WSGT’s next Travel Influencer is Marta Kulesza of InAFarAwayLand, a travel blog dedicated to those who love road trips, being outdoors and above all photography of the most scenic locations around the world!
1.) Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing.
I truly learned the appreciation for the outdoors and the beauty of our world when I worked in the Scottish Highlands over the summer season during my University years. I have packed my bags and together with my friend we booked one way tickets to Scotland. Soon after we ended up finding a job in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. That’s where I first started taking photos. Since then I have travelled and lived in many beautiful countries, but the on that will always be most impressive to me is New Zealand.
2.) If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I find myself drawn to fairly inaccessible spots. The wilder the better. I would love to explore the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia or climb one of the volcanoes in Ecuador. A trip to Antarctica sounds really appealing to me as well! I would like to have my own home on wheels, which I could take wherever I would desire.
3.) What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
As far as I remember I was never the one who was scared. I moved across the Atlantic by myself when I was just 18 years old. I once bungee jumped 5 times in one day or hiked at night through the Ecuadorian jungle filled with spiders and caymans. I’ve had a terrible accident recently in the Canadian Rockies, that have made me a lot more cautious. I always try to stay within my limits and if I don’t feel comfortable doing something I just don’t do it. I tell myself that it is ok to say no, especially when my own safety is a stake.
4.) What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
I have religiously used Campermate when travelling around New Zealand and Wikicamps for Australia and Canada. They have made my life so much easier when searching for campsites and points of interest. I also occasionally use aurora watch apps to find out the northern lights forecast.
5.) What place do you wish more people have seen?
I am a big advocate of conscious living. I wish we would all see places that are directly impacted by human activities and mindless consumption. I have been to beautiful beaches in Fiji or Samoa, where trash was scattered all around because the local communities didn’t have the resources to properly dispose of it. I have seen glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland that disappear at an alarming speed. I would hope that once people see the beauty of those countries they would realize that we need to change how we live in order to protect them.
6.) Best advice you have been given and by whom?
Don’t try to be the best, but rather try to become a better version of yourself every day, that’s the advice I am trying to tell myself every day. I think nowadays, especially in the age of social media, we all get caught up with constantly striving to be at the top. This mindset is very tiring and can lead to a quick burn out.
7.) When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I have been surprised quite few times, but there is one that instantly comes to my mind and it was in Samoa. I was travelling by ferry from the Island of Savaii to Upolu and once ashore I ended up catching a ride with other tourists, who then dropped me off at the bus stop in a village in the middle of nowhere. I have wrongly assumed that there will be a bus to where I wanted to go, but was told by a local lady, who was the only other person waiting at the bus stop with me, that the only bus that passes through will go to Apia – the capital. I will have to catch another bus from there to Lalomanu the next day. Since my time on the island was limited I didn’t want to waste my day on travelling. After a lengthy conversation, the woman ended up inviting me to her home, feeding me and then she and her family drove me to my destination, which was almost 2 hours away from their village!
8.) What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
When my high school was coming to an end, my parents have asked me if I wanted to take a gap year instead and move to England to improve my English whilst living with a host family as an au pair. Since I didn’t really know what I would like to study I thought the idea was brilliant! Then one day my mum brought a booklet from her work that contained information about being an au pair in the US. From that moment onwards I started preparing my application, doing my driving test and everything else that was required of me in order to move overseas. 6 months later I was on the plane to New York where my adventure in the US began. If it wasn’t for my parents my life might have gone in a completely different direction.
9.)I travel because….
I am young and now is the best time for it. I don’t want to wake up in 20 years and think to myself I wish I had gone to this place when I had a chance. With that said I am not a fast traveler. I don’t want to hop from country to country and tick off places off my list, not to mention the carbon footprint I would be leaving behind. It’s been 11 years since I first moved to US and since then I spent almost 2,5 years in America, 4 years in Germany, 7 months backpacking through South America, 1,5 year in New Zealand and Australia and since seven months I am based in Canada. I prefer living in a country and seeing places that a short term visitor wouldn’t normally go to.
For up-and-coming travel writers, Marta recommends: I always tell my friends who sometimes express their envy about my lifestyle, that where there is a will there is a way. If you really want to travel you can make it work. Don’t invest into material things, but rather invest in yourself and skills that may be able to help you in the long run. Thanks to being able to see and capture with my camera so many amazing places around the world I have learned photography, a skill that led me to establishing my blog. I have watched countless video tutorials on YouTube. Be resourceful, reach out for opportunities rather than waiting for them to come to you Nowadays the resources are limitless, you just need the desire to learn!
I am Marta – the photographer and adventurer behind aurora watch apps. Together with my partner I also run photography workshops. I am from Poland, but I’ve been living, travelling and working around the globe since almost 12 years. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find hiking somewhere in the mountains. I currently call Canadian Rockies my home.
Keep up-to-date with Marta through her:
Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.