So we’ve taken a few weeks off with our Globetrotter series (sorry about that!) but we are back tonight and we have a gem of a blogger to share with you. This week it’s the lovely Josy from a Walk and a Lark.
I’ve long been a follower of Josy’s and always read her blogs wondering how her feet keep up with her with all her walking and hiking. I think mine would tell me to sit down and have a cuppa. We share that we are both expats with Josy previously liking Japan and now living in Canada and it’s great to read and relate to someone to who understands the trials and tribulations of living abroad. We also share a huge love of jumping photos and I am so glad she has sent one over to be included in this post.
This year she moved to Canada and as this has been long on bucket list I’ve been pouring through her posts to fuel even more wanderlust to get myself over there. This section on her blog has all the posts you need to know where to go, what to do and where to hike.
I really do love reading other travelers answers in this series and I think Josy’s answer to ‘Why do you think traveling is important’ is one of my all-time favourites. As traveling isn’t always important and that you can have a rewarding life even if you don’t travel. We often need to remember it’s a privilege to be able to do it and that not everyone has the means, funds or interest in traveling and that’s ok. We are all different and what’s important for one person is always going to be different to another and there are other ways to be enriched by the world. Such a refreshing reminder.
And on that note let me hand you over to Josy
Hello! I’m Josy.
I am not sure why I have always had wanderlust, but as soon as I first got a job back when I was 15, I started to save money for air tickets! I have lived in the UK, Japan and now Canada, so most of my trips have been close to those countries. My other love is walking and the outdoors so almost all of my travels include some long walks and thousands of photo opportunities.
What do you enjoy most about traveling?
This is a toss-up between food and pretty scenery! I LOVE to see the varied countryside around the world. When I lived in Japan, I picked up the habit of traveling with plans to eat a specific dish from whatever area I was traveling to. For example, Japanese people would all want to try kakinohazushi (really yummy sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves) when they visit Nara or eat Fugu (puffer fish) when they visit Ise. I love the culture of traveling to eat!
Why do you think traveling is important?
Hmmm…I don’t think it is important per se, but I do feel like I have been incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to travel a bit. I mean, life can still be rewarding if you cannot travel, it is just the icing on the top to enrich a person’s life. I really think seeing the world and meeting people from different cultures opens my mind.
I am already a pretty cheerful person, but I also find planning my next trip helps make me really happy! It’s something to look forward to, and then something to experience and remember forever!
Where are you off to next? Or where have you just come back from?
At the moment all of my travel plans revolve around friend’s weddings. We just got back from a trip to Ireland (both North and South as the wedding crossed the border!) and my next big trip is for another good friend’s wedding in New Zealand. I am sooo excited to explore the land of the Lord of the Rings!
Having said that, as my husband and I are living abroad at the moment, every weekend feels like an exotic trip! I am having so much fun exploring the mountains near my new home!
What is your favourite photograph from your travels?
This is basically impossible for me to choose! I really like jumping photos and amazing mountains, so I guess I should pick this photo from Italy. A few minutes before the photo the whole world was white and the mountains were shrouded in mist. It is hard to describe how ridiculously happy I was when the clouds parted and this vista appeared. The sound effect that goes with this image is “squeee”
Who do you usually travel with?
Nowadays I travel with my husband, Marc. He loves to explore the world, but he is rubbish at making plans… so I normally make all the decisions, and just bring him along for the fun! He’s the one who takes my jumping photos.
If you were to give one piece of travel advice what would it be?
Taste as many local dishes as you can. It may not look like something you expect to be delicious, but you’ll never know unless you try it!
Also, if you live somewhere for a while, go back and re-try things after you have started to get used to the flavours. I wasn’t keen on maccha and azuki beans when I first arrived in Japan, but now I LOVE them both.
I also think you should attempt to learn some of the local lingo. Even if you are still pretty rubbish, people really appreciate the effort and the world is less bewildering if you can understand more about what is happening around you.
Tell us the most memorable moment you’ve had whilst traveling?
I have so many! This will probably change each time I think of an anecdote!
A few years ago my husband and I were hiking in the Atlas mountains in Morocco. There was a moment when we came over the top of a ridge to look down on the valley below and it was just magical. The colours of the mountains changed from browns to reds and yellows, in large colourful stripes. People had built their houses from the rocks in their area, so the colours of the houses changed in sync with the surrounding mountainside. I had never seen scenery like that before, and it blew me away.
The people that lived in those colourful houses were soo friendly! We walked through a village just as a group of ladies were getting ready for a wedding ceremony. They giggled when they saw me, and brought me inside to join in the celebrations by covering me in henna! My husband and our guide were not allowed in (girls only!) but they could hear our giggles before I returned with some very orange arms!
Another brilliant memory is from Mongolia. We went to stay with a family in their traditional Ger camp. They are nomadic people, following their herds as they cross the steppes. The problem is, they were a little too nomadic for our guide! We had to drive around for a few hours looking for them as they were not in the place we expected!!
Once we’d settled in, the local children came over to play with us, and my brother, George, spun one of them around. The child loved it so much that he then had to spin every single child in the camp! It was hilarious watching them collapse into dizziness and giggles. Their parents welcomed us with their “beer” and “vodka” made from fermented horses milk. It was pretty gross, but still fun to try.
Where is your favourite place that you’ve been to?
This has to be Japan! I love the gorgeous mountains, the ancient culture with all the temples and shrines, the fooooood, the festivals and the people. I studied Japanese at university, so have lived there both as a student as well as working for a Prefectural government. I have so, so many amazing memories from my years there. I could easily write this entire post just about my experiences in Japan. I also have many good friends there that I hope I’ll stay in touch with for the rest of my life.
Where was one place that didn’t live up to the hype?
Marrakesh. I thought the city was beautiful and loved the food, but I hated the way people treated tourists there. It just seemed like everyone was pushy or attempting to rip us off. I had a horrible experience with touts and it made me want to hide in our Riad and keep away from the streets. In the end, the stresses didn’t stop me exploring, but I never felt safe while we were there.
Tell us one place/experience on your bucket list?
I would love to go walking in the mountains of South Korea and eat some of their gorgeous food. I studied Korean several years ago, and although I have forgotten most of it, I can still read Hangul. I’d LOVE to explore and see if I can actually understand anything there!!
What is the one thing you wouldn’t travel without?
Walking boots (or at least comfy shoes that I can explore in!) My favourite part of visiting a new area is finding a map and planning a walk!
What can readers find on your blog?
I started my blog to document some of our pretty walks around the UK or on our travels. Since then I moved to Canada, so I’ve been documenting the amaaaazing scenery around Vancouver in British Columbia. I take far too many photos and find it difficult to cut down, so my blog is full of the vistas that have taken my breath away.
Where does your blog name come from?
My long-distance walking started with the Capital Ring through London. This is a 126km trail which goes through parks and pretty areas of London. I started planning the blog as we walked through the parks on this route. Originally I thought about calling the blog “a walk in the park”, but then when my husband suggested “a walk and a lark,” I liked the sound of that better.
Do you have a favourite blog post? What is it and why?
This changes all the time! At the moment I love my post about the Honen matsuri (penis festival) just because it’s fun to share a funny side of Japan that less people know about! I also adored writing about our fantastique walking holiday in Italy. I tried to fit it all into one post, but had so many photos to share that it expanded into a whole mini-series of posts!
To find more from Josy check her out here