Gray Cargill from Solofriendly.com Interview

Posted by admin | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 30-09-2010

Our travel interview today is from Gray Cargill of solofriendly.com

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a forty-something woman who enjoys solo travel. I’m also a travel blogger and an avid (amateur) photographer. I’ve lived in Vermont almost my whole life and have worked in the non-profit field for the past twenty years.

How did you get into traveling?

I’ve always enjoyed traveling. We didn’t travel a whole lot when I was growing up because we were pretty poor, but I did travel to see relatives in other states and went to Germany for a month to visit my father, who was stationed there. I loved seeing how different life was in other places, outside of Vermont. It was so much more exciting. After college, I didn’t have the money to travel for a few years, and when I did, I didn’t have a traveling companion. I was of the mindset that you needed to travel with someone. But I finally decided that life is short and I didn’t want to wait for someone else, so I just started going on my own. My first big trip was a three week course through my University in England studying Shakespeare (which was a perfect way to be introduced to England!). I next fell in love with Las Vegas, which I visit every year. In between, I’ve been to Mexico and Canada, but most of my travel has been domestic. There are so many places I wanted to see in the US (and still do).

What have been some of your most memorable experiences?

My international travel has been pretty amazing. Germany and Austria are beautiful countries, and I feel a real tug toward England because I’ve read so many books set there. My helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon was pretty mind-blowing; seeing the Canyon from the air is definitely an experience I won’t forget soon. In Las Vegas, I got to pat an African lion cub; it was one of those touristy photo opps, but still. . .how many people can say they know what a lion cub feels like? I visited New Orleans in the post-Katrina era, and I really fell in love with the city and the spirit of its residents. They love their culture fiercely and won’t give up on it. From a negative perspective, my trip to Mexico was memorably awful. I got food poisoning the night before I was to go to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins. I didn’t want to miss it, so I forced myself to get on the bus, and I started feeling sick, so I got up to head to the bathroom in the back of the bus and blacked out. Luckily, two men on either side of the aisle saw what was going down—me!–and caught me before I could get hurt. But I only made it through half an hour of the tour before I had to catch a cab back to the resort, I was just so sick. If and when I return to Mexico, I’ll be doing things differently.

What are you doing now?

I work full-time at a non-profit in Vermont and when I’m not there, I’m blogging or hanging out with friends. I also serve on the board of my condo association. I’m planning a November trip to Paris for a week, which will be my first trip to Europe since 1994. That’s exciting for me. Then I’ll be headed back to Las Vegas around Christmas.

What websites do you run?

My oldest blog is SoloFriendly.com, a blog for solo travelers, which I’ve been writing since 2008. In the spring, I launched a new website (with blog) to help people plan their solo Las Vegas vacations called The Vegas Solo.

What tips would you give someone wanting to go traveling?

  • Find a way to do it. If you don’t think you can afford it, you can. There are numerous websites out there that will tell you how to save your money for travel, travel cheaply, and secure jobs or volunteer work overseas.
  • If you don’t have anyone to travel with, go alone. I’m not the bravest person in the world by a long shot, and I travel alone. If I can do it, 99.9% of the traveling population can.
  • Don’t think that there’s only one flavor of travel. There are many different ways to travel. I’m a vacation traveler; I travel for a week or so at a time. Others are nomads. Others will travel for a few months at a time for around the world. Figure out which style of travel works best for your life.
  • But most importantly, do your research ahead of time. You don’t have to know everything about your destination, just enough to know the dos and don’ts, where to stay, and how to get around. Knowledge is the most important tool a traveler has.

Copenhagen Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by admin | Posted in Europe | Posted on 24-09-2010

Last week I was in Copenhagen, I can’t claim that this was some last minute impulse trip due to my playboy lifestyle, rather I was there on a work trip to see a client. But like every good travel enthusiast I grabbed the opportunity to mix business with pleasure, and packed my camera and city guide to squeeze what sightseeing time I had from the trip.

The reality of the matter is we didn’t have much time to do any of the tourist stuff and it rained most of the time (which I was told was fairly routine), but from my brief exploration of the city this is my list of do and don’t.

DO

DO Speak to Danish people – One thing you often miss when you are away in a foreign country on a holiday is you don’t learn anything about the culture or way of life. I was lucky as we were with clients who were Danish so when we were out to dinner I learnt so much about the Danish way of life that I would never have learnt being there on my own.

DO Eat at Pate Pate – We went to this restaurant for a meal it was close to the hotel we stayed at and in a recently regenerated area of the city called Kødbyen . It has a great atmosphere, was ‘cool’, busy, and the food was delicious.

DO Expect To Be Embarassed That Everyone Speaks Fluent English – This is one thing I never fail to cringe at when I visit continental Europe. Everyone speak English better than I can and Denmark appears to be no exception.

DONT

DON’T Expect it to be cheap – The UK may be a expensive place to live, but the extremely strong Danish currency and high standard of living mean that prices are wallet poppingly high for virtually everything. Expect to pay up to £10 for a starter and £20 for a main course in an average restaurant and a beer is around 8euro’s. So go with a sugar daddy, work, pimp or anyone who is going to foot the bill.

DON’T Get Caught in the Rain – Coming from Scotland rain is the norm, but it appears to also be the norm in Copenhagen to. Therefore packing an umbrella and waterproof clothing is a good idea. We got caught in the rain and got soaked to the bone, which kinda nails the carefree ‘traveling’ atmosphere you create in your head when your in a foreign city.

DON’T Expect the accommodation to be very good – Unlike the uber cool design and furniture exports that go hand in hand with Scandinavian culture – this doesn’t seem to apply to hotels. Expect to pay top dollar if you want anything chic, my advice would be to go 4 star plus.