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#rtwsoon Interview: Arianwen – Beyond Blighty

#rtwsoon Interview: Arianwen – Beyond Blighty

We have a fantastic #rtwsoon interview to share with you this Sunday and it’s with the lovely Arianwen of Beyond Blighty. Arianwen is escaping London just before the Olympics and will set off for a long-term stint in South America.

The two of us absolutely love her piece of advice to future round-the-world travelers so make sure you read the entire interview to find out what it is.

Oh, and good luck in your search for a tanned Latino husband too!

Enjoying a Mai Thai cocktail bucket on Khao San RoadWho are you?

I’m the one with that Welsh name no one can pronounce! Originally from York, I’ve worked in scientific journalism for the past 6 years in London. Aside from one awesome road trip on the west coast of the USA, my parents stuck rigidly to a holiday schedule of caravanning in France every summer while I was growing up. As soon as I’d found independence, I developed a passion for travel further afield.

I’ve done the package holiday thing (Grenada, Maldives, Fuerteventura and Turkey) as well as city breaks (New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Dubai and Marrakech), but I’m much happier jetting off with a backpack and no bookings, open to whatever adventures fate will throw at me. Particular highlights have been Italy, Malaysia, Thailand and Costa Rica.

I also love to do volunteer work. My most memorable and treasured experiences abroad were teaching in a school in Tanzania and participating in the programme Pueblo Inglés, which brings English speakers together with locals in Spain to help them improve their conversational English.

Where are you going on your RTW?

I’m breaking free from a life of job security and routine to travel around South America for 7 months. I recently posted about my route and some of the highlights I hope to include. I’ll be starting in Bogota and moving from Colombia to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and, finally, Brazil for Rio Carnival next February.

I like to stay active when I travel, so white water rafting, surfing, sand boarding, trekking, cycling, paragliding and horse riding are all on the agenda. To offset the costs, I’ll mostly be staying in budget hostels and couchsurfing, and probably living off a diet of toast sandwiches!

A few highlights include the dramatic Iguazu falls, the blinding salt flats of Bolivia, perhaps a shamanic ceremony in the Amazon jungle, the crashing ice of Perito Moreno Glacier, stunning scenery in Patagonia and plenty of time exploring ancient civilisations like Machu Picchu and Colombia’s Lost City.

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains

When are you leaving?

In the early hours of July 19, I’ll be sitting in Heathrow’s terminal 4 buzzing with excitement, questioning whether I’m really cut out for solo travel after all, and panicking that some vital document is still sitting on my bedside table!

Why did you decide to go on this trip?

I lost my mum about 4 years ago and it made me reassess my priorities. I can’t think of anything more depressing than putting all of your time and effort into a soul-destroying job and then one day realising you’ve missed the boat on actually experiencing life.

It’s not just about living the dream for a few months and then returning to normality though. My past travels have taught me that every trip overseas opens many doors to future opportunities and introduces you to new and interesting friendships. I think that’s priceless.

Of course there’s also the prospect of finding a handsome, tanned Latino husband!

Volunteering in Tanzania

Volunteering in Tanzania

What will you be doing to pass the time before your travels?

I’m still working in my journalism job, so I’m sure they’ll keep me busy. Any spare moment I get I’m reading up on the places I’d like to visit, checking out other travel blogs, writing posts on my own blog, teaching myself Spanish with Pimsleur’s audio course and socialising with the London travel community. I’m sure there’ll be a leaving party or two as well, not to mention me sharing my birthday with the Queen’s diamond jubilee!

If you could give just one piece of advice to a fellow #rtwsoon traveler, what would it be?

Take a photo of your work desk before you leave your job. If you have a bad experience or start to feel lonely or out of place, it’ll put things back into perspective and remind you why you left!

Visit Arianwen’s Website: Beyond Blighty
Follow Arianwen on Twitter: @BeyondBlighty

If you’re heading around-the-world in the next 12 months and would like to be featured here, please contact us.