Female Travel Blogger Candice Walsh Shares Benefits of Traveling and Why She Travels Alone

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

I’m Candice Walsh and I’m a travel writer/blogger and as well as a communications professional in the arts industry. I live in Newfoundland, an enormous but isolated island on Canada’s North Atlantic. I’ve spent about the past seven years travelling pretty regularly, including a year living in Berlin, but I’ve recently taken some time out to settle back into my long-term city of St. John’s, where I’ve begun working for an international film festival.

I’m obsessed with Cool Ranch Doritos and Haribo gummy bears. Blue is my favourite colour. My entire bedroom is covered in books and my favourite thing to do when travelling is to drink a cold beer on an outdoor terrace so I can people watch and take in my surroundings.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

How and why did you get into traveling?

I’ve always wanted to travel but growing up on an isolated island, I never had much of an opportunity. My family didn’t take vacations, and flights abroad were way too expensive. When I started university, I signed up for a study abroad program in Harlow, England. I was 21 and my first trip ever off the island was to England. Not gonna lie, I was terrified. But I had the support of my school and other students, so it was actually a smooth transition for me. The program was perfect because we had daily field trips around England, so I got to see a lot of the countryside I probably wouldn’t see otherwise. After I finished my degree in English, I started studying professional writing, and then travel writing. I actually broke into travel writing by writing about Newfoundland, and the rest is history.

My travels are mostly planned on a whim. I’ll get intrigued about a place, and start finding a way to make it happen. Or I seek out flight sales, since it’s expensive to get off the island (I have alerts set up on my phone via Hopper). I tend to gravitate toward historical destinations, or epic landscapes so I can go hiking or other outdoor adventuring. Often, I turn to the travel community to help me plan – I find the support from these groups really helpful.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

How do you finance your travels?

Although I’m working in a full-time role at a local film festival at the moment, in the past I funded all my travels by working remotely. It worked well for me, because I like travelling slowly anyway. So as long as I have a good Internet connection, I’m good to go. I keep things budget friendly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I stay in hostels. I often opt for Airbnb, or short-term rentals. Funny enough, it often costs me more to live at home here in Canada than to travel abroad. Things like rent and groceries are much cheaper abroad.

Why is traveling important for you?

I feel like most of my informal education has come from travelling, and it’s made me a more tolerant, open-minded person. Plus I can think critically about my home country now. Canada is great, but living in Germany made me understand that Canada certainly isn’t perfect (neither is Germany, for that matter). Long story short: you’ll learn tons about the world, no matter how old you are.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

How do you bring your things with you?

I NEVER thought I’d be a carry-on traveller, but lately it’s grown on me. If not carry-on, then I travel with a lighter backpack only. After I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain with only a few changes of clothes on my back, I realized that having the right baggage can make or break your trip. Who wants to lug a giant suitcase around the cobbled streets in Europe? So, one bag at most — and only if it’s a colder climate, where warmer clothes tend to take up more space. Osprey has been my favourite brand for backpacks. Their customer service is great, and you can expect them to replace any parts that get broken or destroyed.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

How do you organize things in your bags?

I’m an absolute disaster when I’m packing my bags. Or, I’ll have everything arranged neatly in packing cubes and Ziploc bags, but within the first week or so… yeah, CHAOS. I try to at least keep my gear organized as much as possible since I’m travelling with a laptop and all my work stuff. Packing cubes have really been my godsend. For trips where I know I’m going to be hiking or doing active things, I use a Lowe Alpine Airzone bag that I purchased in Germany for my Camino trek. It has a waterproof cover, and the back allows for airflow. Plus there were so many openings and pockets; I never had to constantly be rooting for my belongings.

How do your bags and gear hold up?

It’s been a LOT of trial and error for me. My first bag was a Mountain Equipment Co-Op 70L bag, which was fine, but WAY TOO BIG. I could hardly lift it; it was ridiculous. I eventually downsized to an Osprey 50L with a detachable daypack, which I LOVED but the daypack became unattached on my flight to Germany, and I never found it again. Plus it wasn’t ideal for hiking.

My Lowe Alpine Airzone 35L pack is my favourite now. I’ve used it on long distance treks, a 3-week trip around Italy, trips home to see my parents, etc.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

I travelled mostly with an oversized suitcase for the first couple of years travelling, which I doubt I’ll ever do again, unless it’s moving for a long time. I notoriously over-packed. Someone once told me, “Lay out everything you’ve packed and then get rid of half of it.” And it’s worked for me every time. You literally do not need seven pairs of pants on a trip; I don’t care how long you’re going for. I haven’t quite figured out how to pack for a varied trip yet. I like to do everything – get dressed up for a night out, hike, go sightseeing on foot, etc. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes.

What has been your best travel-related purchase below $100?

I picked up a MEC headlamp years ago and it has been the best purchase EVER for me, and fairly cheap (about $30, I believe). I used it for my entire Camino trek, and then camping, and then during power outages when it gets stormy in St. John’s. I love it.

I also LOVE my Pac Safe laptop bag because it’s durable, stylish, and theft-proof. I’ve had mine for years now and it’s still in excellent shape.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

What is your best advice for other travelers?

Don’t let anyone tell you HOW to travel. If you want to do a guided trip, by all means, do it. There’s no such thing as a RIGHT way to travel. I loved my group tours – I’ve even had loads of fun on Contiki tours, despite being a bit older than the average tourist.

And if you want to strike out on your own, do that too. Travel alone has been one of the most liberating experiences for me. It’s easier to meet people, I can do things on my own schedule, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest that I’m a woman doing it.

Travel Blogger Candice Walsh

What will the future bring?

I’m completely unsure! I’ve been meaning to spend a few months bouncing around Southeast Asia, but I can’t seem to stop going back to Europe. I need to revisit Berlin and my friends, and then I’d love to go deeper into the Balkans. Basically, I wanna do it all. There’s plenty of time!

Visit Candice Walsh on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

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