This week’s guest post comes from Amber, travel blogger behind Wanderlust & Pasta. She explains ‘I am currently living, breathing and eating all things Italian in Padova; a beautiful and charming city in northern Italy, about half an hour from Venice. Yep, you read that right! I literally live half an hour from Venice and yes, I still pinch myself every time I walk out of Venezia Santa Lucia station. Pretty sure it has the best train station views in the world but hey I might be biased. Having lived away from home now for several years, I thought it was about time I finally start a travel blog. I often get many questions and queries from family and friends about my life in Italy, my travels, why I move around a lot and the best places to visit in Italy so it seemed only fitting I compile all my adventures and tips in one spot.’
1. What is your name and where do you come from?
My name is Amber Bourke, and I’m the (sometimes) blogger behind Wanderlust and Pasta. I am an Aussie from Sydney but am currently living in Padova, Italy. Have been here for nearly four years now — wow!
2. What sort of traveller are you? Full time / part time / business / backpacker etc?
As much as I would love to be a full time traveller (that would be the dream), sadly, I’m only a part time traveller. However, living in Europe does make it a lot easier to get away more often than it does living in Australia. As for how I travel, I would say I am a budget conscious traveller. I don’t do hostels and backpackers, but I do always try to keep costs per night to under €50. My fiancé and I once spent 2 weeks traveling through Croatia a few summers ago, and I managed to get the entire worth of accommodation for €550!
3. How do you fund your travelling?
Since moving to Italy, I’ve been teaching English. It’s not something I planned to do, but more so fell into because I am a native English speaker. It’s actually a field of work that is in quite high demand over here. So if you’re looking for a beautiful place to spend a couple of months or a year, teaching English in Italy is a great idea! I actually have a background in media and communications where I worked for several years in Australia and New Zealand but due to visa restrictions and my very bad Italian, working in that field is almost impossible here. But teaching English and also having an amazing, supportive fiancè (who is the reason why we’re in Italy) has allowed me to meet some amazing people and of course, fund my travels.
4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?
Oh this is a hard one. I think I’m going to have to say the Greek islands, in particular, Santorini. It’s everything you imagine it to be and more! The people were incredibly friendly, the views are to die for and the food, oh my goodness, the food. I mean I live in Italy, so that should tell you something. So fresh and simple, yet delicious. Surprisingly, it was also relatively cheap as well. Aside from our accommodation which we splashed on because well, it’s Santorini, eating out, quad bike hire and beach hire was very reasonable. Much cheaper than Mykonos and other places I’ve been to before in Italy and Croatia.
5. Where is the worst place you have ever been and why?
I wouldn’t say this is the worst place because can there really be a bad place to explore? But I would have to say Dubai. Don’t get me wrong, if I had a bottomless bank account or willing to spend the extra money I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more. I guess I was expecting much more from Dubai as I had only heard great things about it but to be honest it was a little underwhelming and felt very artificial. Also, unless you’re staying by a metro station it’s quite expensive to get around. You need to catch a taxi if you want to go to the beach, to The Palm etc or into the city if you’re staying at the beach. However, I’m definitely open to giving Dubai another go, or better yet trying its neighbouring cities like Abu Dhabi.
6. Do you have a Bucket List? If so where are the 3 top places on it?
Of course! I’m constantly adding to it, because let’s be honest, I just want to go everywhere. But Matchu Pitchu has always been high on the list for me, as is Morocco and Bora Bora. In the more immediate future, I’ve got Sardinia and the Amalfi Coast in my sight.
7. What 3 things (apart from the essentials – food/water etc) do you always travel with?
My iPhone, a good book and a hat.
8. What makes you happy and why?
Exploring new cities and countries. It’s incredibly cliched and unoriginal I know, but I love that feeling of wandering the streets of a new city or taking in the views that you’ve only ever seen in photographs. I’m also a huge creature of comfort, so the little things like a delicious plate of food or snuggling on the couch with my English Bulldog, a cup of earl grey tea, some vanilla candles burning and either a good book or a TV show also makes me incredibly happy.
9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I’ve been blogging for about six months now and to be honest, I still don’t know what I am doing. I started Wanderlust and Pasta because it was a way to share all the amazing places I get to visit with my family and friends back home in Australia. It’s also a place where I write about my life in Italy as I’m constantly being asked what’s it like to live in Italy. And yeah, that’s how and why I started. I would love to grow and develop it, but at the moment, it’s just something I enjoy doing and is an outlet for me to continue to write.
10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?
Unlike a lot of the big travel bloggers out there, I think my main point of difference is the fact that I actually live in Italy as opposed to travelling full time. I try to give a little insight into what it’s like to live in Italy — it’s customs and traditions, learning the language and of course all the amazing cities it has to offer. Obviously, I post about other countries I visit as well but the Italian factor is something I actually really want to work harder on and create more of a niche. Living in Italy is incredibly different to travelling in Italy, and I hope to highlight the good, the bad and everything in between!
From ESLT – thank you, Amber, for taking the time to answer our questions. Safe Travels 🙂