The Blonde Traveller; views from Chantel Dow

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Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a fabulous week so far. I know this week is going to seem longer for me since it’s consisting of long hours, unfortunately, wah! However, what is getting me through this week is some blogging as I have a few other projects on the go for my blogs. I have been absolutely obsessed lately with collaborations and interviewing individuals on my blog channel. It’s such a neat experience to have the opportunity to get to know others on a more personal level, especially people I have never actually met before which is amazing.  I love the reaction I get when I reach out to people, and they are flattered that they have inspired someone,  it is such a powerful feeling that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I am blessed that a lot of people follow my blog channel and actually take the time to read my blogs, so flattering.  But anywho beauts, speaking of long weeks, wouldn’t it be nice to go on vacation? Wouldn’t it be nice to leave that stress behind, enjoy the warmth of the sun rays, swim in the ocean, collect shells and just relax in paradise? To get away would be so unreal, your worries would literally disappear. Imagine being surrounded by Kangaroos even, or seeing such beautiful landscapes. One girl, in particular, has had the opportunity of a life time and got to make all her dreams come true.  Not very often does someone get to travel to places such as South Africa, and spend 8 months there taking in the beautiful culture. I had the absolute pleasure to collaborate with the beautiful Chantel Dow, in regards to her travels and experiences around the world.

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“…I hope everyone gets hyped by the idea of travel. It’s a big part of my life and if I can spread the joy and information than I’ve done what I can!”- Chantel

There’s not doubt Chantel is a “go-getter” or a “risk-taker”, as one may call it. Reading through her answers I thought, “wow this girl really loves life and literally lives life to it’s fullest”.  I met Chantel through some of my friends and I have to say she is such a down to earth girl. One thing though that surprised me about her, was that I never knew she loved to travel, at least not until I crept her Instagram, sorry Chantel! I was overwhelmed with so many beautiful sceneries and pictures that took my breath away! As Chantel states, “ I don’t know how people can just live and stay in one place. I honestly didn’t think that was normal. I thought, well if it’s a free world than I should be able to go anywhere and everywhere”. I never actually thought of this before, but when you sit back and take in her statement you literally think, “wow is she ever right”. The world is such a big place, and there are so many places that you can explore.

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I had so many questions to ask Chantel about travelling because honest to god, I hardly ever travel but I am so jealous of people that get to embrace other parts of the beautiful world. Chantel has always loved travelling, as she was always fascinated in Geography class when it came down to discussing different parts of the world. I wanted to know the basics first before jumping into the more “in depth” questions. Chantel explains, “my first travel was to the Dominican Republic and I was 18. After that, I went away every year. DR again, then Mexico and Cuba. I starting thinking the week vacations weren’t enough. There were so many places I wanted to go. I decided to explore my own country first. I drove cross country to beautiful British Columbia. I drove through the US as it was a lot faster drive. I spent 2 months there. I saw the beauty of the mountains and I knew I had to see more”. I got so excited reading her response to this because it really was so interesting to me, and knowing this was the second question which was awesome, tons more to go!

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I know that a lot of people have bucket lists, and some people have certain destinations on their list where they would like to visit next. I had asked Chantel what was the next place she had at the very top of her bucket list. Chantel states, “the destination I cannot wait to explore next is Australia. Mostly for the climate, landscapes, and Kangaroos 😝 When I have a travel buddy I ultimately want to travel to India. I want to learn about their culture!”. I hear you about Australia, I have always always wanted to go there and see new things, especially those kangaroos!  It’s always a blessing learning different cultures, especially since Canada is so multicultural, this would benefit you greatly Chantel! Chantel goes on to explain that she has been to the most common vacation spots such as Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico. She suggests that, “if you have time to stop in Montana I would recommend it. Beautiful place. Most recently I spent 8 months in South Africa”. 


