The last Featured Travel Blogger interview I did was quite some time ago, back in December, when I asked Sophie from The Nomadic Backpacker some questions about her travelling lifestyle. This time it’s Hanne’s turn, a Norwegian blogger who has travelled to over 50 different countries!
HI, CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF?
1. Name: Hanne Hellvik
2. Age: 26
3. Travel Blog: Places People Stories
4. Twitter: @HellvikHanne
5. Home Town: Kristiansand, Norway
6. Current Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia
7. Tell us a bit about where you are at the moment and what you’re doing there: The last years I have been settled in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The plan was to be here for only two months on an internship for an NGO. But, then I met the love of my life, and I was offered a job as the director of a foundation working with street kids. So after a trip to Peru, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and back to Norway, I returned to Bolivia.
8. First ever travel experience:
When I was a child, I travelled a lot with my parents. Mostly, around northern Europe. We took the car, and drove through Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Sweden ect.
I was six years old the first time we did so. I did not appreciate travelling as much then as I do today. My sister and I was fighting in the back of the car, making my parents crazy. When we returned my grandma asked me what it was that I liked the most about the trip. My answer after visiting all of these countries, was that we had eaten at McDonalds in Berlin.
9. Where’s next in your travel plans?:
In June I am planning to visit Mexico, Honduras and Belize with my husband. In July, we are going to Norway, and hope to stop for a few days in Río de Janeiro on the way. After that I hope to see more of East Europe, I really would like to visit Romania and Russia.
10. Give me the top 3 places you’ve visited and why:
- San Blas in Panama is my absolute favorite. It is really a traveler’s paradise. It is one of the most beautiful places I have visited with the over 300 small islands. Here you will find crystal clear water, perfect white sand beaches and colorful coral reeves. You will also experience a lot of culture visiting San Blas due to that you will be living with the Kuna Indians. There are no hotels, just cabins build by the locals. San Blas is still a pretty unknown destination, which is also why I love it so much. It is not ruined by tourism yet.
- El salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. This is the world’s largest salt flat. You will not find anything like this anywhere in the world. The nature is just amazing, and one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.
- Ganvie, Benin. This is the biggest community living on water in the world and the city is built on stilts. It is amazing to see that the locals do everything from their wooden canoes. Shopping, transporting, and working. It is a really eye-opening experience to see this city, and it is a testimony that we humans can adapt to everything. Even living on water. This is also a pretty unknown destination, which makes it even more interesting.
11. What 5 countries do you want to visit that you haven’t yet been to?:
Just picking five countries is hard, because I want to see all countries I have not been to yet. However, here is my list of five of them.
12. If you could avoid going anywhere where would it be and why?:
Right now, I would not like to go to Syria or Iraq. I would not risk being taken by ISIS. I lived in an armed conflict zone in Nigeria for 6 months, and I never actually felt very threatened. But you never know. I had a professor that was kidnapped by a terror group, so I rather not put myself in that risk again.
13. What are your top 5 travelling items?
My lap-top to write blog-posts
Camera to have some memories from the trip
Mp3 player, I hate to take long flights or bus-rides without having music to listen to
Tissues, because there are so many toilets out there without paper
Antibac, there is not always there is soap either
14. Best bit of advice you’ve ever been given:
That if you want to be happy, be so. Happiness is a choice. I you feel miserable where you are and with what you do, and think that travelling will make you happy, do so. If you think something else will make you enjoy life more, do that, whatever it is.
15. Worst advice?
That you should not waste your career for travels. Because actually traveling can help your career.
16. What do you miss most when you’re travelling?
I miss my family the most. But I also miss running in the nature of Norway. Sometimes, I really miss the food we have at home as well. Living here in Bolivia I especially miss the fish. I also miss being with the sea as Bolivia do not have sea.
NOW FOR THE RANDOM QUESTIONS
17. Hostel, Hotel or other: I prefer living with locals. This because I get to know the culture better, and can observe their daily lives. Something I really enjoy while travelling. However, sometimes it can be very nice with a comfortable hotel.
18. Favourite food from another country: Oh, this one is hard. I loved the Indian food when I was there. I love Italian food. The food in Thailand is delicious. I am addicted to many dishes here in Bolivia. So actually I have many favorites.
19. Favourite mode of transport (plane, train, bus, tuk tuk etc): Cruise is my very favorite. This because it is so comfortable while moving around. There are many activities onboard, and it is like being in a hotel room. The next morning your wake up, ready for explore a new destination. I have only traveled like this one time though. But I really liked it.
20.Guilty pleasure?: Chocolate. I need to eat it every day!
21. Best travel app?: If you are lost, a map on the phone is of good help. But in general I do not use too many travel apps.
22. Favourite travelling soundtrack/What are you listening to at the moment?: I need music when I travel. It so boring to go on a long flight or bus-ride without having music on the ears. I listen to almost everything, but Bob Dylan is one of my favorites.
23. Favourite travel movie?: ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, and ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ are my two very favorite travel movies.
24. Favourite travel book?: Everything where you can read about local cultures. I really enjoy reading social-anthropologic books of cultures I had no idea excited.
25. Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions. Now please take a few lines to tell everyone about your website…
Places People Stories, is a different kind of travel blog. Instead of the typical “10 things to do in Paris”, I try to focus on the not so obvious and discuss travel topics. I also share the most interesting stories and problems I have experienced, while visiting over 50 countries.