Jolene is originally from South Africa, now living in Australia, Jolene is a wife and a mother to two beautiful daughters. Together with her family, she is embarking on a journey towards changing her current stress-filled life to one focusing on her dreams and her passion for travel. Wanderlust Storytellers is a family travel blog focusing on inspiring families to explore wonders of the world in a more mindful manner.
1. What inspired you to start your blog?
Honestly we simply got sick of the routine of life. We felt like we were always struggling to keep up with the responsibilities and obligations that come from juggling jobs and family life. And we started brainstorming ideas as to how we could create a life that had more balance; one that would provide more fulfilment and more joy!
2. How do you afford to travel?
For us, as we are a family of 4 (plus one extra one being born soon!), affording travel can be a real challenge!! It simply comes down to prioritising our money towards the next destination, saving up and trying to work with as many different accommodation and tour brands as we can. As our blog is still fairly new, we generally have to pay for our own travels and that means that often we come home with debt that needs to be paid off.
3. How many gadgets are you carrying?
Probably way too many!! It is interesting how much we rely on technology these days! As a travel blogger it is easy to become a bit obsessed with various gadgets that is supposed to make life easier!! For us, our essential gadgets that we generally carry with us on-person whilst exploring are our iPhones, a portable charger, cameras x 2 (one for photos and one for video) and spare batteries for those. In our luggage at the hotels, we also usually have a laptop or two as well as an external drive to back up our photos.
4. What’s the longest you’ve been away from home?
I would probably have to say 6 months. I was born in South Africa and when I immigrated to Australia, I lived here for around 6 months before heading back home to South Africa (where I had a long term boyfriend). I lived there for around 6 months before making the more final decision to base myself in Australia on a more permanent basis.
5. What travel scams have you experienced?
Oh, well …. I just realized that we got scammed in Cambodia! We were charged US $5 per child for the Cambodian visa and whilst I wrote a post on ‘Things you need to know before you travel to Cambodia’, I saw on the official Cambodia immigration site that the kids are meant to be free! It is only US $10 lost though, so not a big deal! But not fun never the less!
On my first ever trip overseas, I also got scammed in Beijing! On the first day we arrived, we were approached by some students wanting to ‘practice their English’. They befriended us and ended up taking us to a room full of paintings, they shut the door behind us and pressured us into buying a painting! We realized as we backpacked around China, how ridiculously overpriced that first painting was (as we actually bought more at more reasonable prices later on). We lost lots of money on that one and it was also incredibly uncomfortable as well!
6. What destination have you found to be overrated?
Oh that is a hard one! I guess for me there are some locations in Bali that is a bit overrated! But then I guess we are fortunate in Australia as we truly have some beautiful beach locations here! I love Bali, don’t get me wrong! But I thought it would be more of an island paradise than what it was! I am excited though as we are heading back to Bali, but then tagging on Lombok and Gili Islands in September. This time around I am avoiding the touristy areas and hoping to see more natural beauty on the island!
7. What is the one thing you could not live without on your travels?
Definitely my camera. I have always loved photography, even before starting a travel blog, I used to enjoy taking pictures to record memories! I would truly struggle if I did not have a camera close by my side whilst exploring different destinations!! 8. What home comfort do you miss the most? I think the one thing I miss the most is either my comfy bed, especially if we are traveling through countries that love beds in contrast to what we love at home. I love a medium hardness, and often struggle in Asian countries where they love really hard sleeping surfaces!
9. Do you prefer to walk, take public transport, or take private transport?
Our absolute favourite mode of exploring is by foot! I think we nearly destroyed the soles of our feet whilst exploring all that Rome had to offer! We very quickly learnt a valuable lesson in purchasing good quality comfy shoes so we could explore and explore and explore without blisters and sore soles!!
10. If you could offer your readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you want to travel, then make it a priority. Chase your dreams and make them a reality, even if that means saving over a few years or working hard at your job in order to be able to put aside the money for the next holiday! There are so many affordable destinations out there, that you don’t need to ‘break the bank’ in order to travel!
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