Welcome to The Well-Travelled Postcard! Start Here
First of all, welcome to The Well-Travelled Postcard! Thank you for visiting this travel blog of mine and I’d like to give you a few clues so you can find exactly what you’ll enjoy reading most and so you can get the most out of my blog.
Who writes The Well-Travelled Postcard?
The chances are that if you’re new here, then you’ll be wondering who’s behind this blog and who’s writing all these posts. That’s me, Virginia Stuart-Taylor. I’m British and I’ve long had a penchant for foreign cultures, languages, international travel and new experiences. I started this blog back in summer 2012 after graduating from the University of Exeter and just before moving to the bright lights of London. I’ve lived abroad a few more times since then, and in 2020 I expanded the blog’s topics to also include careers, wellbeing and painting, alongside travel. You can find out more about me below and on my About page.
To find out which countries I’ve travelled to, check out my post ‘How Well Travelled Are You?‘ and if you’re interested in travel blogging then read ‘A Peek into the World of Travel Blogging‘. There’s also a list of projects, companies and tourist boards that I’ve worked with on my PR & Contact page. I also give Training, Talks and Consultancy on a variety of blogging, writing, social media and other topics. If you’re really interested in finding out who I am in glorious technicolour motion picture, then there are a couple of videos for you to browse too. And in 2020 I launched Series 1 of The Well-Travelled Podcast, with 10 episodes about the big topics in the world of travel. I’m also an artist and I paint my travel memories over at The Well-Travelled Painting.
Of course you can say hi on all the normal social networks: find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and even YouTube. And make sure you pop your email address into the box below or on the right-hand-side to subscribe and receive all my new blog posts straight into your inbox.
If you work full-time, you might be wondering… How does she manage to travel so much while working?
I’ve spent over seven years as a young professional living and working a full-time job in London, so I’ve written a lot about weekend escapes, how to maximise precious annual leave allowances and how to ask for a sabbatical from your job, after I took 6 months off work to travel. If you also fit this bill and are curious as to how you can travel more while holding down a career, then you might be interested in these blog posts:
- Coming to terms with the concept of “Annual Leave”
- Guides to weekend breaks in Europe: Bath, the Lake District, Edinburgh, Paris, Porto, Valencia, Milan, Padua, Istanbul, Iceland, Lake Como, the Cotswolds, the Lake District, Hamburg, Madrid, Cornwall
- Itineraries for longer breaks: Sicily, St Petersburg, Sri Lanka, Bali, Moroccan Sahara, Western Balkans
- How To Find Time for Travel while Working a Full-Time Job
- How To Find Money for Travel (& the Secret Behind How I Afford to Travel So Much)
- How to Set New Year’s Travel Resolutions or September Resolutions
- I’m taking a 6-month sabbatical! Here’s Why, What I’ll Be Doing and Where I’ll Be Going
- How to Ask for a Career Break or Sabbatical
- Looking Back on 6 Months of Adventures on my Sabbatical
If you’re planning a Gap Year or extended trip around the world, you might be wondering… Where did she travel on her Gap Year?
The UK has a fantastic tradition of allowing young 18-year-olds to take a Gap Year in between secondary school and university, and I grabbed this opportunity with both hands, managing to spend 10 months abroad in total. 5 months of that were spent working in ski resorts (Portillo in Chile and Courmayeur in Italy) and 5 months spend backpacking (Cuba for 1 month and China and Southeast Asia for 4 months). I also spent a summer after my Master’s backpacking around the Western Balkans and Sicily.
For more ideas, see my guide to the 20 Essential Travel Experiences to Do in Your 20s.
If you’re bemused as to why I love travel so much, you might be wondering… What inspires and motivates her to travel?
I picked up a penchant for travelling as a teenager when our family holidays started venturing further afield than our little wooden bungalow in the south-west of France. I’ve always felt most alive when in a new or foreign place, but I’ve also been influenced by other people who’ve passed on the travel bug to me too!
- My Travel Inspiration and Role Models (spoiler: my family feature heavily in giving me inspiration)
- Interviews with Inspiring Individuals: female solo ocean rower Roz Savage; Roger Biggs who’s run 800 marathons; Charlie Walker who cycled 43,630 miles around the world for over 4 years; Felicity Aston who skied solo across Antarctica; Charlie Bartlett who cycled across Asia; Malvena Stuart-Taylor who sailed across the Atlantic (also as a podcast); Rupert Jones-Warner who summited Mt Everest; the youngest Briton to reach the 7 Summits Geordie Stewart; and Nicholas Stuart-Taylor who climbed up skied down Mt Blanc.
