Happy Friday! I just arrived in London and I am out enjoying the sights… Okay, I’m blogging on the floor of my hostel, but what can you do? I do have a lot of super exciting things coming up this week, and I can’t wait to share all of the awesome experiences along the way- check in Monday for the start of my ‘Fly Away to London’ Series!
On to bigger and even more amazing things, today I have Megan Claire on the blog with an interview that will inspire you to pack up your bags and go see the world -permanently. (After a lot of hard work, of course.) She will be kicking off my new bi-monthly interview series where I will ask the travel bloggers that I admire most, the questions the rest of are itching to know.
Megan Claire of Mapping Megan
Name: You would be surprised but this is the hardest question to answer! My name is Megan Claire Donoghue. Everyone within the world of travel knows me as Megan Claire (I used to be called “Megan Claire, daddy’s little teddy bear, but that’s both irrelevant and embarrassing so we will move on!!). I’ve recently married so I’ve socially taken my husband’s last name of “Jerrard”, however it’s really difficult to change my legal name while I’m living outside of Australia and traveling so frequently so I’m technically still “Donoghue”. Confused yet??! Just call me Megan!
Age: 25 years old!
Current Location: Florida, USA
Where is home?
My home country is Australia, however my true “home” is where-ever I am in the world at any given point in time. I am too addicted to travel and experiencing the world to truly settle down in one destination!
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging back in 2007 as a way to keep my family and friends updated while I was overseas. I had left on my first solo trip – a 12 month gap year in the United Kingdom – and then as I continued to travel the world I kept keeping an online journal of my adventures.
It wasn’t until recently though after I graduated from college that I began blogging on a daily basis. I’ve realized that traveling is what I want to do for the rest of my life, so if I can turn my online writing into a career it would be a dream come true! While I have an enthusiasm for travel, I also have an enthusiasm for sharing my stories. I developed my travel blog not only as a way to share these stories and travel tales with friends and family, but to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure.
I genuinely believe that travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and I think that inspiring people to travel is one of the best contributions I can make to this world.
What type of traveller are you? (longterm, backpacker-budget, luxury, ect…)
All of the above!! I love all forms of travel, and can’t be pinned down by one definition, i.e. “budget” or “luxury”. While I love traveling in style, if it came down to it, I would choose to spend my money on life experiences in a certain place, and do everything else (accommodation, flights) on a budget. For instance I’m not going to travel to Tanzania and miss out on climbing Mt Kilimanjaro because I spent my whole budget on accommodation. I would rather save on accommodation costs and camp to be able to have an experience of a lifetime!
To define myself I would say I am a young, fun, outgoing and practical traveler who seeks adventure at every turn. I like to immerse myself fully in the culture of each new country I visit, making friends and connections with the locals along the way. I like to explore the globe with an open mind, and make a genuine effort to always be aware and respectful of cultural norms. I like to think I am a traveler as opposed to a tourist – while I will always make time to visit the typical landmarks and tourist attractions of each country, I much prefer to discover hidden locations, and believe that traveling off the beaten path leads to more extraordinary experiences. I believe that vacations are more than just trips, and love to take the kind of vacations which leaves me needing another vacation at the end!
How do you fund your travels?
I won the lottery a few years ago. Ok so that’s a lie – it’d be nice though!!
I’m not rich, but I am dedicated. I worked 2 full time jobs (with a few more on the side!) while studying full time in order to finance traveling each university break! I would get up at 5am for a 6am shift managing at McDonalds, spend 2 hours at university around midday, and then head to a shift working hotel reception from 3pm-11pm. I would then go out to meet my friends for an hour or so and spend an hour studying before falling into bed and getting back up again at 5am.
I finished my university assessments on overnight shifts at either McDonalds or the hotel, and had Sunday nights free every week to be home and spend time with my family. I slept on my half hour breaks at work, and kept a pillow in the car for the times where I had an hour in-between shifts! Crazy right! I told you, I’m dedicated! Plus, once your body gets into a routine you’re pretty set! I did this for 5 years and traveled for around 4 months out of every year. I loved it! My thought process at the time was that the great leaders of the world only sleep for around 3 or 4 hours each night…mine just weren’t consecutive!
If you had to settle in one place- where would it be and why?
As I mentioned, I don’t know if I could ever settle in one place! It would be Australia though if given the ultimatum. I’ve been having the same discussion recently with my husband about where we might like to end up eventually and Australia is at the top of our list. Not only is my whole family and network of friends based there, but it’s one of the best countries in the world for healthcare and education should we want to start a family. Also, it’s such a large country with so many different opportunities for travel not even I can get bored!!
Scariest or most frustrating travel experience?
Most frustrating travel experience was when I was travelling with my mum around Europe – I had planned to go with friends but pulled out so Mum decided to come along and we made a girls trip out of it.
As the ‘experienced traveller’ I put all of the plans together, and enjoyed playing tour guide as I had already been to the majority of places we were visiting. Frustratingly, when we went to catch our flight from London to Rome halfway into the holiday, I took us to Heathrow airport instead of Gatwick and we missed our flight! Luckily we managed to be put on standby for a flight leaving Heathrow and made it to Rome that night. I’ve never heard the end of this mistake though!
Where was your first trip abroad and what age were you?
I first traveled abroad when I was 15 – it was two week school trip to Japan. I was incredibly excited to be heading overseas with 30 of my friends (I give HUGE credit to the teachers who chaperoned 30 girls to Japan for two weeks!). It was basically one huge two week slumber party…except with squat toilets!!
This trip provided me with a great first glimpse of the world and how different other cultures could be from my own.
What is on the very top of your bucket list?
Antarctica! You wouldn’t believe how badly I am itching to get myself on a cruise to Antarctica!!
If you lost your passport indefinitely, what would be your dream day job?
You’ve just described my worst nightmare! I have an Australian Degree in Law, so I would probably go back to being a lawyer. Although even then I would be dreaming about practicing international law at the Hague or working for various international NGO’s. I would probably become a criminal and learn how to forge passports!!
Favorite food you have eaten in your travels?
Pizza in Italy, Reindeer in Finland and Sushi in Japan – you can’t go past authentic Japanese sushi!
Where are you headed next?
Central and South America! Earlier this year I was picked as a brand ambassador for Doubletree by Hilton, and so they’re sending me to Peru and Costa Rica next year to blog from each destination and stay in their hotels! While this in itself will be a trip of a lifetime, we’re (myself and husband Mike) planning on spending extra time in the area to take in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, and also hoping to spend a few month volunteering in the Galapogas Islands just off Ecuador. Incredibly excited and can’t wait!!
Can you tell us a little more about you and your blog?
I am a self confessed travel addict! I have been traveling since 2003 and have made my way through 35 countries, found love overseas, married overseas and am now living overseas – blogging about my journey every step of the way!
“Mapping Megan” is an adventure travel blog geared towards the young, fun, practical and outgoing traveler. We offer advice on travelling, studying, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad while throwing our own personal tales of adventure into the mix! We haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on our list! Hopefully we can inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure while blogging about ours.