In 2012, Karen Warren left her day job to concentrate on her twin passions of writing and travelling. Her travel blog -- WorldWideWriter -- concentrates on lesser-known sights and destinations, or different ways of looking at well-known places. She loves history, architecture and food, but writes about anything else that catches her interest.
Karen was kind enough to answer a few of our questions below!
Karen: I've been travelling all my adult life. It was general curiosity about the world that got me started...
Karen: Yes -- I focus on independent travel, where people discover things for themselves.
Karen: I've had lots of great trips, but going to the Cinque Terre in Italy by train was amazing (counting the metro trains in London and Paris on the way, and local trains while I was there, I think it was something like 50+ train trips in all). Wonderful, but only if you're a train lover...
Karen: I have a long list, but I'm very keen to get to New Orleans.
Karen: Leave yourself time to wander around the back streets or to drive around country roads -- you're bound to find something interesting.
Karen: I tend to pick and mix with travel blogs. My favourite community is a Twitter Chat group called The Road Less Travelled (#TRLT).
Karen: Central Europe (Poland, Czech Republic etc.) is incredibly good value for money at the moment. And if you keep away from the tourist hotspots you can find some amazing hardly-discovered places.
Karen: Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, individual destination tourist sites...
Karen: If you have a while to wait airport lounges can be good value (look for ones that give free food, drinks and WiFi).
Karen: If you want to travel, stop worrying and just do it.
Karen: Probably language -- even if no one speaks your language, you can get most of what you need by sign language.
Karen: I haven't had too many scams, but it's good to avoid the ones who want to take you to "my father's shop" -- it's invariably the most expensive tourist trap in town.
Karen: I was pleasantly surprised by Finland -- a limited supply of ingredients means they have to work very hard to make it interesting. Look out for fresh fish, berries, and licorice.
Karen: Lots to choose from, but I'll go for Seville in Spain. Like most cities in Mediterranean countries the best way to see it is just by wandering around, but don't miss the Metropol Parasol, the Alcazar or the Contemporary Arts Centre.
Karen: I'm not a great one for cruises, but I've found the best days were when I just wandered around places on my own rather than on a trip.
Karen: The people I met during my first solo trip (to Italy) made me realise that travelling didn't need to be scary.
Karen: I prefer to be in a city, with good public transport, so that I don't have to think about how I'm going to get around, and can concentrate on seeing the place.
Karen: Taking lots of selfies and blocking everyone else's view!
Karen: Ostia Antica: just a train ride from Rome, is as interesting as Pompeii but less well-known.