Hi! I’m Virginia Stuart-Taylor. I’m originally from Hampshire, but I currently live in London and I’ve visited 66 countries, with a goal to explore 100 before age 50. Here’s my story so far…
School & Gap Year: I grew up on the south coast of England in the idyllic counties of Hampshire and West Sussex, and aside from holidays with family and school, I spent a whole 18 years there. Then, before I started university, I took a Gap Year and had an incredible 10 months abroad, backpacking around Cuba, China and South-East Asia and fitting in two ski seasons in Chile and Italy.
University: I returned to the UK to study Modern Languages (Spanish, Italian and Portuguese) at the University of Exeter and I had the fantastic, and hugely recommended, opportunity to do a Third Year Abroad. This took me to Córdoba in Spain for 6 months, and to Modena in Italy for 6 months.
Post-university Graduate Scheme: Having finished university, I then did a two-year graduate scheme at one of the largest tech companies in Europe, which allowed me to travel to the Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, Germany and South Africa for work, and involved a 6-month placement working in the headquarters in Madrid.
Sabbatical: In August 2014 I then returned to London for just over a year, before beginning a 6-month sabbatical from work in November 2015 to travel around Europe and Sri Lanka, study in Germany and Russia, and volunteer in Nepal.
Master’s Degree: In September 2016 I left London again and moved to the Netherlands to begin a double Master’s degree in European Society, Politics and Culture, under the EU’s Erasmus Mundus scheme. I spent my 1st semester in the beautiful Dutch city of Groningen, before moving to Uppsala in Sweden for my 2nd semester. You can read about my academic work and research over at The Well-Travelled Journal, a hub for my academic articles that look behind the scenes of the world we love to travel, and critically analyse the societies, politics and cultures that make up our world.
Graduate Scheme no.2: After a year of my Master’s I returned to London in October 2017 to start a second grad scheme, the Civil Service Fast Stream, working in internationally-focused roles in the UK government. Having finished that, I’ve stayed within the UK government, now working on trade relations and engagement with the EU.
50 Countries and Counting: I set myself the challenge of visiting 50 countries before my 30th birthday, which I happily achieved (aged 27) in August 2016 by moving to the Netherlands! Here’s a full map of all the 66 countries I’ve visited so far. Needless to say, I’ve caught the travel bug.
Good Deeds through Travel: The ability to travel is a beautiful gift, but it has also opened my eyes to the harsh realities of this world, to the many wrongs and injustices suffered by millions, which I can’t simply ignore and walk away. So I became an Ambassador for two great organisations: the global children’s charity Plan UK and the global summit One Young World, I represented my country as the Head of the UK delegation to the G7 Youth Summit 2020, and I’m a trustee for charity Raleigh International.
The Well-Travelled Painting: In 2020 I returned to painting landscapes and seascapes, as a way to capture and display travels, memories and stories visually. I also sell my art and accept commissions.
Next on my wish-list: Lofoten Islands (Norway), Aeolian Islands (Sicily), Brazil, Argentina (particularly Patagonia), Georgia, Mexico
This blog began in 2012 aimed at anyone with a passion for travelling or living abroad! I originally wanted to inspire others to get out and explore the world, by imparting some of the lessons I’d learnt along the way about travelling, studying, working and (most of all) living abroad. I also wanted to write about and share some of the amazing places I’ve encountered along the way. After 8 years of travel writing and over 500 blog posts, in 2020 this blog evolved to cover more of the things I love alongside travel: careers, personal development, painting and wellbeing.
To find out more about my experience as a travel blogger, take a look at these interviews I gave: with LastMinute.com, with Travel Buzz, with A Lady Away, with Jen Lowthrop, with Up and Go Girls, with The Cafe Cat, with the Euroculture Master’s, with the Language Exepress and with The Euroculturer Magazine.
I blog about: A whole host of destinations and itineraries. The essentials for moving abroad. Postcards discovered on my travels. Languages. Art and interior design. Personal development and international careers. Volunteering and wellbeing.
If you’re more of an audio-kind-of-person, I also have a couple of podcasts for you:
- The Well-Travelled Podcast is a 10-episode series tackling the bigger questions in travel.
- A Journey Across Borders is the tale of my 6-month journey across 26 borders in Europe in 2017, to discover how borders evolve, what they mean and how they impact people’s lives.
There are two main items I absolutely have to pick up on my travels, the first item being a work of art (a painting, a drawing, even the odd sculpture), and the second being a postcard. Covering the walls of all the various rooms I’ve lived in, in all of the various countries, a growing number of postcards have followed me around, always reminding me of past adventures. Hence the name of this blog.
I hope you enjoy this blog and feel free to get in touch, either by commenting on posts or by emailing email@example.com. You can also follow my blog via email in the sign-up box below, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin’, like my Facebook Page, and visit my Youtube channel. If you’re interesting in working with me then please see my PR/Contact page for more information and examples of past projects!