Well. This is my first post of 2017, so I knew it had to be special. And what better way than taking a step back and introducing you all to one of my favorite travel friends, who I interviewed for my Exposure Series?
Sometimes I find in order to move forward one has to take a couple steps back.Many people think going back is a bad thing, alas let me tell you its a good thing. It means you have even more time to take bigger steps forward.
And that is what 2017 is all about, not just for me but for many of us. For the entrepreneurs for the travelers, for the creatives. For us all. There is this sense of excitement and urge for life in the air. You could literally see people counting down the hours, minutes, seconds for 2016 to be gone and 2017 to be here.
Again, be not so hasty to throw away what was one of the most challenging years in many peoples human existence. There are lessons in 2016 that will help us and guide is all through 2017 and beyond.
So how about a little less lesson and a little more travel? And who better than too travel with than Simon Turkas?
Simon and I have been following each other and chatting and sharing each others work on Twitter for just under two years if not more now. More recently though I have taken to being stuck watching all his amazing Instagram’s (countless hours of my day lost I tell you). And then of course having to be totally enthralled by the picturesque snapchat’s he posts. Simon is always so casual about it.
Like “Hey Guys look at me over here standing on this beach that is perfect as the perfect sun sets on this perfect day” while of course I sit at my desk thinking? Yeah that’s totally normal. And then I remember that this year that is going to be me. And one of the reasons I love Simon’s blog and work and personality is because he reminds me so much of the person inside of me
So lets meet Simon!
1. What’s Simon Saying, where did you get the name for your blog?
I wanted to create a lifestyle and travel blog with my thoughts, tips and recommendations on great places to visit, photography, social media, healthy eating, exercise, charitable causes and other things I am passionate about.
My first name is Simon so I thought it could be quite fun to integrate the name from the childhood game Simon Says which I adapted to What’s Simon Saying. There is a good alliteration in the name and I feel its quite catchy and easy to remember. I’ve been told by various people that they like the name so it stuck. I’ve also got a YouTube channel with the same name with my travel vlogs and videos.
2. Name 1 place that you have traveled to that you fell head over heels in love with unexpectedly.
Back in 2011 I applied to go and do an internship in Romania for six months to work for a charity in the capital city Bucharest. I’d never been to Romania before but had met a number of Romanians in my home city of Canterbury and they had all seemed very friendly. My mum and uncle had also previously been to help out at the charity and really enjoyed their experience there so I decided to give it a go.
Those six months were some of the best of my life and the experience of living in Bucharest was amazing. It is a real hidden gem with so much to see and do. Despite what some people may think it is really safe and relatively modern. There is poverty, but this is the case anywhere you go including the UK. The Romanian people are very warm, friendly and welcoming and the standard of living there is generally high.
In Bucharest you will find excellent bars, cafes, restaurants and shops. There are also wonderful museums and historic buildings to visit, including the Palace of the Parliament, the second largest administrative building in the world! Travelling across Romania you will discover an incredible array of natural beauty such as mountains, forest and a lovely coastline and some fantastic towns and cities such as Brașov and Sibiu. I was surprised by how much I loved Romania and would recommend to anyone a trip there to see the amazing sights it has to offer!
3. Tell our readers one thing about you, that you don’t think many people know, that you think its pretty awesome.
For over a year now I have been vegan which I think is pretty awesome haha. I decided to become vegan after watching the powerful and shocking documentary Cowspiracy.
The meat and dairy industry is responsible for a much greater impact on the global environment than the use of fossil fuels, but this issue has largely been hidden from the public, up until now. Added that that there is of course the absolutely horrific suffering of animals which are all sentient beings with thoughts and feelings and the terrible health implications of eating animal products.
Since turning vegan I feel a lot healthier and happier and I would really love to help motivate others to make this switch as I feel it is so important for animals, the environment and their health. I am posting on social media, writing blog posts and making videos to help promote this issue. I have already had a number of people both online and in real life say to me that I have helped inspire them to take up veganism which is awesome!
4. Share 2 of your favourite self taken landscape images of a view/place you would want every one of your visitors to visit one day.
This summer I visited Greece for two weeks with my brother and a mutual friend. I had visited Greece previously back in 2009, but that was a very different experience as I stayed on a resort with an ex partner of mine. That was also very nice but that time we stayed in the same place for a week.
This summer trip to Greece was more of an adventure as we rented a car and drove around exploring different beaches. One of these was Potistika beach which has been ranked as one of the top ten beaches in the Pelion region where we were staying. I would recommend everyone checks out this beach (and Greece in general):
Another amazing place to visit is Mount Teide in Tenerife, Canary Islands. I was lucky enough to go treking around the Teide National Park around Teide mountain in April this year as part of a media trip. The views are absolutely spectacular and it was a wonderful experience. Trekking Teide with Travel Tenerife
5. Tell us about an embarrassing experience you had while travelling, that today you look back on and laugh. *share image if possible*
There is one embarrassing experience that always makes me laugh to think about and also gets a good laugh from anyone else I tell it to. Back in summer 2013 I entered a competition on Twitter from Tommy Hilfiger to win an all expenses paid surfing trip to the Maldives. I entered and ended up winning the trip which is amazing I know! Gone Surfing Trip
The funny thing is though I had never actually been surfing which was the case with quite few of the other winners. We had a brief surf lesson in Portugal then headed off for a week of sun, sea and surfing in the Maldives.
To get from the luxury yacht which we were staying on to the area where the waves were we had travel out on a smaller boat. One of the days we traveled out on this smaller boat to go and some waves. There weren’t enough boards for everyone though, so some of us had to stay on the boat and wait.
