Zipkick Bloggers: Mar Pages from Once in a Lifetime Journey
Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
Kenya. I was there for work, at the very beginning of my expat career, about ten years ago. It was simply fascinating to spot giraffes from the plane while descending for landing or to see zebras from the office. Working with a multi-national team and supporting a client who was also multi-cultural, I realized how incredible everything was and how fortunate I was to be living such an enriching life. In the evenings, we would sample the local restaurants, making our way through the game meat available. In the weekends, I stayed for the safaris, in the mornings we would get up very early for a game drive before going to the office. But above all, the most heart-warming experiences were the day to day conversations with people who were living in such a different part of the world to mine. I was living my own dream.
If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
I would travel indefinitely, recording everything as I go, and I would have someone help me edit photos and videos while I write amazing stories and interviews with the locals. I would share the magic of the most fascinating, least visited places with the world
What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
Traveling solo. At first, I thought it would be strange and scary to eat alone or to stroll the markets of unknown cities by myself. I soon realized that, by being alone, I was making myself more accessible to the locals who would invite me to their houses for lunch, or to other travelers, who welcomed me to their tables for dinner, curious to hear my stories. I learned that I was braver than I thought and that I could very easily travel alone and have an even more enriching experiences
What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
Skyscanner for flight bookings – daily. Google Maps/Earth to explore the world, the 21st century equivalent of a globe. Facebook & Twitter to keep in touch with those who matter and to read interesting stories from the bloggers and travelers I follow. Facebook Pages to engage with my followers. Fiverr for all the small things creative and technical things I need help on (fixing my site, getting a video edited, etc.). iMovie to make quick videos on the go of the places I travel to.
What place do you wish more people had seen?
Pakistan and Sudan. Both countries do not inspire beauty or positive feelings on anyone yet they are incredible places filled with warm people and stunning landscapes. I do not condone a lot of the political and religious values they support, but I wish more people would have the chance to see for themselves and realize that, people are people, everywhere, and that Sudanese and Pakistani people have the same fears, worries and dreams as everyone else.
Best advice you have been given and by whom?
Pack light. I went on a two month sabbatical across the Pacific with 30kg of luggage and found myself, two weeks in, wearing the exact same clothes everyday and having to ship boxes home from every country. When you are on the road, nobody cares how you dress, social standards and norms don’t apply, dress appropriately for the destination and pack versatile clothes. Then simply wash them like you would at home. Lugging your suitcases around is a hassle when you are on the road and may even end up costing you money if you fly small planes. Plus it is liberating to realize how little you need to be happy and how little material possessions count when you don’t have to prove anything to anyone
When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I actually run a series on this on my blog where other travelers share moments which restored their faith in humanity. I strongly believe that, rather than being frightened by what is out there, one is more likely going to be surprised by random and unrequited acts of kindness from complete strangers and I have countless situations to prove it. From the lady at the American Samoa Tourism office showing up at my hotel door to lend me her car because she knew all the rental cars in the country were booked, to the old couple inviting me over to their table at an Island Feast in the Cook Islands so I wouldn’t eat alone, to a friend of a friend in Pakistan who took care of me for four days without letting me pay for anything. In Samoa, I got back from Savaii Island to the B&B I was staying at in Upolu to find a lei the ladies from the B&B had prepared for me with flowers from their garden because they knew it was my birthday. A smile will almost always be met with a smile.
What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Curiosity. Through the last decade I have realized that, what motivates me to keep moving, to go places others don’t go to and to see the most remote parts of the world has always been an unwavering need to hear stories that have never been told before. My curiosity drives me to ask any question, to listen with purpose and to observe everything around me. If you are not curious, you will miss half of the story behind a place
I am a Zipkick blogger because….
I always thought that the review and booking sites available were not for me. Sure, they provide a point of view and hint at the things that may go wrong in a place but they are never representative of my taste. For recommendations, I end up having to compile a long list of sources and, in the end, only really trust a couple of my friends who share my taste. I hope that Zipkick will be able to read my mind and become that trusted friend I can go to for great recommendations, once and for all
Thank you Mar Pages for being part of our ZipKick Blogger interview series!
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Bio: Mar Pages is has been expat and ultra-frequent traveler for the last decade. She likes to go places others don’t go to. That usually means out of the ordinary destinations and one of a kind experiences, from an helicopter trip to Everest Base Camp to a week in Bora Bora or a trip to Djibouti, she is most likely found lost somewhere you may not be able to locate on a map.