Krystyna Henderson has found peace in her passion for travelling. She believes that visiting new places gave us new ways of seeing the world, and she shares all her travelling experiences on the blog Passion and Peace.
Midlands Traveller: Talk a bit about yourself.
Krystyna Henderson: When I’m not travelling, I can usually be found walking in the woods, sipping cocktails in a bar with friends or chilling with one or more of my four amazing daughters.
MT: When did you start to be interested in travelling?
KH: Some of my earliest memories are of travelling with my mum and my grandparents when I was little. We used to hitch my granddad’s caravan up to the car and set off for six weeks of adventure every summer.
We travelled around Scotland lots and also all over Europe. Those summers seemed endless and full of wonder.
MT: What is your first travel-related memory?
KH: Swimming in Spain when I was three or four. Being a little afraid of how deep the water was but knew that Quacky Duck, my trusty swan-shaped inflatable, would keep me safe. And yes, I know Quacky Duck is a weird name for a swan inflatable, but I was three…
MT: What is your favourite place (travel destination) in the world? Why?
KH: That’s a really hard question. One of my favourites has to be Marrakech, as it’s the first place I travelled to solo and also the first place I visited that was outside Europe.
The city has an amazing vibe and energy about it. The sounds, the scents – everything seems so exotic and exciting there.
I also have a long-standing love of Venice. I longed to go there when I was a child and finally managed to talk my family into stopping there for ten days during one of our summer tours around Europe.
My Granddad was worried that I’d be disappointed by Venice when I saw it but I fell even more in love with the place. Every time I’ve visited since that feeling has only deepened for me. I have dreams about living there one day.
MT: Have you ever had any bad experiences when travelling?
KH: Not really. I’ve been lost a few times, most notably in Berlin. I went to see the Christmas markets in 2016 and arrived in the city on the day of the horrendous terrorist attack.
My phone turned itself off between the airport and the hotel due to the intense cold at the time and all my directions were stored on it.
I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel, but I could remember what it looked like from photos I’d seen on the website, so I walked and hoped. In the end, I found it surprisingly easy, despite my fears that I’d have to beg for a little warmth and a charging point from a cafe somewhere.
I’ve stayed in a dodgy hotel or two, been caught by delayed flights and cancelled trains and was horribly in Paris last year, but life is about the ups as well as the downs so I just chalk all experiences up to life and end up grinning at them anyway.
MT: Which countries have you travelled to?
KH: I live in the UK, so obviously England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland. Also Austria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, India, Italy, Morocco, Poland, San Marino, Spain and Switzerland.
MT: Do you have any advice or tips for inspiring travellers?
KH: Just do it! Book a ticket, hop on a train, and go lose yourself in another place. Eat at a roadside cafe and watch the world go by.
Drink in the everything around you: the culture, the people, the scents and sounds, even the light that seems to change so much in different parts of the world. But be careful – once you start travelling you might find it hard to stay home.
MT: What are the challenges of travelling with family (or solo if you are a solo traveller?
KH: I adore travelling solo. Being on your own means you are not accountable to anyone. You can choose where you go, what you see, when to eat and when to linger over. Wow! That makes me sound very self-centred.
Travelling with family is amazing too. When you’re with family you may have to adapt your plans a little, but you have someone to share the joy with. And, maybe even more importantly, you have someone to share the memories with for years to come.
MT: How have your travels changed you?
KH: Seeing lots of different parts of the world brings me so much joy. A joy that spills over into my everyday life. Now, even on the greyest London days, I can daydream of hot beaches, little cafes in distant places, or fabulous views over foreign cities or the countryside.
My travels have also made me stronger. I’ve been to so many places and got myself into so many strange situations often with little knowledge of the local language. Yet I’ve survived to tell the tales of my journeys.
Knowing that makes me realise that I can cope with almost any situation life throws at me whether I’m travelling or not.
MT: What country or city is your travel bucket list?
KH: There are so many places I want to travel to and do many places that I’ve been to that I’d love to revisit. Right now, the top of my wish list is tied between Singapore and Borneo, although I’d also love to go stay in Venice or Sicily for a few months and really get to know them well.
MT: Future travel plans?
KH: I’m not very good at planning. I tend to impulsively book a flight when I’m feeling restless. I do have some time booked at a little place called Le Mont, around an hour’s drive west of Limoges.
It’s a tiny hamlet in the mountains with maybe eight or ten houses, one of which was built by two wonderful friends of mine. The air is so clean and clear, and the scenery is stunningly beautiful. It’s one of the most relaxing places I’ve visited. How beautiful is that view? Definitely one of my favourite places to wake up.
Follow Krystyna on Instagram | @treewytch