Melissa Giroux, from Quebec, Canada, is a "random backpacker" and the brains behind the well-known bilingual travel blog, www.abrokenbackpack.com. She shares her travel adventures both in English and French and has been on the road since 2014 after leaving everything behind. Melissa has travelled across Europe four times and has been to America, Australia, Japan and Mexico. She is one of the most celebrated female travel bloggers and has received accolades from Huffington Post, Kenton De Jong Travel, Matador Network and Journalist on the Run.
We caught up with this "wannabe vlogger" and this is what she had to say.
Where are you currently?
I'm currently in Australia at the airport as I'm heading home (Canada) for a visit of 5 weeks after more than 20 months on the road.
How has the transition been from a "proud solo traveller into an adventure travel couple"?
It has been an emotional roller-coaster! I used to be a free spirit and I struggled with the idea of losing this freedom. I quickly realized I was wrong. My relationship gave me the opportunity to share my memories and my adventures with the one I love. To be fair, I still love the idea of travelling solo here and there and my relationship is not going to stop me! This trip in Canada is a solo visit as it's time for me to have some great moments with my family.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to couples who want to travel together?
This is going to be the ultimate test! Being on the road together also means being outside of our comfort zone, challenging our fears, our culture, ourselves. You are not going to be at your best all the time and if you can handle it, you are ready for the greatest adventure of your life. Travelling together doesn't mean that you need to be together every second. Enjoy the music, enjoy the scene and give yourself the break you need!
You lived on a dairy farm in Australia. What was that like?
It was hard work! Early mornings, split shifts, physical work, a lot of new skills and a big bunch of cows! Back home, I wasn't a big fan of animals and let me tell you that I had never touched a cow before. On my first shift, I was scared of them. I wasn't confident at all (and I cried all night long). One day (I don't know exactly when) I fell in love with cows. I started to love and even enjoy my remote life. It was a great (and painful) experience. It was a hate/love relationship.
You visited Japan as a solo traveller after a year of travelling as a couple. Did you enjoy that experience?
Yes, I enjoyed the challenge! It was great to have time for myself and it was the first time we were apart since we had met. When you are travelling solo, you don't need to compromise and you can focus on what you want. It made me realize that I was madly in love too!
After that scary adventure in Istanbul, can you ever be convinced to visit Turkey again?
Certainly! I won't go back alone, but I'd love to go back to visit the rest of the country (but, I'd probably pass on Istanbul). I was disappointed as my goal was to be there for three months. There are so many great spots to see out there!
How is your travel style different from 'the boyfriend' and has there ever been a disagreement between you two regarding your travel arrangements?
I am the typical low budget backpacker who is ready to hitch-hike, to sleep in that 30 beds dorm if I need to, who wants the cheapest way to get somewhere. The boyfriend is the middle-budget backpacker who prefers to enjoy a good road trip. Well, he managed to convinced more than once than a road trip is worth it even if you need money to buy the car (or to rent it) and for the fuel. The journey is even better than the destination. Travelling as a couple is also different. You also want your intimacy so you won't go for 30 beds dorms. You might have to spend a bit more, but you'll catch up by sharing costs. So, yes, we had to handle the shock of our different type of adventures, but it makes us discover new ways of travelling too!
You've been to several wonderful cities. If you have to settle down in one of them, which one would you choose and why?
This is a tricky one! I've got a big crush on Canmore (Alberta, Canada) and on Sydney. But, I think that my itchy feet are not ready to settle down just yet!
Please tell us about your upcoming travel plans.
After my visit in Canada, I'll be heading to China for a few days on my way back to Australia. I'd love to stop somewhere else on the way (perhaps, in South-East Asia). When I arrive back in Australia, we will hit the road again and drive across the Outback.
This interview with Melissa Giroux is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips.