Regan Thacker is our new adventure. She is a blogger and photographer from Warwickshire, in the UK. She has also experience teaching English in South Korea and Sabah. It’s in her blog Dusky Blue Skies that are registered her adventures around the world with her partner Brett. Let’s meet the traveller!
Midlands Traveller: Talk a bit about yourself
Regan Thacker: My name is Regan; I am a travel photographer and blogger. I currently do freelance work and collaborative projects around my full-time job in the UK. In the past, I have been an English Language Teacher in Sabah and South Korea.
A Korean Co-teacher once described my approach to life in this very simple way. She said, “oh you like to live a joyful life.”
I suspect she didn’t intend it as a compliment. Regardless of her intent, it’s true. I do like to live a joyful life, which usually involves lots of new experiences and adventures with my camera.
I currently live in the United Kingdom with my partner Brett Kowalski. We met four years ago, through our shared love of photography. We both enjoy exploring the United Kingdom and other countries with our cameras.
Before we met, Brett used to take more package style holidays. Now, I’ve introduced him to different ways of travelling. When we visited Sri Lanka, we had a loose itinerary and then we planned and booked our accommodation as we travelled around the country. I enjoy the flexibility of this style of travel, but this was a new experience for Brett.
I am also a Voluntary Community Leader for a local Instagrammers group, Igers Coventry & Warwickshire. This is a community of photographers, videographers and creatives who support each other’s learning and development.
We also collaborate with local organisations to organise workshops and events which promote travel and tourism within Coventry & Warwickshire.
MT: When did you start to be interested in travelling?
RT: After University, my mum encouraged me to apply for a three-month work experience programme in the Netherlands. She thought this would be a great opportunity to see another country, experience another culture, and improve my confidence.
I had been on family package holidays and school trips to other parts of Europe, but this was the first time I lived in another country where I was free to travel independently.
It was in the late 90s, so I didn’t have a mobile phone or regular access to the internet to keep in touch with my family and friends.
I did feel a little bit homesick, but this was mainly when I received handwritten letters from my mum. Otherwise, I had a fantastic time exploring Heerlen, Maastricht and visiting Amsterdam with other people on the programme. It was a big adventure, and I loved it.
Towards the end of the programme, my boyfriend came to visit me, and I flew back to England with him. Only then did I learn that he was absolutely terrified of flying. We continued our relationship for a number of years, so this meant that I did not go travelling outside of the UK again for quite a while.
MT: What is your first travel-related memory?
RT: I think I first remember going away for a week with another family. I was really young, maybe 6 or 7 years old. We just went to a holiday camp in the UK.
They invited me along because I was friends with their daughter, and they thought I would be good company for her. I’ve always been pretty laid back and easy to get along with.
When I was younger, I was terribly shy around new people. So, my mum thought it would also be good for my confidence. I wasn’t homesick during that week away; I just remember having a great time in the swimming pool.
My friend’s mum also entered us in the beauty competition, which I won. She was very proud that her daughter was a child model, and she was regularly doing photo shoots which were published in fashion catalogues. So, my mum thought it was pretty hilarious that I won.
MT: What is your favourite place (travel destination) in the world? Why?
RT: Oh gosh, this is such a difficult question. One of my favourite places in the World is Cambodia, particularly Angkor Wat. It is a huge complex with loads to explore, I loved it so much that I have been twice.
Once in 2013 and then again in 2015. I love how this ancient city has been consumed by the jungle, and I find it fascinating to know that it is one of the Khmer Empire is one of few historical civilisations where women were treated equally.
MT: Have you ever had any bad experiences when travelling?
RT: Many but resolving things or finding a solution is part of the adventure. When you live abroad you develop a much deeper understanding of a county and its culture. Everywhere has some good things and some not so good things.
MT: Which countries have you travelled to?
RT: Whilst I lived in South Korea, I visited a number of countries in Asia. Such as Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Bali, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Within the last ten years, I have also been to Georgia, Egypt, Turkey, Japan, Greece, Hungary, Croatia, and Italy.
MT: Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
RT: Do it. Don’t wait for other people, if you really want to go. Go. You will meet other people, and it will be an adventure.
Other than that, check information about visas, vaccination, as well as local law and customs. Plus, it’s good to know a few useful phrases such as how to say thank you, hello, etc.
MT: What are the challenges of travelling solo? (if you are a solo traveller)
RT: I find that the cost is the thing that can be most challenging when travelling solo. However, I have also found that when you travel solo you are never alone for too long.
People like to talk to you, really, they do. They want to know where you are from, and why you are travelling alone. Often, I opt to listen to music using my headphones to indicate that I don’t really want to talk.
I really enjoy meeting new people and talking to them, but I also enjoy some time to quietly process experiences and information.
MT: How your travels have changed you?
RT: They’ve helped increase my self-confidence and given me lots of stories to talk about. I also have a much greater understanding and first-hand experience of cultural differences.
MT: What country or city is your travel bucket list?
RT: Ooh, I have many, but the two I have been thinking about for a while are Argentina and New Zealand.
MT: Future travel plans?
Next year, Brett has a big birthday, so we plan to take a big holiday. I thought he wanted to drive around California in a Mustang convertible, but now it sounds like he fancies going to the Seychelles or Mauritius. We tend to be a bit spontaneous, so watch this space…
I have attached some photos, all of them were taken by my partner Brett Kowalski
Except for Angkor Wat, which I took on a compact point and shoot camera in 2015.
Regan Thacker on Social media
Instagram | @duskyblueskies
You might also enjoy the other interviews in the Meet The Travellers series so far: