Becki, the award-winning British solo traveller was bitten by the travel bug when she was just a teenager and it was her school trips to Eastern Europe and Russia that led her to find her passion. However it was her solo nomadic adventure in 2007 to Vietnam which resonated the most and since then the intrepid traveller hasn’t stopped.
She’s been to places like China, Mongolia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, the American West Coast and Italy. Considered a South East Asian expert and having travelled in the region extensively, she prefers not to pre-plan too much and cites meeting interesting people as providing the majority of the best moments whilst travelling.
Becki Enright, publisher and editor at ‘Borders of Adventure’ has been awarded the ‘ Travel Blogger of the Year 2013’ at the British Travel Press Awards.
What was it about your first solo tour of Vietnam that inspired you to do more?
There’s a distinct buzz you get by going and exploring on your own terms, and I soon realised that. You quickly learn to adapt to doing things on your own and see the beauty of flexibility. Freedom becomes an addiction.
What was your family’s reaction to your travelling idea?
They were aware of my passion for travel for a long time, ever since I was a teenager, having been lucky enough to go on amazing school trips to Eastern Europe and Russia. It therefore didn’t come as too much of a surprise to them when I announced I was leaving for bigger adventures. For many years prior I always took off on short backpacking jaunts for my annual holidays, rather than relaxing breaks. Travel has been my life for such a long time, so it wasn’t seen as a whim decision.
What was the best and worst experience you had in the initial round the world tour?
I have too many ‘best’s to name just one, but achievement wise it has to be reaching Everest Base Camp. Nothing compares to that. Generally, my best moments are when I meet incredible people, especially when I get to immerse myself in local life and see the true face of a destination, including through volunteering. My worst moments include serious sickness in India, my trek guide in Burma trying to go a bit too far with the sports massages he gave a few of us, weeing in a water bottle in a hotel room in east Malaysia as I was too scared to leave my room and when the Chinese police raided a flat in shanghai where were we having a gathering (we were being a bit too noisy for the neighbours).
How do you manage your budget before you travel?
I always set out that I would budget around 500-600 in Asia month and 1,000 a month elsewhere such as Europe and other expensive regions. This needs to include all accommodations expenses, food, travel, visas and onward flights if needed. However, budget can be easily blown when amazing opportunities come along, especially of the adventurous kind. Life is too short and I don’t want to miss out on anything due to budget. Besides, you may spend less down the line and it will all even out in the end.
Have you ever run low on money during your tour?
When I set out to travel for 18 months to two years, I had enough that would last me. I chose to stay home and travel longer in order to give myself that stability. I actually ended up going home earlier than planned with money in the bank but by then my blog was a functioning business and I was monetising it. Do I sometimes run a little low as a freelancer? Absolutely, but you have low months and high months so you just learn to balance your spending.
On your travels what was the best and worst methods of transport you’ve experienced?
Worst are the overnight buses in Asia – cramped, uncomfortable and where you arrive at your destination having had little or no sleep – or ferries on choppy waters! However, sometimes they are the most convenient option. As for the best, I love trains, day buses and slow boats – anything where you can look out the window and sightsee along the way. Of course, nothing beats a flight sometimes for optimal convenience and comfort when you want a brief break from slow travel.
How do you move to multiple places within a country,are the tickets pre-booked or you do manage to get them at the spot?
I try and spent a least in month in each country I visit, less if it’s small. I tend to move on every 2-3 days, rather than every day. In bigger cities I try and stay for 4-7 days. Longer if I need a base. I hardly pre-plan now, unless I need to work around national holidays or am trying to get somewhere for a specific celebration. I like not knowing, and having the flexibily to stay if I love a place, or quickly move on if it’s not what I was expecting. Change is exciting.
What are the top 5 essentials in your Backpack before any tour?
Passport, Money, MacBook, iPhone and my canon DSLR camera. Everything else is clothing and toiletries and easily purchased as you go!
We have read that you are planning more travel in the Middle East, So what would be the main focus of your tour and which all areas are you going to cover?
My writing is very much about looking at misunderstood places – destinations deemed difficult to travel in or where people are unaware they can actually travel in safely and easily. I like to share stories of locals and uncover sights that will change peoples perceptions. I am looking forward to Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbijan, Oman and returning to Israel and Palestine. Of course you need to keep your ear to the ground on any emerging conflicts here, although generally it’s in very concentrated areas.
This region is very fascinating and hardly uncovered in great depth. I want to show people that it is possible despite there being more limitations and difficulties at times. The challenge of travel is all part of the experience, however frustrating at times.
This interview with Becki is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing and showcasing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and showcased and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips.