In today’s Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we meet travel blogger Rachel Jones of Hippie in Heels, a travel and lifestyle blog about glamorous globetrotting. There, you’ll find everything from luxury guides, travel fashion trends, product reviews and tons of travel tips. Speaking of tips, below she shares her Top 5 List for her new hometown of Goa, India.
How did your passion for travel get started?
I started traveling as a college student in my summers off. I saved all year working as in a book store and as a nurses assistant. I love backpacking Europe and got fully addicted. I went to Uganda my senior year of University on a solo trip, and after a year of being a nurse, I traveled India solo before moving there 4 years ago.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
I am based in Goa, India and probably spend 6 months there and 6 months traveling. I travel all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and starting to do more of Africa. It’s too far to go to SA or Central America at this time although I do fly to the USA to see family each July.
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your work?
Well, at first it was that travel is possible alone and you can go to “dangerous” places as they are actually not so scary! But, now it’s kind of the basics as some people don’t know where to start so I try to give tips to help them along. I also travel more boutique style and call it “glamorous travel”. I explaint that you should be yourself, not just try and look like what you think a backpacker looks like, but dress how you would at home.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
Isreal, Morocco, India
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
- You must go to Thalasssa for sunset drinks in Vagator.
- If you are in a group, rent a villa not a hotel and I recommend Noi Varo in Siolim. I had the best prawn curry of my life there.
- Do rent a scooter if you are on a budget, but also wear a helmet! Taxis are the most expensive thing in Goa.
- Don’t stay in Panjim. Stay in a beach town or village. Panjim is a city and doesn’t give you the feel of the real Goa.
- Do visit the Anjuna market (Sunday) and Arpora markets (Saturday) for some of the best shopping around.
How many countries have you visited so far?
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Mexican, Italian, American (I could live on Southern BBQ)
Favorite restaurant in the world?
I can’t say Taco Bell, can I? Lol, kidding sort of. There is a place in Nashville called Kitchen Notes that was the best food I’ve ever had. True southern cooking at it’s best!
Your favorite travel movie?
Under the Tuscan Sun is what made me want to travel when I was 13 or so.
Favorite international airport?
Changi in Singapore. I love the transit hotel (Aerotel) and the Lounges plus there is so much to do/see/eat.
City with the friendliest people?
Tel Aviv! I loved the people I met there. They were always offereing me food which is a bonus!
Your favorite traveling companion?
My boyfriend. I’m not mushy gushy but I must admit it. He’s adventurous and gets me out doing things I might have been scared to do (which is saying something since I’ve done some crazy stuff while traveling).
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Reading. I cannot travel without good books on my Kindle. I read A LOT.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Perhaps India doesn’t feel exotic because I’ve been here so many years, but some places my job has taken me to in India are quite exotic. One is in Arunachal Pradesh in Ziro Valley where the Apatani tribe lives. They worship the sun and moon, have nose plugs, and facial tattoos. Their neighbors in Nagaland were cannibals until very recently. It’s not connected to mainland India, and is on the other side of Bangladesh. It also needs a special permit beyond an Indian Visa so tourists never go here. It’s very untraveled and new to tourism.
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
You have to have passion for it. It’s giving up a steady job, family, friends, weddings, funerals…. it’s a true life change that you need to think about hard!
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Kindle, Clinique moisture surge face moisturizers, my glasses (I have TERRIBLE eyesight), and about 10 little dresses lol
What is your ultimate dream destination?
So cliche, but a water villa in the Maldives or Bora Bora wouldn’t be bad. I’d love to backpack South America and also live in somewhere in Central America for a while.
Your favorite travel quote?
“You don’t need magic to disappear, all you need is a destination”
You’re currently living in Goa, for someone who’s thinking about traveling there how would you describe it?
Goa is a hippie’s paradise. It’s really a free for all and you can do whatever you want whenever you want. The beaches are good, not great, and the food is amazing. The people are the best and it’s very laid back. But, it’s still India and comes with it’s hassles like other Indian towns.
Where to next?
I’m in Bali now. I’ll go back to India in a few weeks. Next up: Sovenia and Greece
Rachel Jones is an American who left a career in nursing to live on the beaches in Goa India nearly four years ago. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she’s been to and has become the go-to site on India travel. The blog, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and girly travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Thomas Cook, & Grazia UK magazines & based on traffic is the #35 travel blog in the world. She’s a writer for Bravo TV. You can follow Rachel’s adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.