On this week’s Celebrity Travel Addicts Q & A, we have Becky van Dijk, founder and editor of We Are Travel Girls – a site that publishes female travel stories for other female travelers. Like many of the other travelers I’ve interviewed in this series, Becky left a successful career in finance for a more fulfilling lifestyle. Check out how she began her life of travel, her mini guide to the Galapagos Islands on a budget, and what you can expect her to write about next!
How did your passion for travel get started?
My father was a pilot and my mother air stewardess back in the 60’s and 70’s so I grew up with her showing me old photos from her travels around the world. At 18 I went on my first backpacking trip through Europe and North Africa, followed by 6 months in South East Asia after University and more recently 6 months in South America. I think a love for travel has been in me for as long as I remember, but the longer trips really ignited the passion. I am always thinking about and planning my next destination, even when on a plane to another country!
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year?
Whilst I was working full time in finance, I was lucky to have up to 7 weeks off per year, plus bank holidays and I allocated that time to travelling as much as I could. I once crammed in a trip to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in just under three weeks – I think I need to go back to see a bit more of those countries! Now I am working full time on We Are Travel Girls, a company I co-founded with Vanessa Rivers and living in Bali and have freedom to travel when I want or work on the road in different destinations.
What are the types of places do you like to visit?
I love visiting countries where I can learn about their history and culture and typically I find myself drawn to places with beautiful ancient architecture. One of my favourite places I have ever visited is India, where I was in awe of the palaces and buildings that were so beautifully built compared to our modern architecture. I also loved Cambodia, Egypt and Morocco for this same reason.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your articles?
For our daily articles, we want readers of WeAreTravelGirls.com to come away inspired by the stories written by the women in our community. The places they have travelled and the images they share should spark something in the reader and make them want to plan a trip to that destination or bookmark it for future travel planning. We recently launched our Ladies We Love Interview Series as a place for us introduce inspirational women in travel and business to our audience. The series is intended to inspire our readers to pursue their dreams and to give them tips and advice on how to do that.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
India, Alaska and the The Galapagos, Ecuador
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
For the Galapagos I would advise people not to discount going based on price, this trip can be done on a budget! Organise your own land based trip instead of one of the expensive cruises. Here are some recommendations for when you are there.
- Make sure to do at least three diving days. I recommend Galapagos Divers on Santa Cruz who will take you out to different spots based on conditions. If you are lucky (and an experienced diver) you will get to see the schools of hammerheads.
- Stay on San Cristobal at Casa Playa Mann, located opposite the Playa Mann beach where you can watch the sunset in the company of the sealions
- Stay on Santa Cruz and splash out on Red Mangrove Hotel, conveniently located near to the dive centre I recommended, and it has a beautiful deck to relax after a busy day – although here the sealions take priority on the sun loungers – I am not kidding…
- Instead of an organised land day tour, grab a taxi and have them take you on your own private day tour. This is cheaper and the taxi drivers are happy to act like guides and will take you to all the main spots
- Of course make sure to see the giant tortoises and go to the Darwin Research Centre
If you want any more tips you can read my article Land Based Trip To The Galapagos, where I share my itinerary, costs, places to stay and what to do whilst you are there.
How many countries have you visited so far?
I think it was 50 at the last count!
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Favorite restaurant in the world?
One of the best meals I have ever had was at Le George at the Four Seasons in Paris. Their menu was incredible and one of the dishes that I always dream about (but sounds terrible!) was a caramelised onion served with vanilla ice cream as an appetiser. And a more budget friendly option is The Oak in Notting Hill, 2 minutes from where I used to live and has the best pizza I have found in London!
Your favorite travel movie?
Not a movie, but I loved the series Long Way Round with Ewan Mcgregor and Charlie Boorman. They are so fun and you see some relatively untouched regions as they travel by motorbike from the UK through Europe, Russia, Siberia over to Alaska and finally finishing in New York. An epic travel journey and a must watch!
Favorite international airport?
Heathrow, probably since its the one I have spent the most time at and know my way round!
City with the friendliest people?
Vancouver. Everyone in the city is so friendly and welcoming, plus I have found Canadians to be very happy people, so I really enjoyed my time in Vancouver.
Your favorite traveling companion?
My boyfriend Ryan who I do the majority of my travelling with. We travel really well together, and complement one another when we are organising our trips. He is good at arranging all the stuff beforehand, flights, hotels, general itinerary and then I plan out our days and what we will see and do. Plus he is great at finding amazing little known cafes and restaurants so we plan alot around where we will eat next!
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Who wants to kill time whilst travelling?! If you need to kill time then grab your shoes and go out and explore with no specific destination in mind!
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
If you refer to my old career in finance, Switzerland was the most exotic (!) since I worked for a Swiss private bank! But leaving banking and shifting my career to the travel industry led me to move to Bali, so I suppose you could say that’s the most exotic place my career has taken me!
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Whilst travelling be adventurous, trust in people and get off the beaten path. But if you are looking for a career in travel then the main advice is to work hard – the reality is you will spend more time on your computer than on the beach, network as much as you possibly can because you never know where opportunities may come from, be kind and be professional – this is a small industry, people talk and your reputation is everything!
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
- My laptop since I work full time whilst travelling
- My cameras – I use a Nikon D7200, a Panasonic Lumix LX100, a Go Pro Hero 5 and a DJI Drone right now… ok thats actually 4 things!
- Factor 50 Face Cream
- A bikini
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Your favorite travel quote?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” -Mark Twain
Where to next?
Perth, Australia and then we are deciding between Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines and Cambodia for April.
Becky is the Founder and Editor of popular female travel site We Are Travel Girls. We Are Travel Girls carefully curates and publishes only the best female travel articles from around the globe and is quickly becoming a go to destination for travel inspiration and a place where you can connect with female travellers around the world. Becky is from London, England and had a successful career in finance before resigning to follow her dreams of building a travel company. She currently lives in Bali and when she is not working can be found travelling through Indonesia and Asia!