my knee during my first Australia trip. It was quite painful for a long time and made it impossible to join any outdoor activities for close to two months. I definitely will not be jumping of surf boards again while being way too close to the waterline.
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so, how has it changed?
Social Media has definitely changed how people travel. Thanks to photos on Instagram some places that used to be unknown to the wider public are now very popular. People visit places just to recreate that one photo they once saw somewhere.
It actually makes me sad as so many aspects of travelling have gotten a little a-list due to it. As a photographer I understand wanting to take the perfect photo, but if you limit your trip to instagrammable experiences you end up missing out.
What advice do you have for anyone in their 20’s who want to travel but are scared to take that first trip?
Just do it! It might seem daunting – especially if you are a solo traveller – but it is so worth it. Throw a dart if you do not know where to go or even ask a blogger you love for travel recommendations. Most of us are happy to help you find your first great adventures.
But do not forget to set a daily budget for your trip. It stops you from spending too much and makes you realize what you actually need to have a great time.
How has your nomadic life changed in the last 6 months of 2020?
My life did a total 180 in 2020. In late 2019 I made my plans for this year and planned to relocate to Indonesia and then to New Zealand for the largest part of the year. I had a list of places I wanted to work with and things I wanted to do. I had set plans to spend 8 to 10 months of this year abroad and to spend the rest in Germany while accepting onboard courier missions for my first business. Everything was planned and then my plans essentially imploded.
Instead of living my usual nomadic life I ended up being struck in Germany as borders around the world closed. Working in international logistics became impossible so I ended up spending more time in one country than I have since I was a baby.
It might seem over the top, but to me, the current situation feels somewhat claustrophobic. Usually, the world and new places become my home, and now I am locked in a cage where my usual life is not possible.
Famous last words for all the wanderers out there…
Travel whenever you have the chance to do so. Explore the world and learn all it has to offer. Share that knowledge and make people see how precious our planet and all life on it is.
See the world through the eyes of a child and never lose that wondrous spark.
To keep up with Steph and get all sorts of travel inspo find out what shes up to below