Inspiration, Interviews

The Inspired Traveler # 2 – Laurence Norah

March 4, 2011 • By

Today, we happily continue our series where we sit down to interview fellow Travel Bloggers and (hopefully) get them to give up some of their best travel tips for you, dear reader.  Meet Laurence Norah who very ably runs the travel blog, Finding the Universe.

Laurence Norah
Laurence on the beach at surfer’s paradise

1) What is it about traveling that makes you smile?


The new experiences I get from it. The people I meet on the road. At risk of sounding like a twat: The fact that I wake up and think that my life is awesome, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different. The sense of fulfillment that new adventures give me.  That I don’t regret any of it. I could go on. I am seriously in love with traveling.

2) What is your favorite place in the world?

You know, my bank has this as one of my security questions for online banking. If I told you therefore, this would somewhat detract from my online security.

Seriously though, I have a bit of a problem with the idea of somewhere being a favourite. How can I compare one experience with another, and say one is better? I try to live to the belief that the place I am currently at is my favourite, with the knowledge that everywhere I’ve been thus far has led me to this point, thus making it all worth it.

3) What place would have to pay you to come back and even then you’d have to think about it?

Probably the last place I worked behind a desk, endlessly peering into Powerpoint slides 😉

4) What is the best piece of advice that you’ve been given about traveling?

I like the lyrics from the song “Beached” by Orbital. “just keep your mind open and suck in the experience.” Travel can throw all kinds of things at you, but if you treat it all positively and as part of the experience, then you are likely to get a lot out of it.

Laurence Norah
Laurence at Cape Raoul, Tasmania, Australia
5) How has traveling changed you as a person?

I am a lot less worried about planning. When I backpacked around China for twelve weeks, I had a very carefully laid out itinerary. I knew where I was going, for how long, and what I wanted to see. This was the pinnacle of weeks of research. I’m even pleased to say that for the most part, I stuck to the plan.

I have since learnt however that it is often the things that you least plan for that are the best, a philosophy that extends far beyond traveling. Life is no longer something I plan for, because I just can’t foresee what’s going to come next. Just relax and take it as it comes is what traveling has taught me.

6) Have you ever volunteered during your travels? If so, what did you do?  If not, will you ever?

I spent an afternoon chatting with some Chinese students in Yangshuo to improve their English, in return for a days free kayak hire. I’m not totally sure that counts. I’ve not really looked into volunteering though, so I’m not sure. I’m slightly wary of a lot of the volunteer programs that seem to require you to pay for the experience, but I never say never.

7) What is the best piece of advice that you can give our readers?

If you want to do something, if you have a dream you want to achieve – whatever it is – just do it. Don’t worry about what other people say, what it might cost, how hard you think it is going to be. Focus on how you can achieve it, and do it. Live your life to your terms, and work out how to make yourself happy.

8 ) Since this is a budget travel blog, what is your best budget tip, bar none?

Well, this depends on the type of travel you are doing, but for any kind of road trip, find some people to travel with. When I drove 60,000km around Australia between 2009 and 2010, I saved serious cash by traveling with two friends, as the majority of the costs were split three ways.

Laurence Norah
Laurence contemplating the mysteries of life
9) Where do you plan to travel this year?

I’m spending the rest of the year in New Zealand. Travel being the expensive thing that it is, I’m on the working holiday visa scheme, moving between various jobs as I slowly work my way round this wonderfully scenic country. Plans beyond that will probably include Asia or South America, but that is a way away, so I’ve not put too much thought into them yet.

10) What are the three things that you could never do without during your travels?

Rather predictably I’m afraid: My camera, my laptop and my passport. The first lets me take the pictures, the second lets me tell the stories the pictures tell, and the third takes me to the places to enable the first two. I am thankful to have a passport (British) that lets me roam the globe almost at my whim without too much hassle.

Thank you Laurence for agreeing to participate!  It’s obvious that you believe in the old adage, love what you do and do what you love, which is what life is really all about, right?

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