Kathy is a 61-year-old who has been blogging at 50 Shades of Age for the past 6 years. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, traveling, cooking, and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer, but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
Kathy was kind enough to answer some of our burning travel questions below!
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Kathy: I’ve been travelling since I was a small child with my parents, mainly on camping holidays. Although I’d spent a lot of time camping with my own kids in Queensland when they were little, I never travelled outside of Australia until they were older. In 2006, I travelled to Canada to visit my sister and that started my intense desire to travel more and see the world. Since then I’ve been travelling with my husband up to four times a year and in 2014 we spent 7 months travelling around Australia in a 4WD and caravan.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Kathy: Caravanning and budget travel.
TA: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Kathy: In 2017, I went on a Mediterranean cruise and then spent three weeks travelling in Italy. This had been a dream of mine for quite some time, and when it finally came to fruition it did not disappoint. Italy has it all — incredible history and architecture, divine food and wine, rugged coastline, azure blue sea, and beautiful countryside.
TA: What’s one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?
Kathy: My DLSR camera.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Kathy: Get off the beaten track and away from touristy areas and immerse yourself into the culture and lifestyle of the country you’re visiting.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Kathy: I’m part of many travel blog groups in Australia, including Australian Travel Bloggers. Some of my favourite bloggers include Budget Travel Talk, Tray Tables Away, Contented Traveller, and Y Travel Blog, to name a few.
TA: What would be your #1 recommendation for a place to travel in 2019?
Kathy: Vietnam in Southeast Asia. I’ve travelled here on three occasions and each time it reveals something new and different. The cities are frantic and overpopulated, but fascinating; its history is heartbreaking; the beaches are pristine and relatively uncrowded; their ancient old towns are charming; the people are friendly and accommodating; the northern mountainous regions are exquisite, and Halong Bay hauntingly beautiful.
TA: What are the top 3 websites you use for research/inspiration when planning a trip?
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Kathy: Don’t over-pack your suitcase, be organised so that you have all your travel documents at hand, and make sure you carry on little things to make your flight more comfortable and enjoyable.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Kathy: I think a lot of people worry too much about their personal security when they travel to foreign countries. You do have to have your wits about you all the time and be sensible with your personal belongings, but I’ve not had one bad experience. Also the language barrier is something that people worry about, but I have found it to be fine.
TA: What’s a travel scam travelers should be wary of? And if you’ve ever had someone try to pull a scam on you while traveling, please share the story!
Kathy: Yes, the luggage carriers in Italy at the train stations are ones to be watched out for. They tell you they are working for the rail company and put your luggage on the train and then demand money.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?
Kathy: Turkey. I loved the freshness of the produce — huge tomatoes, peaches, olives, goat cheese, and freshly baked sourdough bread or pide.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you’ve ever visited?
Kathy: Istanbul in Turkey was incredibly beautiful with its location on the Bosphorus and everything was cheap — admission to museums, ferry rides down the river, food, the markets, and accommodation.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Kathy: Laos, a landlocked country in Southeast Asia. I visited here in 2017 and found it to be an eye opener. The country has a large population of monks and numerous temples. The French history makes it extremely interesting with the influence seen in its architecture and food. The Mekong River flows through the country and there are beautiful mountainous regions with cascading waterfalls and wildlife.