It’s not always easy to be patient when it comes to taking dream holidays, but Ophélie has mastered the art of holding out and making time for travel that excites her. We first met her through Instagram, and her hard working attitude and generosity of spirit is what drew us to her. Whether it’s sharing location tips or places to go and eat, she’s always happy to answer any questions about the beautiful destinations that she’s visited.
Although she’s been based in Amsterdam for the last two years, Ophélie has recently moved back to Paris to start a new adventure. We’re so excited to see what’s coming next for her, and so happy to have the opportunity to sit down and ask her some questions about travel.
Whether you’re looking for some destination inspiration, some wonderful women to follow in the travel community, or simply ways to make your budget stretch whilst you’re visiting the country of your dreams, Ophélie has some wonderful advice and recommendations. Today we’re sharing with you some of the ways that our community has found to create a life that allows for travel to be a priority.
The importance of travel
Ophélie, tell us about how you ended up as a travel instagrammer
I actually started my Instagram when I moved to Amsterdam to share my best addresses for food in the city! I am a total foodista and really enjoy finding the best cafes and restaurants in town to recommend to my friends. After a while I realised that I wanted to share more than just food: I love to travel and I always liked to take pictures during my trips, so that’s when I moved over to a travel theme.
Initially I used my phone to take photos, but now I use a good quality camera (Canon 6D) with 2 lenses (50mm and 24mm) which I try to always have with me. It’s become so important to me to create beautiful images from my travels, and that’s something I wouldn’t even have believed myself a few months ago!
I wish I had more time to start an actual blog to allow me to have somewhere to write articles about my trips and the best food places I recommend all over the world!
What have you found the most challenging part of being a travel instagrammer?
First of all, I constantly feel like I don’t have the time to write a travel blog. I currently only share my trips and recommendations via Instagram, but I would love to have a more formal platform for people to visit to see more of my work.
Secondly, I used to wish that I had more time to travel! When I had a full time job, I could only really travel for 5 weeks a year or on weekends. One of the things I really wanted to do was make more time for what I love, and I actually just quit my corporate job to be more free in the future. I’m now working as an entrepreneur, so hopefully it will help me with that going forward!
How do you think travel has changed you?
I am naturally open-minded but travelling has definitely made that quality something that I see as even more important. Travel is always really enriching as well: I’ve learned a lot by having my point of view challenged by those of other people from different cultures or backgrounds. I love to have conversations with local people when I travel, and I also learn so much when I stay in my country and have similar discussions with foreigners.
One of the main things that travel has taught me is to be less stressed and to accept when things are not happening the way that I wanted or planned&url=https://womencreating.org/escape/making-time-for-travel/" data-link="https://twitter.com/share?text=%27One+of+the+main+things+that+travel+has+taught+me+is+to+be+less+stressed+and+to+accept+when+things+are+not+happening+the+way+that+I+wanted+or+planned.%27&via="> &url=https://womencreating.org/escape/making-time-for-travel/" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener" target="_blank">One of the main things that travel has taught me is to be less stressed and to accept when things are not happening the way that I wanted or planned.Click To Tweet. I’ve definitely found that to be the hardest lesson to learn though! I’m someone who loves to plan and anticipate everything, so travel has made me humble in that way.
Tell us about the causes you’re passionate about and why.
I am currently working with a friend Mirjam on a very exiting project named “Destination: Paris!”. Almost two years ago she came up with the idea to write a story about three young women and their adventures in Paris. I shared my best addresses in Paris with Mirjam, and she included those in the book that she is writing, which focuses on the food, culture, shopping and more.
The book is now waiting for a publisher, but there is already a blog that you can visit: https://destinationparis.net/en/
We have a lot of ideas around this project (a book, a blog, a movie and much more) and we meet regularly to talk about it. It has been a wonderful experience and a great adventure for me!
I love to support the women around me in their entrepreneurial endeavours, as I think it’s so important for them to have a voice. Many of my friends are launching new projects at the moment and I enjoy helping them with my photography, either by taking pictures of them or for their project.
Where to travel, plans and favourite destinations
How do you choose where to go?
For solo travel I definitely prefer to choose a destination where I can meet up with a friend when I get there. The reason for my visit to Bali was because I was lucky enough to attend the Balinese wedding of a friend. Once I’m there I really love to use my network on Instagram to find other people who are keen to meet up and explore with me. I’ve seen some wonderful places this way.
Working full time it can be challenging to organise trips where my friends or boyfriend are able to come with me. If we can make it work then we’ll usually look at lots of different destinations to see what fits into our budget and dates. As I want to go everywhere, it’s quite easy to find a compromise with the people that I’m travelling with so we all get to go somewhere we want to see!
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
I like to visit places that are really different from my day to day life so that I can really escape! I think that’s why I like faraway places with different landscapes, different cultures and different food.
