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. So 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.
Happy New Year fellow wanderers! Bringing you the first WanderWomanWednesday article of 2021, and I won't waste any time so let's dive into this series with Anneka from New Shades of Hippy!
Alright, tell all these wanderers about yourself…
I’m Anneka, the blogger behind New Shades of Hippy. I’m also a freelance copywriter, digital marketer and aspiring solopreneur by day. Those who know me say I’m a free spirit and a lover of anything bohemian (both true!) When I’m not daydreaming about food or my next adventure, I adore getting out into nature or cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea. I’m passionate about fitness, spending time with family and friends, and personal development. Initially, New Shades of Hippy started out as a hobby and something to add to my journalism portfolio. I was in my second year of uni and my tutor advised me that starting a blog was a good idea and so I thought ‘why the hell not?’ Little did I know that I’d still be blogging nearly a decade later!
Then in 2018, I decided to take New Shades of Hippy to a new, more professional level and I’m really proud of my journey so far. I now write about a variety of subjects including travel, mental health, green living, freelancing and lifestyle.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you?
Despite outward appearances, I can be quite an anxious person. I’ve always usually got a smile on my face but I’ve suffered from generalized anxiety since my teens. Another surprising fact about me is that I’m a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. In 2016, I did a skydive in New Zealand and I absolutely loved it. My aim is to do more skydives in other parts of the world and climb Mount Kilimanjaro too!
Did you always want to travel/what made you start?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with adventure. My idol as a kid was Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider games (not going to lie, I still think she’s awesome.) I was lucky in that I got to travel and explore outside a lot when I was young, so I think that helped to shape who I am today.
My first solo adventure was working at a summer camp in Pennsylvania in 2012. After that, I was hooked on seeing more of the world. Then, in 2015, I left the UK on a one-way flight to Australia and didn’t come back for 13 months! For now, I want to continue my travels in Europe and America, and (hopefully) plan my first trip to Canada.
How do you decide where to travel to?
Hmm, I don’t really have one set approach when it comes to travel. Every year, I attempt to make a list of the places I’ve wanted to visit for a while. Or I’ll see somewhere that other travel bloggers have been/recommended. A lot of it boils down to time and cost for me – usually because it takes me a while to save for bigger, more expensive trips. In the meantime, I absolutely love little city breaks or staycations.
Aside from that, I have this book called ‘501 Must-Visit Natural Wonders’ for inspo. Inside it, I’ve marked the natural places I’d love to see (and have seen) with post-it notes. Before I go to a new country, I check the book to see what natural wonders are listed and if I can visit one whilst I’m there. My aim is to fill the book with as many memories and colourful post-it notes as possible!
Top 3 bucket list places you’d love to visit?
This is a hard one as there are so many places I’m still desperate to visit. My top three at the moment are Peru, Cambodia and Africa.
What is something you wish you could share with your pre-travel life self?
Don’t be so afraid of travelling solo – you are more than enough as you are. Push yourself out of your comfort zone as much as possible and trust yourself - you are more capable than you think. Make your trip what you want it to be and don’t let anyone dampen it. Don’t take travel, freedom or your health for granted. Cherish Earth’s beauty and respect it.
Best & Worst Travel Moments?
Best moments: Whale watching in New Zealand, sleeping under the stars and watching the sunrise over Ayers Rock (Australia), sky diving over Lake Wanaka, feeding elephants in Thailand, surfing in Byron Bay and laughing until I cried with new friends.
Worst moment: Getting a double ear infection whilst in Bali. I was in a lot of pain and I ended up not really being able to hear anything. I had to wait until I got back to Australia to see a Dr for antibiotics. Luckily, all was OK in the end but I won’t be taking my hearing for granted again!
Do you think social media has changed travel, and if so, how has it changed?
Yes, social media has had a huge impact on travel and the way we all experience it. Don’t get me wrong, I love photography and travel blogging but I do feel that our fascination with being connected 24/7 takes some of the magic out of exploring. For instance, people queueing for hours just to get the perfect Instagram photo. No doubt we’ve all heard the saying ‘do it for the gram!’ It’s almost like there’s this invisible pressure to show a filtered version of ourselves. In some ways, social media is great because it makes travel more accessible and encourages us to discover new cultures. On the other hand, it can have a negative impact on the environment and mean people forget to just enjoy the world through their own eyes.
How has your view on travel changed (if at all) in 2020 and how will your travel habits change moving forward?
After everything that’s happened in 2020, I’m so much more grateful for my freedom and the privilege of travelling in itself. There’s nothing quite like being told that you can’t (or shouldn’t) travel to make you appreciate the world. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I took either for granted but I have been guilty of placing travel on the back burner for various reasons. I used to focus a lot of energy on the ‘big trips’ to far-flung places whereas now I really appreciate what’s on my doorstep. Moving forward, I want to do more to support local businesses and communities wherever I go. After all, they are the backbones of culture and history all over the world and they need our support more than ever right now. I also want to realign my priorities so I make more solo trips happen instead of just thinking about them.
Famous last words for all the wanderers out there…
If you want to do something or go somewhere, stop waiting for someone else to come with you. Be brave and don’t settle.
“Life has no remote. Get up and change it yourself.” - Mark A. Cooper
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all - the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” - Randy Komisar
To see where Anneka is and what she is getting up to be sure to drop her a follow by checking out her social channels listed below!