- My Thoughts on Why We Feel Compelled To Travel, and the Changing Meaning of Travel
- Wanderlust and the Problem with Staying in One Place for Too Long
- 6 Reasons Why My British Passport Is My Most Valuable Possession
- “The World is Your Oyster” – But Not For Everyone…
- What does it mean to be British? Thoughts on National Identity, Patriotism and Public Diplomacy
- How to travel as a single woman in your late 20s and the stigma of being single
- Of course a lovely bunch of inspirational quotes never hurt! Read: “It’s not the destination, but the journey, that matters”
If you’re keen to try living, working or studying abroad, you might be wondering… How come she’s lived abroad in Chile, Italy, Spain, Nepal, the Netherlands and Sweden?
I do realise that I’ve been lucky to live outside of the UK on 9 occasions, a combined 3 years in total. I’ve worked in a Chilean ski resort. I’ve worked in Italy as a chalet girl in the Alps, as an au pair near Rome and as an intern at Giorgio Armani in Modena. I’ve also lived in Spain, studying at university in Córdoba while teaching English part-time, and I’ve spent 6 months working in Madrid for a large tech company. Branching out to Asia I’ve spent 4 months living in rural Nepal while volunteering, and I’ve spent 4 months in the Netherlands and 4 months in Sweden studying for a Master’s degree. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to live overseas then check out the following blog posts:
- 8 Essential Tips for Moving Abroad
- 8 Reasons Millennials Should Try Working Abroad
- Living Abroad as a Graduate
- Cultural Exchanges for Young People in the UK: Where to Find Them
- What is an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree?
- Career talk: My experiences working internationally, jobs with languages and travel, and career advice
If you’re keen on giving back to society, you might be wondering… What volunteering has she done and which causes does she support?
Aware of the immense privilege I have to travel freely around the world, I’ve developed a conscience over the last few years as I’ve visited developing countries and seen terrible poverty and inequalities. So I support a number of causes, whether that be through attending two One Young World summits to discuss global issues, or becoming a Digital Ambassador for the children’s charity Plan UK, or volunteering in Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, and being a Trustee for charity Raleigh International. Learn more in these blog posts:
- Thoughts on the One Young World summits in Johannesburg and Dublin
- Help to #EndChildMarriage by wearing the Plan UK ring
- Mission Accomplished: How I Survived the Athens Marathon to Fundraise for Plan UK
- En Route to Nepal: Why, What and Where I’m Volunteering with Raleigh and ICS
- Post-holiday September Resolutions – 8 small steps to become a better person and help change the world
- How to Sponsor a Child in a Developing Country
- 7 Lessons from the G7 Youth Summit 2020
- Why everyone should consider becoming a charity trustee, and how to find your first trustee role
- 10 actions everyone can take to support gender equality
If you’d like to learn another language, you might be wondering… How come she speaks lots of different languages?
At the age of 16 I figured out that I was rather good at learning languages and what began with just French in primary school grew and grew. At some point or another I have studied (beginning in this order) French, Spanish, Latin, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and even a handful of classes of Swahili and Turkish! If you’re a keen linguist or have a goal to reach conversational level in a foreign language, then check out the followings posts:
- 4 Steps to Pick-up a Language you Haven’t Learned Since School
- My Top 10 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language
- Why You Should Learn a Foreign Language
- How to Bring Up Your Children to Be Multilingual
- Why Every Pupil Should Study a Foreign Language at A-Level
- A spotlight on each of the top 10 most spoken foreign languages: Chinese Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Japanese, Punjabi and of course 3 important European languages that don’t make it into the top 10 most spoken: German, French and Italian
If you’re a current/prospective languages student, you might be wondering… What did she do on her Third Year Abroad? What tips does she have for a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages?
From 2008-2012 I studied Modern Languages at the University of Exeter in beautiful Devon, in the south-west of England. However a languages degree is no ordinary 3-year course, as I had the chance to study and work abroad during my Third Year Abroad, firstly studying and teaching English in Córdoba (Spain) and then working as an intern at Giorgio Armani in Modena (Italy). If you’re a languages student then I’ve written a fair bit about the options for your Third Year Abroad, about my own experiences abroad as an Erasmus, and about how to achieve a much-coveted First Class Degree in languages:
- 8 Steps to Getting a First Class Degree in Modern Languages
- Third Year Abroad options: Working Abroad, Studying Abroad, Teaching English Abroad
- My own experiences in Cordoba & Modena
- How to Survive Financially on a Third Year Abroad
- Career Options for Modern Languages Graduates (Part One) and (Part Two)
- 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Take a Year Abroad during University
If you’re interested in a Master’s degree, you might be wondering… Why and where did she study abroad? What did her degree involve?
