Every month, we bring to you an interview with one of the Travelettes team where you get a bit of a background check on the women behind the tales you read. From intrepid travel journalists to those who love doing handstands around the globe, we have a beautiful variety of ladies who all do things differently, but share the same passion: travel.

This month, we’re talking to Sophie Saint – the contributor who has been with Katja since the very beginning when Travelettes first began establishing itself in a corner of the internet… my how time flies….

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Sophie currently lives in the small, yet buzzing, city of Bristol in the UK. She pays the bills by working in the marketing department of a travel accommodation company, slots in trips whenever her schedule allows it, and started her own personal travel blog (Saints on a Plane) with her sister. It’s been a strange road from her Archaeology degree to where she is today, but travel has always been a major theme in her life and one she refuses to let go.

1.Tell us about your wanderlust – when did it all begin?

From a young age, my mother had alway encouraged my sister and I to explore. She is a fearless, independent woman who doesn’t think twice about taking off on a trip to see the world – she gladly leaves our father at home if he doesn’t want to jump on a plane (he’s not a fan of hot weather) and she has never disparaged me from getting out there too. Having this freedom and having such a supportive mum gave me the confidence to tentatively step out of my comfort zone after I graduated from university. This inkling of wanderlust paired with the usual ‘I just graduated.. now what?!’ made me grab my passport and vamoose out the country as soon as the ink dried on my degree certificate. Best move I ever did. 


2.How did you get involved with Travelettes?

While at university, I was bitterly disappointed with the fashion and style in magazines – they were all exceptionally boring and I felt like there was no grit or ‘realness’. Ok, so I may have been going to new levels of procrastination to avoid essays, but it led me to discovering the world of blogs. I began to avidly follow numerous street style blogs and stumbled upon GlamCanyon.

I instantly loved the photographers eye for ace style and it went straight into my bookmarks. One day, Katja the photographer and owner of the site, did a shout out her new travel blog for women (AKA Travelettes). I shyly sent her a fan-girl email saying how much I was looking forward to following her new blog since I loved GlamCanyon, and that I was heading off on a big trip… after reading a blog post of mine she offered me a spot on the team, which I snapped up immediately!

sophie saint melbourne

3. Did you head off on your first ever trip alone? How did that pan out?

I left England with a heavy as fuck backpack on my back and set out for a provisional 7 months. I had a rough itinerary and a few friends I was meeting on the way, but I was initially heading to Thailand alone. I still remember flying in over the alien landscape of Asia and thinking to myself, ‘what the hell am I doing?’ and having a sweaty freak-out in my hostel room on the first night. I ended up extending that trip by a further 3 months as I wasn’t ready for home.

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The rumours are true: travelling alone can be an awesome experience. You do meet friends while on the road, you take risks and you go on adventures you may have missed if travelling in a group or with a partner. While I do get on in most travel circumstances (i.e. travelling with a partner or in a group), there’s something so rewarding and so freeing to be at it alone. Of course there are the worries and occasional anxiety, but it will all be OK in the end. And if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.

4. You ended up living in Melbourne for a few years after that trip – what made you make that move alone?

Ahem, so yes, I met an Aussie while travelling in Thailand and we hung out quite a few times throughout my trip in various countries around Australasia. I had always thought about potentially doing my working holiday visas in Australia, but I hadn’t invested any serious thought into making it happen. To cut a long story short, I lasted about three-months at home post-trip before I had packed my stuff again for this cool city called Melbourne to join this Aussie fella. People do crazy things for love.

I ended up falling for the city as well and had a blast there for nearly three years. It is a brilliant city that will always have a special place in my heart – I did a lot of growing there and it’s a place that really feels like home.


5. So do you have any advice for travelling and romance?

Hey girl, go out there and have fun! You never know who you’ll meet and if you take a shine to someone, take a chance as who knows what path it will set you on. Falling for someone on the road led me to living in Melbourne, and although the relationship didn’t last long into my first year Down Under, I met the most amazing people and had the best few years.

However, as a side-note: travel is guilty for popping on those rose-tinted specs to make many situations (or people) exceedingly romantic. Don’t get tricked by hazy liaisons and try to keep a level-head. Trust your gut… but if your gut says yes, then go for it!