One question that popped right into my mind that I knew I had to ask Chantel was if she had ever went back packing before. I head this was a thing, but always wondered if she had tried it! Chantel states, “I technically wouldn’t call what I did backpacking. We did have a car, but driving up the coast we travelled for two weeks. Staying in hostels or a tent. We were so inland that we were 2 hours off roads. Driving on dirt paths you are surrounded by roaming cows, horses, goats etc. It wasn’t possible to travel hostel to hostel by foot. (I mean unless you wanted to walk for hours haha)”.  That’s crazy! Two hours off roads, I would for sure not survive this travel shenanigans! I would need my boat load of makeup, my straightener, my comfy bed and my beauty sleep! Thank goodness Chantel can explore this world for me! haha! I think I am too much of a drama and diva queen to travel a lot, although I wish I was not like that!

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What is one thing you cannot travel without? I cannot travel without my St. Christopher necklace. Its believed to bring safety and good wishes to travellers, so that is important to me. It makes me believe I’m not alone when travelling. I also never leave without a letter from my best friend. She writes the most beautiful letters and I’ve never travelled with out one from her”.   I absolutely love this, I think that is so beautiful! You know you have a true best friend when they write you amazing heart felt letters, those are the ones you keep forever.

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I know this was a more personal and intimate question that I was not sure if I should ask or not.Chantel stated, “when I travel for vacation I’ve gone for one week at a time. When I went to South Africa I went for 3 months then I went back for another 5 months. The more time you have, the more you can explore. I definitely will be back, because even in 8 months’ total, there is so much more still to see and do”. If I am thinking it I am sure you beauts are thinking of it too that’s for sure! How can Chantel afford the expenses for her trips? She explains, “to afford travelling I work non-stop. I always had a full-time job as a Pharmacy Assistant, which pays decent money. I also had a serving job on the side before I went to South Africa. That was for my first 3 months in SA. When I came home at Christmas I worked steady for 3 months AND sold my car, to return for another 5 months. When I went to British Columbia I worked at a local Pharmacy part-time to have a continuous cash flow. In the future when I travel to Australia I’ll be working as a Nanny. This allows you to have a place to stay, travel, explore and make money. I also learned while road tripping up the coast of SA that many people who backpack, do light work for hostels in which they either get free room and board or get a small payment”. Literally, talk about dedication. Chantel is such a hard worker when it comes to saving up for her trips as she discussed up above. I was mind blown when she stated about her car, but that comes to show you how much travel means to this beautiful soul! Everyone has a passion, but it takes a special kind of person to do what Chantel as done.

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I know what you beauts are all thinking, what the heck Chantel! Do you see what I mean by  her being a risk-taker? I would never in a million years have done bungee jumping, but kudos to her for crossing this off her bucket list! Chantel explains, “most definitely the craziest thing I’ve done on vacation was Bungee Jumping. It was in Tsitsikamma, South Africa. It’s the highest Bridge Bungee in the world. A 216 Metre jump. Second would be learning how to surf. That may not sound crazy, but the waves can be your worst nightmare! Once you learn, and you’re on the backline, sitting and waiting for the next wave, you really see how calm and quiet the ocean is, nature’s beauty first hand. Also, I visited some lions at a sanctuary! EEK! :D”. 216 Metre jump…. no thank YOU! I think I would mostly be afraid of my stomach having that falling feeling because that is why I am not a huge fan of rollercoasters! Learning how to surf would be extremely neat that’s for sure! I have always wondered what it would be like to surf! I think what would scare me the most would be what was underneath me. I am so much like my mom it’s not even funny… thanks Joanne!  I have also seen way-way WAY too many movies where my mind would just go for a spin!

Processed with MOLDIVWhat is the best piece of advice you have for someone who just has started out travelling or wants to begin this adventure? The best advice I have is to have ALL THE FACTS! Safety is big when travelling, especially when your travelling alone. Yes, it’s spontaneous to find somewhere random to stay, but I would advise you have a decent plan before you set off on your journeys. I was always well prepared, and I am so thankful for that. Travelling can be exhausting and chaotic especially if you’re not prepared. Knowing you have a place to stay, relieves a lot of the stress you may carry while travelling abroad”.