The boat was sitting there for about 15 minutes just rocking back and forth and I suddenly started to feel very sea sick. Luckily I was just in time to make it to the side of the boat to vomit, so it went in the sea rather than all over the boat. After that someone arrived back with a board and I was able to head off for a surf away from the rocking boat. It wasn’t too embarrassing luckily as almost nobody noticed!
6. Are you in a relationship? If not explain what your views are on love on the road, and how it impacts who you are and how you live life.
I’m currently not in a relationship and I have to say I’m really enjoying the freedom that gives me to go anywhere and do anything I want. Being in a relationship can be great and visiting new places with that person can be lovely as you can share that experience.
On the other hand you have to constantly compromise in terms of what to visit, where to eat, where to stay and what to do which can get frustrating! Also when you are travelling with a partner (or with friends) you tend to just stick with them as it’s easier and more comfortable, whereas if you are travelling solo you are more inclined to break out of your comfort zone and meet different people. This can lead to new friendships and experiences even if it can be a little scary at times!
There are pros and cons (like with most things) to both travelling in a relationship or travelling solo and I have enjoyed doing both. If you have the opportunity I would definitely recommend trying both solo travel and travelling with your partner as both can be really amazing.
7. What do you think people in today’s world should stop worrying about, or care more about?
Wow, there are so many things that people in today’s world should stop worrying about whether it’s fashion, constantly needing to buy the next product or what celebrities are doing. There are so many more important things in life and life really is too short to waste on these pointless worries. People should focus more on having great experiences rather than buying the next product, because experiences rather than things lead to lasting happiness.
One thing I’ve suffered from throughout my life, especially while I was in high school, was worrying about what other people thought about me. I think this can be a problem for most people and it really holds most people back from doing what they really want in life. I read a great quote the other day that really resonated with me
” You will become way less concerned with what people think of you when you realize how seldom they do” David Foster Wallace
While this may seem quite a depressing quote, it is actually really liberating! The people who matter in your life like your close friends, family and partner are the ones who think of you, but nobody else really cares what you are up to.
This means rather than constantly worrying about how we are dressed, how we act, or what we are saying every-time we head out of our house, we can just live life and do more of what makes us happy.
Every single person has got their own thoughts, worries and lives to lead so they have very little concern for yours. If you spill your coffee for example in a café, a few people might laugh but who cares. They will have forgotten after 5 minutes and life will go on.
An issue that I think a lot more people should be concerned about is animal welfare, the environment and their own health. That is why I would definitely recommend switching to a vegan diet as this will help solve all of these issues. I have written a post about this on my blog: Four Reasons You Should Switch
8. What is your next adventure? What do you do too make a living and what suggestions do you have for others who love to travel but also need to make a living while travelling?
I have not completely decided on my next adventure, but even answering these questions has made me want to head off again! One option is head back to the Canary Islands where I was living for the last year and work in Tenerife helping to write content for Tenerife Magazine? This is owned and run by a South African expat called John Beckley who I met a year ago in Lanzarote. I would also really love to visit South America and possibly live and work there.
I would definitely suggest saving up some money before travelling, probably at least £3,000 as this will give you some stability and reassurance if you aren’t able to quickly find work. I’m not going to pretend that finding work while you are travelling is easy, because it isn’t. It’s often just as time consuming and tedious a process as finding work in your own country with applications and interviews. I would recommend trying to gain work that is location independent such as copy writing for blogs/websites or managing social media channels.
This means that you can live and work as a digital nomad in which you don’t need to be fixed to a particular place but can live and work anywhere there is wifi.
A great option of getting set up in a location before you have paid work is doing voluntary work. An excellent website for finding this kind of work is called Workaway. You can find a huge variety of different voluntary positions which in return for work offer food and accommodation. The kind of work you can find includes teaching, helping to run hostels, au pair work, farming and lots of different options. T
This will help you get settled into a country before searching for paid work.
9. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I would definitely say that my favorite is Twitter as I have made so many great connections there (including yourself), won competitions such as the all expenses paid trip to the Maldives and been able to get lots of different work from this. After meeting John Beckley on Twitter in August 2015.
I was able to get a variety of different jobs related to social media such as copy writing, social media management and video production. I worked both with John and also made a number of different work related connections which lead to other opportunities. I also love to use Twitter as a source of news and entertainment as it really is a gateway to the world.
This, in my opinion is very different to Facebook which is generally just what friends or acquaintances are sharing which is often quite boring. Twitter becomes more and more interesting the more effort you put into it as you gain more followers, interactions and engagement on posts. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post for you if we hadn’t connected on Twitter!
10. Where can we find links to your social platforms, and websites?
I’m on almost all social media so make sure to connect with me haha.
Snapchat: Simon Turkas
Twitter: Simon Turkas
Instagram: Simon Turkas
Flickr: Simon Turkas
YouTube: Simon Turkas
Tumblr: Simon Turkas
LinkedIn: Simon Turkas
Blog/Website: What’s Simon Saying?
It’s been great catching up with Simon Turkas. And thank you for joining our interesting travel chat!
Oh and please do come follow me on ALL that social media, Simon just mentioned.
I love seeing what you are all getting up to. Where you live and what you do in your lives. My most active platform is Twitter. And then I am also on Instagram. Facebook (Page). Snapchat. LinkedIn. Webfluential etc. And all those platforms are under @CeecesTravel
You can also find my adventures under #CeeSummerLoves for the whole of the just beginning Summer season in South Africa.
And As Always…