Virginia Stuart-Taylor

Being a linguist, I can’t deny my passion for travel. I studied Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at university and have taken every possible opportunity to travel: I took a Gap Year over 5 different continents, I au paired in summer holidays, I did a Third Year Abroad as part of my degree and travel has always been high on my criteria in any life choice I’ve made.

Studying abroad, working abroad (normally for pittance or volunteering for free), travelling abroad or simply “living” abroad for the hell of it – I’ve always found a way of making it happen. Inside me there’s a wannabe expat and traveller that wants to escape the familiarity of the United Kingdom and explore the huge old world out there.

Now that I’ve graduated from university & started my career in London, I travel vicariously by blogging about past, present & future travels, with a particular focus on opportunities for people looking to move & live abroad for a decent amount of time. My blog stops me from being swallowed up into the bubble that is London & gives me a fabulous window into the outside world beyond the bubble.

You can work pretty much where you want to – on the road, do you find it hard to work or do you just have fun and work when you come back home?

When I'm travelling I prefer to concentrate on being there and savouring every little bit of it! I only ever blog while I'm on transport - it's the perfect downtime for me, when I either research the next place I'm headed, or I report back on where I've just been. Apart from when I'm on long journeys, I live for the moment and blog about it later when I'm back home.

Do you feel many people are envious of your lifestyle?

I've always been good at grasping opportunities to travel as much as possible, so I have perhaps travelled more than many other people. But I believe it's possible for everyone to find their own way around the world, so if anyone is envious of my lifestyle, then I suggest they get travelling as soon as possible instead of envying someone else.

Having said that however, I definitely envy a lot of the other travel bloggers and journalists out there so I'm not one to talk!

In which countries have people recognised you, even when you thought nobody would?

The world is really not as big as you'd think... I've bumped into friends at the very top of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, my Spanish teacher on the Via d'Amore in the Cinque Terre (Italy), German Erasmus friends in a Portuguese supermarket in Lisbon, among others. In the Alps in particular, it's an even tinier world as I'm almost guarenteed to see someone I know.

Which three items would you never travel without?

1: My camera (with an enormous memory card)
2: A diary/scrapbook with plenty of pens, glue, sellotape, scissors, etc.
3: A little momento from home (just in case)

Are there any specific souvenirs or other things you collect from the places you go to?

I've actually blogged about the Souvenir Dilemma. I'm very visually-orientated so I always pick up postcards (the more unusual the better - none of the typical postcards that everyone's seen a million times) and I'm also growing my collection of paintings and works of art from around the world. Once again, I try to look for something that doesn't scream 'tourist', so paintings of the Colliseum and cathedrals are out! Bringing all the art back home (especially the larger canvasses) does sometimes present me with something of a challenge...

For a few years I also collected jewellery, as I find that each culture has a very distinct way of adorning their bodies and exhibiting their cultural identity through jewellery.

Tagged as: United Kingdom

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