Twelve Travel Questions with Lucy Taylor

Florence, Italy

Name: Lucy Taylor
Home Base: Formerly Dubai, currently of no fixed address!
Last Trip: Mexico, Belize
Next Trip: Hong Kong, Indonesia
Twitter: @LucyT_Travels

1. What are three things you take on every trip? 

This is a tough one because I always overpack, so there’s a pretty big list of things I take on every trip. But if I have to whittle it down to three, I’d say my Kindle—a genius invention, I love the fact you can essentially carry a whole library with you wherever you go, and it’s perfect for long bus journeys; a sarong, because it can be used as a towel, a picnic rug or a funky beach dress—brilliantly versatile; and finally, Immodium: it’s not glamorous, but it could end up saving your trip!

2. What is your best remedy for jet lag? 

Firstly, strong coffee! And secondly, trying to get in line with your new time zone as soon as possible. If that means getting off a 15-hour flight and spending a whole day exploring before you crash out, refer to point one.

3. What is the first thing you do when you get to a new place? 

Have a wander around the local neighbourhood I’m staying in and get my bearings—keeping an eye out for the sorts of places I’d like to head back to at some point: cool cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries, markets and so on.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

4. What place has the best food? The worst food?

I am SUCH a greedy person, food is always a focal point on my trips! It’s tough, but if I had to pin it down, I’d say the best place for food is Italy. I love it as a destination, and a huge part of that is the food. In fact, I can’t remember ever having a bad meal there—the pasta, the cheese, the seafood, the ice cream, it’s all just incredibly fresh and amazing. In terms of bad food, I don’t think I could give any one place that label; everywhere has its good and bad points. But probably my least favourite things to eat are the more unusual types of seafood, such as sea cucumber and sea urchin. I really don’t enjoy them!

5. What is one place that changed your outlook on life? 

Nepal. I trekked up to Annapurna base camp with a group of friends a few years ago, and it was an incredible experience—very tough but so beautiful, and we met some lovely people along the way. There are little villages along the route that are incredibly remote, and very poor—but the residents are smiley and friendly and really kind to visitors. It makes you think that some of the world’s more fortunate people could do with taking a lesson from them! This trip was also outlook-changing because it made me realise I am not at all good at hiking up mountains. I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to heavy exercise…

6. What is your favorite travel quote? 

Mark Twain’s “There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” I’ve spent the past eight months travelling with my boyfriend of seven years. It was our first extended trip together and it’s been an eye-opening experience! But if you can still put up with someone after travelling together that long, I reckon it’s a good sign.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

7. Is there any music that inspires you to travel?

I love Manu Chao—his music always perks me up, it brings to mind sunshine and South America and makes me want to dance. Also Gotan Project because they’re really atmospheric, great to listen to before a night out. When you’re on a bus or a train, watching the world go by, I love to listen to really uplifting, anthemic tunes—something like Pearl Jam, or Florence + The Machine.

8. What is your craziest true travel story? 

In my gap year, before university, I spent a few months doing volunteer work in Namibia—one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited. One of the projects I worked on was building a school in the north of the country, near the Angolan border. We had a set date for the official opening of the new building, and it was going to be a pretty big deal—the local TV news crew were coming to film it and a local dignitary would be declaring the school open. But on the last night before this launch, we still had a ton of work to do to get the building finished, so when the light faded we had to park our supplies truck opposite the school with its headlights on, so we could carry on working. However the local Himba tribe—who were the local community we were building the school for—had decided since we were so nearly finished, it was time to celebrate. While we were fitting windows and painting door-frames, they were doing this incredible dance all around us, waving sticks and doing a lot of stamping; it was amazing! The Himba people have fantastic braided hairstyles, and rub themselves with a red-orange paste which colours their skin. So you can imagine, it was a pretty awe-inspiring sight seeing this huge group of red people dancing away in the truck headlights, braids flying. Incredible and surreal!

9. How do you think that travel videos can be useful to travelers, even if they aren’t filmmakers themselves?

Travel videos are a great source of inspiration and information—they can help you decide where to go on your next vacation, and give great advice on what to do when you get there. Plus you often get great insider tips from people who live there, that you wouldn’t know as a first-time visitor.

Perito Moreno Glaciar, Argentina

10. What is the goal/philosophy of your videos? 

I hope that I manage to teach people something new about a destination whilst still being entertaining, and hopefully make them want to get out there and visit the place for themselves.

11. What advice do you have for someone who wants to make travel videos?

I’d go with what I was told before I started—the best way to start is to stop overthinking it and just take the first step! Even if you’re starting from a really basic level, once you begin actually filming videos and putting things together, you’ll get a much better idea about what works and what doesn’t. The other thing I’d suggest is to watch other people’s travel videos, so you can decide what you like and what you don’t, and what sort of guide you want to put together.

12. What is your best travel tip? 

Try everything once! Also, don’t overplan stuff—it’s important to be flexible, particularly when you’re in countries where things like public transport aren’t that reliable! Plus sometimes it’s fun not to know where you’re heading.

Watch travel videos by Lucy Taylor here.

Bekaa Valley, Lebanon