There are some places I have already visited that I really enjoyed and would love to go back to:
1) New York City. I think that the city is really iconic, and I am always so excited when I am there. There is just a really special energy on the streets that I really like!
2) Bali. The island is really magical and honestly blessed by the gods. The landscapes are really varied with everything from beaches, to rice terraces, and waterfalls. The Balinese culture is really beautiful to observe and I enjoyed the food!
3) Japan: I only had the chance to see Tokyo when I visited, but discovering Japan has been one of my dreams since I was a little girl watching manga on TV!
What are your top 3 destinations for the next 12 months?
1) I am going to Cost Rica at the end of this year and I’m really excited for that!
2) I am planning on going back to Japan to see more of the country and to experience cherry blossom season in 2019. I definitely think that it’s somewhere that needs more than one trip.
3) I have discovered many interesting people through Instagram that are living in Australia: I would love to meet them in real life and travel through this amazing country!
Top Travel Tips for Packing & Budgeting
I never leave home without my….
Phone… OMG we cannot do anything without it those days! I am glad that mine has a good camera.
My other essential is lipbalm – I cannot live without hydrating my lips every 2 hours!
Essential travel gear
1) My Canon 6D DSLR camera and my 2 lenses (24mm and 50mm) – you just reminded me I need to buy a tripod!
2) Sun cream: I have a fair skin and I cannot stay out in the sun without good protection.
3) Mosquito repellent: those guys absolutely love me (too much…)
What are your top tips for staying on a budget?
For me it starts with the price of the flight ticket: I will choose a destination that’s a good price for the dates when I can travel.
Once I am there, I often visit free places: if I do a city trip for example, I would rather wander through the streets than pay to visit a landmark.
I will try to find a beautiful Airbnb that is in my budget if I am not travelling alone, or I will stay in a hostel if I am on a solo trip, since it’s also a perfect way to meet people.
I am always ready to pay a bit more for the food so that I can get something I’m sure to enjoy. It also means that I can try all the specialties of the place – I am a real foodie! I normally do a lot of research before the trip to locate the restaurants and cafes I want to visit. Sometimes, you can find the best food in the streets for a really good price.
On Being a Female Traveler
What advice would you give to other women starting out?
The most difficult thing is to start, so stop asking yourself too many questions and just do it!
The internet is really a gold mine in terms of content, so if you do not know how to do something check online and you will find the answers! For example, I learned how to edit my pictures with Lightroom by following tutorials online. If I create a blog in the future then I will do the same.
Check online information about your destination (when is the best time of year to go there, what is the normal price for a taxi between the airport and the place where you will stay, what are the best places to eat…). Try to plan as much as you can before you arrive and it will seem much less intimidating.
Top safety tips for solo female travellers?
As above; do your research. Go to places that have been recommended on trip advisor or other review websites.
Read a lot of information online, or ask your friends about the destination to find out what are the safe places and which are more dangerous ones.
Lastly, there’s the obvious tips; don’t carry to much money, don’t show off your expensive valuables and listen to your instincts. If your gut tells you a place is creepy then you should avoid it.
Who are your favourite bloggers in the travel community and why?
I am following so many travel bloggers on Instagram that it’s really difficult to choose only a few, but I’ll try! These are 3 of my favourites:
1) Phoebe @kaptainkenny: she can transform a simple city in Europe into a must see destination because she’s really passionate and gives honest and authentic feedback. I had the chance to meet her recently, and she is really a nice and inspiring woman! Via her #teamkaptainkenny hashtag, she has managed to create a real travel community: I can share my pictures and talk with linked minded people, all kind and willing to engage.
You can read our interview with Phoebe here.
2) Jiyai @thediaryofanomad: she’s really good at capturing her environment in all its dimensions. She is famous for her wide lens shots highlighting the magic of a place. She just came back from Uzbekistan and is sharing magnificent pictures of that place. Her work is really a great source of inspiration!
3) Talia @travelwithtalia: we have a lot in common as she is passionate about food and travel like me. We became friends via Instagram and we talk with each other a lot, supporting each other when we are struggling in the Instagram world and giving each other advice and help on our photography. She has traveled in many beautiful places and all her pictures are really amazing.
Finally, tell us your most memorable travel moment?
I visited India in 2010. It was my first trip to another continent and it gave me the travel bug. I was so amazed by this different culture, landscape and architecture that looked like nothing I’d ever seen before.
I remember seeing the women walking in sarees in the street, and being blown away by all those beautiful colours. Every day I was discovering a new city of Rajasthan, and every day was more incredible than the last.
There were things that I struggled with that I wasn’t used to seeing on such a scale; the poverty, dirty streets and noise. The people and the experiences more than made up for the challenge, although I still struggle with spicy food! I travel to find something different to my day-to-day life, and being confronted with something completely new left a mark and a thirst for travel that I don’t think will ever fade!