“I encourage everyone to see the world! Where ever in the world that may be! Work hard and always give back. ONE WORLD – ONE LOVE”- Chantel

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One fear that I would have travelling would be travelling alone or completely by myself, and some people actually have the guts to do that! I wanted to know if Chantel had a travel buddy or if she went solo. Chantel states, “when I have travelled to vacation destinations I have always travelled with friends or family. But when I travelled to South Africa, my big trip I went Solo. When you volunteer, you stay with people from all over the world so once you settle in you don’t feel like your travelling alone. When I travelled up the coast of South Africa I road tripped with a friend!”.  Wow! Props to you Chantel for going solo on your big trip, that is amazing. Only certain kinds of people could do that as it requires a lot of independence and courage! I, unfortunately, would not be one of those people who could go by themselves, I think I would panic or something! That is unreal that Chantel can do that, I am still mind blown.

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If you had to pick a country that has the friendliest people, which one would you pick? “I have yet to really know where the friendliest people are. Being Bias ill say Canada. As I know it the best! Everywhere I have been, people have been so welcoming. The human race is beautiful when you see the good in everyone and everything”.  I absolutely could not agree more. I think that everyone is beautiful in their own unique ways, and everyone has a lot to offer in this world. Unfortunately, some people do not give others the time of day, but the people who do..you are beautiful.

I further got into discussing which places Chantel loved the best and which places… well… not so much. Chantel explains, “my favourite place to travel SO FAR is South Africa. The reason being, I could see the most beautiful places during a road trip up the Wild Coast (South East SA). I met amazing people and could accomplish a goal I’ve always wanted. I volunteered with children in hospitals, preschools, after school programs and at surf out reach program. Going to another country, its not just for you. We are all human, one world. So, if you can make a difference, I believe its our duty to try if we have the means to do so”. Chantel also goes on to explain, “I haven’t been anywhere I didn’t enjoy, and that’s the honest truth. Maybe the time will come, but I usually make the most of my time travelling, it’s easier to enjoy when you see the good in places”.

Processed with MOLDIVAre you going to continue to keep on travelling throughout your life? Or is this only a phase? I do plan on continuous travel for my life. I know I want to settle down at some point and have a family, but a suburban life doesn’t appeal to me. When I have kids, I want to show them the world. I want them to see how other people live in other countries. I think if it’s possible, we should all be cultured and aware of what’s going on in the world. See things we couldn’t see if we had stayed in one place forever”. I could not agree more Chantel, I think people should strive for this positive mindset. There is so much in this world, so much prejudice and so much racism, people do not fully understand that it is okay to be different, to have different coloured skin, to live in different cultures.  It’s okay to speak another language and live halfway across the world. I think if more people had such an open mind like Chantel, the world would be a more equal place. 

Lastly, I was interested to know if Chantel had any big plans for the future or any travels in the near future. Chantel shares, “yes, I do have plans for travel in the future. I’ll be working over seas at the end of this year 2017 in Australia as a Nanny. I am so excited for this opportunity and I’ve already started planning. I’ll be gone for a minimum of 6 months, but most likely I’ll stay for a year!”. What an amazing opportunity Chantel! I am a nanny now and you are going to absolutely love it, especially working with a family in Australia. You will be able to cross this off your bucket list, and that’s unreal! You have to be sure to keep me updated on how your position goes as a nanny, as I wish you nothing but the best!

I would like to thank Chantel Dow for collaborating with me on this blog post based on her travels. It was super exciting getting the ins and out of all the places she has been and the adventures she has been on. Be sure to follow her social media accounts to keep updated with her busy life!:

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Chantels.pointofview – personal IG

Pointofview.travelblog – in the works travel blog IG

Be sure to follow my other social media sites to stay in touch with my latest blog posts, thanks guys!

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main instagram page- alyssahotrum_xo

blogging instagram page- thatothertwin_xo

Pinterest- Alyssa Hotrum

email address- alyssahotrum@outlook.com

PHEW

Much love xo.

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