My Travel Story

Koh Samui, Thailand. Copyright Ngaire Ackerley

Koh Samui – first stop when I left NZ for London

This month’s travel linkup is all about what got me into the world of travel blogging. Why I am here today sharing my tales from the globe, solo travel, being an expat, to returning home. How have I gotten to travelling over 45 different countries, living in 3 for extended periods of time and taking some epic solo backing journeys?

Well I’ll tell you how…

There once was a little girl who moved from the city to a small kiwi town in the countryside. There was clean fresh air and oceans nearby. She spent her days with chickens, in the garden and camping out. She visited the glow worms in the gully, summers at the beach and family Christmases around the Christmas pine tree.

Then one day her eldest sister went to travel and work on cruise ships. That’s the time the postcards started arriving and the dreaming began…

Could it actually be possible to travel the world?

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey (from a hot air balloon)

Positano, Italy

Standing above Positano, Italy

We weren’t wealthy at all, I worked when I was old enough to pay for my hobbies and my car. Yet by the time I’d finished high school I remember telling a scholarship organisation that I hoped to one day work in London.

Roll on 3 years at University, I then applied for an EUNZ Scholarship abroad for my Postgraduate Study. I was hoping for Slovenia, with Austria as my second choice. England was another option, but it felt too similar to New Zealand. I was after something a bit different!


Hagenberg, just outside of Linz, where I studied in Austria

Hagenberg, just outside of Linz, where I studied in Austria

Then the day came and my scholarship turned out to be the best thing that had happened to me. I was given just over 5 months in Austria and a few weeks in Slovenia. Flights and a monthly budget was provided. I was so excited. This was well worth an extra year of study to travel to Europe!

And what an adventure it was. I made so many lovely friends during my time in the little Austrian town of Hagenberg. Friends from Lithuania, Spain, Hungary, Austria and many more. I enjoyed the weekly ‘pasta night’ of all you can eat 1 Euro pasta at the pub (with beers I’ve course). The travel opportunities were incredible. While we travelled cheap my friends and I managed to see many spots in Eastern and Central Europe and even visited London! What a busy place that was, I could never imagine living there!

Austria was incredible. My travel were woven into my Honours thesis on ‘Still Photography without text’ and were etched into my heart and soul.

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt, Austria

Roll on 2 years later, I’d finished my postgraduate degree, worked for a year and a half, paid off my student loan, saved up and I was boarding a plane to… you guessed it… London.


London Bus

London bus

London was the spot where there were lots of work opportunities and lots of Kiwis and Aussies start off there. I was able to get a 5 year Ancestry visa from a bit of research into my Grandfathers birthplace. I was set.

It wasn’t smooth sailing at all though. I didn’t really know anyone. I changed flats about 4 times within a year and took 6 weeks to get my first contracting gig because I had no contacts in the industry.

At the Olympic stadium awaiting an Athletics final!

At the Olympic stadium awaiting an Athletics final!

It probably took a good 2-3 years in London until I started making really good close friends outside of work. It was around this time I started blogging too. I met some lovely friends through blogging, attended various bloggers afternoon teas and started getting the odd travel deal in return for a review.

Afternoon Tea with the lovely Emma (who also took this pick)

I travelled regularly. Almost every month. Often to Europe, but also throughout the UK and Ireland. I ventured over to the US and Canada and fell in love with Africa. The world has so much to offer and this is where my travel bloggers journey really began.

Northern Lights, Tromso

Northern Lights, Tromso

Agia Anna beach, Naxos

Agia Anna beach, Naxos, Greece

American side of Niagara Falls, at night

American side of Niagara Falls, at night

Standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza

Standing in front of the Pyramids of Giza

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla, Rwanda, 2011

The desire to travel will always be inside me I think. Even if sometimes it doesn’t seem possible, it’s still there, tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me how vast and different all the places in the world are.


If this post sounded of interest, you could be keen to check out my 30 Greatest Travel Experiences Before I’m 30 – they include many of my adventures from Austria and my time in London, along with my epic solo journey home to NZ via Africa and South/Central America. Check the posts out here: »