6. What have been your most memorable moments?

Writing for Travelettes has opened up to opportunities that have been beyond awesome. From wandering through an Estonian bog to floundering in the waves at a surf camp in Fuertuventura. One of my favourite trips for Travelettes was the sailing trip in Croatia – it was crazy, it was ridiculous, and it was HOT! Not to mention, it was the first time a large chunk of the Travelettes team had met and we all got on like a freakin’ house on fire.


Other moments that I treasure include seeing Tasmania with a local and getting to camp on a completely deserted beach. We were under a night sky of infinite stars on the wild west coast and with only a bottle of red wine and chocolate for dinner, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

And lastly, a trip alone out to Thailand a few years after my first visit saw me and an American push a dingy out to sea at 2am. We sped out towards the fishing boats on the horizon, shooting stars overhead, and jumped into the warm sea to see the glowing algae light up all around us.

7. How do you juggle travel around a full-time job? How do you manage to cram in writing around your job as well?

It’s a tough one! Fitting in travel around a hectic job leads to serious practise of the art of prioritisation. I haven’t quite got it nailed, but I try to take advantage of my weekends and sporadically drip-feed my holidays throughout the year, staggering the free days and not blowing it all on a two-week trip to one destination. When things get tough, the temptation to flee does raise its ugly head, but things in Bristol are going fine. For now.

jurni saints on a plane sophie saint

Blogging around a job is also pretty tough. Sometimes I come home from work and really can’t face the laptop or the thought of typing more content, but motivation comes in peaks and troughs. When flying high with inspiration, I try and whip out as much as I can – I’m pretty sure my boyfriend is sick to death of hearing me say, “Sorry, I can’t make *insert event*. I’ve got to do some blogging.”

8. How did you end up getting a job in the travel industry?

Since leaving university, I’ve always kept up blogging. Even when I’ve taken the odd hiatus due to lack of equipment or lack of WiFi, I’ve managed to cling on to Travelettes. I got the odd paid gig on backpacking magazines and tried to exercise my blog brain over the years when working in bars and cafes… and for some reason I thought it would be a smart idea to also begin Saints on a Plane with my sister. 

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Having an extensive history of blogging and the knowledge of how it all works enabled me to shape my resume towards a marketing job. I never pushed on with my Archaeology qualification (by the way, it’s nothing like Indiana Jones) as travel blogging had scooped me up into its little world. And now I’ve really lucked out by nabbing a role in a travel company!

My advice to those wondering about career prospects in the travel industry is to start a blog. Do it! There’s stiff competition out in the blogosphere now, but if you’re passionate and feel inspired to publish your trips and tales, it will shine through your writing. Employers will look at your blog positively as it shows that you’re motivated in your spare time, you’re creative, you can market yourself and you have an understanding of branding. There’s so much to blogging that meets the eye.

9. What destinations are on your bucket list for next year?

I haven’t thought too much about next year apart from a trip to New York with my sister and my mum. It will be the first trip I’ve taken with my mother in YEARS and it will be a real experience – Saints take NYC! Hide your husbands, hide your sons.

Destinations, such as Sri Lanka, Mexico and India are climbing higher on my bucket list. I’m feeling an urge for an epic backpacking trip to celebrate my 30th in a few years… who’s keen?

sophie saint travelette of the month

10. And what is your actual next trip?

2016 is running away fast – like all the years do – but I’ve still got a few trips to cram in. Sicily is calling and I’m expecting to roll from eatery to eatery sampling all the food, gelato and Negroni’s I can get my hands on. Perhaps I’ll walk it off with a hike up Mount Etna, or maybe overindulgence will knock me into a deep slumber on the beach… and lastly, October will see me exploring Catalunya, but more on that in another post!

11. And lastly, what’s your advice to those who are about to head off on their first big trip?

You’re going to have a blast! Shelve the worries as best as you can, don’t overpack (you will though), grab your toothbrush and be prepared for the time of your life.

Catch up with Sophie’s latest adventures on her Instagram and on Facebook. For more from Sophie, visit her personal travel blog, Saints on a Plane, and send any questions about travel blogging and starting a career in marketing her way at sophie@travelettes.net.