This week’s guest post comes from Heels In My Backpack. She explains ‘As a girly girl with a fashion degree and an unhealthy attachment to my straighteners, my first experience of backpacking was pretty daunting. I read every possible book and blog about packing lists and things not to take, and the advice was the same all round: leave the heels at home, you don’t need make-up, you won’t ever use a hairdryer let alone hair straighteners. I was seriously terrified. But I accepted that life on the backpacking trail would be a little different and did what the experts told me… And massively regretted it. I just didn’t feel like myself. Sure I was a backpacker, but why does that mean I have to have frizzy hair and wear flip flops on nights out? So that leads me to Heels In My Backpack. I wish there had been someone out there to give me advice catered to me and my particular branch of backpacking. Not necessarily flashpacking, but backpacking with a bit of style at least. So I stepped up to the plate. Sharing my experiences of travelling and dishing out some helpful tips for how you can do it and still be awesome.’
1.What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Kara Caradas and I’m originally from South East London, but I moved to sunny Milton Keynes 4 years ago. A life choice that is constantly questioned seeing as I have travelled to so many beautiful places in the world yet decided to settle in the home of the concrete cows…
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
I have a full-time job so unfortunately my travels are part-time these days. But I am wholeheartedly a backpacker, travelling on a budget and staying in hostels 95% of the time.
3. How do you fund your travelling?
I work in the fashion industry by day so that funds a lot of my travelling. However I am lucky enough for my blog to earn me some pocket money and I am offered press trips on occasion, which helps a lot!
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Ahhh a travel blogger’s least favourite question…
I’m going to go with Luang Prabang in Laos. The quiet and laid-back town with a 11pm curfew was so refreshing on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail. It was also really beautiful with so many day trips to do and it even has a fab Indian restaurant, which I was craving for most of my trip. Plus if you’ve ever eaten at JoMa’s bakery, you’ll understand.
Special mention goes to San Francisco though, a beautiful and eccentric city I could move to in a heartbeat.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
Los Angeles. I think my expectations were too high from American TV shows to be honest, I just didn’t enjoy it there. Everything was too spread out, the people seemed mean and I was a bit of a newbie backpacker so didn’t really know what I was doing there.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Of course! Although it is really quite long… Top of the list are Cuba, India and New Orleans at the moment, but they are long-haul places that I’m going to need a big chunk of annual leave for. Places on the bucketlist a little closer to home are Cornwall (can you believe I haven’t been??), Copenhagen and Provence.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
It’s a bit David Beckham in 1997 but I always travel with a sarong – it’s my beach towel, my travel blanket, a scarf for freezing cold aircon and a head towel for when I wash my hair.
I also always bring a statement necklace that will turn a basic cami and denim shorts into a nightime outfit without using up valuable backpack space.
Finally, I always bring a pair of heels. Firstly, because you never know when a fabulous occasion may arise and heels make me feel a bit more dressed up. Secondly, because my blog is called Heels In My Backpack and I get grief from other travellers if I don’t have any on me!
8. What makes you happy and why?
First and foremost, cheese toasties. As if I need to explain why.
But also.. travel blogging, adventure, tulle skirts, vintage t-shirts, spontaneity, dogs, Stila liquid lipstick, mashed potato with gravy, fairy lights, yoga, Grey’s Anatomy, Rioja wine, messy hair, treehouses and the beach.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started Heels In My Backpack in 2012 after I returned from 16 months of travelling Southeast Asia and Australia. I realised that I disagreed with most of the backpacking advice I had read online before my trip and decided to set the record straight – you can be a backpacker in style, folks. You don’t need to leave the make-up at home and you can be a legit traveller in heels. So here I am! Showing budding backpackers that you can still be glam when you’re slumming it.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
I think most female travel blogs that link travel with fashion and beauty are usually in the luxury sector and are more aspirational. Whereas most budget travel and backpacking blogs are all about packing light and leaving any kind of luxury items at home. Heels In My Backpack bridges the gap between these two topics and offers up a new kind of ‘girly backpacking’, as I like to call it. I blog about awesome destinations but with a backpacker spin, offering hostel reviews and cheap eats, as well as highlighting High Street travel fashion and budget beauty buys!
From ESLT – Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Kara. Safe Travels 🙂