Today I am talking to Sarah from the Further Adventures of Bennett. Sarah spent 4 years at university in Newcastle studying English Linguistics and German and has already had lots of adventures in her life. She is currently teaching English in China and has just been granted her New Zealand Working Holiday visa… so has lots of exciting plans coming up! Let’s hear Bennett’s views on Travel…
What made you discover your passion for Travel?
It was a school trip exploring the many areas of Malaysia in July and August 2005 which did it for me. We did it with a company called World Challenge and spent 2 years raising around £3000 to go. As an impressionable and adventurous 16 year old by the time we went, it was also the first time I’d ever been on a big aeroplane, having only ever flown to Jersey before then. I will never forget the excitement of that whole trip and the experiences we had and that still happens every time I get on a plane too!
Where is your most favourite place in the world and why? (that you have been to so far)
I could easily say anywhere. Every place I have ever been too has given me some fantastic memories, but to be honest my favourite place in the world is in the UK. It’s Polzeath Beach, in Cornwall, England, where I spent many a wonderful childhood holiday bodyboarding and surfing. I love the sea and my family does too, so it was no surprise to my mum that when I visited home last summer I wanted to go for a day trip to go surfing!
What 5 things could you not travel without?
3) iPod Touch
4) At least one stuffed penguin (currently there are 4 on the road with me!)
5) Girly, but Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream!
What advice would you offer to a virgin backpacker?
Embrace everything. Of course there are going to be things, people and places that you don’t like and you’re going to feel low at some point but put it in your experience box and move on. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t like somewhere just because everyone else loves it – I don’t especially like Prague whilst everyone raves about it, but it’s just a different opinion.
Are you a daredevil? What is the craziest thing you have done while travelling?
I did the SkyWalk and SkyJump at the SkyTower in Auckland, New Zealand in December 2012. Usually the SkyWalk is done in a group of up to 6, but it was just me! The clouds were swirling around making the whole thing really ghostly. Those who know my blog know that this is also my blog title picture. 😉
What are the next things you want to tick off on your bucketlist?
Skydive in New Zealand, pretty standard! I have a friend there who also wants to do it with me which will be awesome.
You are currently in China. What is your favourite and least favourite thing about the country?
I could go on forever about China, but I’ll keep this brief! I love the food and the general friendliness of the people here. So far (I’ve still got 5 months to go but I’m hopeful!) I’ve never felt unsafe in China, which is a key thing for me. I genuinely feel happy here and whenever I leave for a holiday and return I feel like I’m returning to a home.
I’m not so keen on their habits. They spit, smoke everywhere, don’t know how to queue and can sometimes be quite direct with their questions and comments about you. Maybe that’s the Britishness coming out in me. Their lack of world knowledge is also frustrating. Every time I walk down the street even now they turn to their friends and say “look, a foreigner!”
What made you want to teach English as a foreign language?
I was a teaching assistant in Germany on my Year Abroad at uni, then did some further work in Italy from a friend’s recommendation and the same friend recommended China to me. I like kids and everyone at home says that I could be a good teacher but I just don’t want to be stuck in the UK education system! I spent 14 years at school, then 4 years at university, why would I want to go straight back again?!
Also, as everyone says, it’s a good way to see the world. I’m not ruling it out, but I think when I leave China I’ll be looking for a different path away from teaching.
When are you off to New Zealand and what is it about NZ that appeals to you?
12th September 2013! I love having dates in my head so I can focus on the more immediate things. My uncle emigrated there over 12 years ago an ever since I’ve always wanted to visit, especially as my grandparents (who have been out there a few times) have repeatedly said I would love it. It was amazing to get over there for the Christmas and New Year just gone, but I’m looking forward to exploring more. I think it’s the outdoor and relaxed life that it seems to offer that appeals most. It’s an island, just like the UK, so also with my love of the sea it’s never far in any direction.
Do you have any tips on how to conquer home sickness?
Get busy! If you’re busy you have little time to feel homesick. But I know that’s not always the case. Keep mementos of home around your room and Skype is the best thing in the world to keep in touch with home, although the time zones are a little unhelpful at times! My favourite thing I have is a sign my 15 year old sister made when I arrived home for the summer. It’s going to go everywhere with me from now on!
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Somewhere with a partner in crime, who will love travel as much as I do. I’ve travelled a lot alone, so I’ll be very happy to find someone else to do it with me.
Either that or living in Newcastle, reliving my student days at a borderline unsuitable age. 😉
Quick Fire Faves
City – Newcastle
Beach – Polzeath, Cornwall
Airline – China Southern
Accent – Geordie
Food – Fish and chips and mushy peas
Cocktail – Raspberry Mojito
Film – Finding Nemo
Material Possession – A graduation ring from my grandparents
Thank you very much for participating in Totally Travel Talk at Totally Sam’s World.
Safe and happy travels, keep us posted!
Make sure you have a read of Sarah’s fabulous blog at the Further Adventures of Bennett , and follow her on Twitter @penguinbennett