After 4 years out of academia, in September 2016 I returned to university to start a 2-year Master’s degree in European Society, Politics and Culture in a Global Context. Obviously I wanted to explore new countries while studying, so I chose an Erasmus Mundus degree which allowed me to spend my 1st semester in Groningen (the Netherlands) and my 2nd in Uppsala (Sweden). My 3rd semester was due to be in Mexico City, but I ended up accepting an offer for my dream job instead so I moved back to London, and finished the Master’s alongside work (which I do not recommend – it’s very hard!). Find out more about it here:
- My Next Steps: Why I’m Leaving the UK and Emigrating to Europe
- What is an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree?
- Decisions, Decisions! Where to Study Abroad Next?
- Moving to Mexico! and A Change in Plans
- Read some of my academic papers: The Well-Travelled Journal
- Read about my Master’s thesis
- A Journey Across Borders (also as a podcast)
- Graduating from my Master’s degree at long last!
If you’re into tech, you might be wondering… What gadgets and tech does she use when she’s travelling?
I worked for 4 years in the tech industry and I love a new toy as much as the next person, and tech/apps/gadgets are pretty brilliant. Travel has changed fundamentally since the introduction of the internet, and I’ve had fun reviewing gadgets like Google Glass and fitness bands. Find our more in these blog posts:
- How to Photograph the Northern Lights and the Night Sky
- 9 Tech Trends for the Travel Industry
- The Latest Addition to My Packing List: a UE Boom speaker
- 10 Packing Essentials I Can’t Travel Without
- However I also recognise the importance of switching off: Embracing the Digital Detox and the New Luxury of Switching Off
If you’re sporty, you might be wondering… Aside from travelling, what other activities does she like doing?
I’m from a pretty active family and a lazy beach-side holiday with a book just isn’t my idea of a great time. (It’s okay in small doses, but I get restless!) I’m a big fan of skiing, sailing, scuba-diving and other sports like tennis and horse-riding, all of which can be done on holiday. My latest sport is running, so if you’re wondering what a ‘marathon tourist’ is or imagine yourself skippering a yacht around the Mediterranean, then these blog posts might be up your street:
- The Tale of Why I Adore Sailing and Sailing around the Turkish Coast and Sailing around the Greek Islands
- The 2019 Inferno Ski Races in Mürren: Tackling the Langlauf, the Giant Slalom & the world’s longest, hardest Downhill Ski Race
- My Skiing Trip to Morzine and Christmas in Tignes
- How I Learnt to Scuba Dive in Malta and Became a PADI Open Water Scuba Diver
- The Marathon Tourist
- One week to Mont Blanc! Training and Preparations for the Summit
- Climbing the Welsh 3000s and My Guide to Summiting the Three Peaks
- Mission Accomplished: How I Survived the Athens Marathon to Fundraise for Plan UK
- Snorkelling in Iceland, Kayaking on Lake Como and Skydiving in Slovenia
- How I trained for my first Olympic Triathlon in Jersey, the Channel Islands
If you’re keen on art, literature and culture, you might be wondering… What does she know about other cultures, foreign literature and art?
A languages degree doesn’t solely focus on grammar and linguistics – a large part of it is dedicated to understanding the history, culture, arts and politics of the countries too. As such, I love learning about the history, culture and cuisine of a place through walking tours, so I’ve got several to recommend! In many of the countries I’ve also visited I’ve picked up paintings (not the typical tourist scenes, mind you) and have blogged about this gallery of paintings hanging on my walls. If you’re into culture then take a look at these:
- Artworks I’ve collected from around the world: Bali, South Africa, Mexico, Laos, Uganda, Tuscany (Italy), Cambodia, Milan (Italy), Cuba and Kenya
- What’s on My Bookshelf (for foreign books and films I’d recommend)
- Books to read for escapism and armchair travel
- Delicious Dishes from Around the World and 8 Places to Go Wine-Tasting around the World
- Walking tours I’ve loved and written about: Prague, East London Street Art, Alexandra Township in Johannesburg, Quirky History of London, Madrid Food Tour, Madrid in the Spanish Civil War and East London Food Tour
Hopefully that’s enough to get you started and help you get the most out of this travel blog, The Well-Travelled Postcard! If you’re new to the blog and want to find out more and keep in touch, you can subscribe to my blog by typing your email address into the box to the right, and also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and YouTube.
If you’ve any other questions then do please comment below as I’d love to hear what you’re interested in reading about!
If you’re a seasoned reader of the The Well-Travelled Postcard, then which are your favourite blog posts? What sort of post do you enjoy most?