Well, hello! I’ve been getting excited to introduce myself to you since I found out four weeks ago that I’d be traveling with Busabout as part of the Ultimate Travel Squad. I can’t believe my first official day has finally arrived! I thought I would let you know a little bit about me, so you can get to know the person that will be behind these posts for the next three months as The Squad travels through Europe.
My name is Eleea and I’ll be doing the blogging role in the Travel Squad. I grew up on a farm near Byron Bay, but I now live on the Gold Coast, Australia. I’m a bit obsessed with dogs and am the proud mum of a tiny senior rescue chihuahua named Trembles, who is allergic to almost every food, and can magically take up three-quarters of a king size bed. I’m a pretty simple gal – I like romantic comedies, a warm chai latte and good vegetarian food.
Technically, my journey started last year, when I spent four months traveling solo through 22 countries in Europe and the United Kingdom. During that trip, I had pretty diverse backpacking experiences. These ranged from Couchsurfing with locals for half of the trip, staying with friends I’d met during my previous travels, sleeping in large hostel dorms, busking on the street with my guitar, and exploring amazing cities that I had spent my entire life dreaming of visiting.
During my 2017 trip, I fell in love with history and threw myself into the culture of each place as much as I could. That was the longest amount of time that I’d spent away from home traveling by myself, and I feel that I gained so much from it – close friends, funny stories, 10kgs of pastry weight (oops), firsthand knowledge, and memories that will always induce my own wanderlust and bring a smile to my face.
Back at home, I work a lot and split my time between quite a few different jobs that I’m really passionate about. I’ve become a firm believer in stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing what I love everyday (travel helped with that!), and I’ve been really lucky with the jobs that I’ve chosen to work towards so far. My main career and source of income is as a singer-songwriter. I usually gig 1-4 times per week and when I return from this trip, I’m going to start recording my third album – hopefully it will include some great new songs I’ll write while I’m on the road!
In March, I resigned from my job as part of the dog team at an animal shelter, helping to care for and re-home homeless, abandoned and neglected animals. I also do some modelling and have previously competed in the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants in Australia – each has been an interesting experience! For the last three years I’ve studied a Bachelor of Communications via distance education, double majoring in journalism and public relations. As you can imagine, scoring a travel journalism job before I even officially graduated from my degree is a dream come true and I’m feeling extremely lucky to have this experience.
When I heard about the Ultimate Travel Squad opportunity, I was so excited by the prospect of coming back to some of my favourite destinations, seeing some new places, and being able to share my experiences with an audience at home who might be interested in traveling, or be in the process of planning their own trip.
In the past, I have traveled quite a lot of Asia and recently spent a month exploring the Hawaiian islands. Last year I had the time of my life traveling by myself through Europe, and was quickly reminded that you never travel alone to be lonely – I made friends at every stop and am still close with some of them a year later.
Naturally, I had some moments that were less than ideal – I broke my foot halfway through my trip while hiking in Grunau, Austria; I got bed bugs in a tiny hostel in Budapest, Hungary; I slept through my alarm in Italy, heading from Venice to Rome, and had to buy an expensive train ticket… these things happen! This time around, I’m really looking forward to traveling with the squad and having a fun group of people and constant support network around me to help make this trip even more amazing.
I feel that the blogging role is going to be such a great platform for me to share this journey through my eyes, touch on the ups and downs of backpacking around Europe, and give you a heads-up on all the tips and tricks that I’ve learnt from my travels. Along the way, I’ll also be writing a new edition of #TheTravelCollection – a series of songs I wrote that were inspired by every European destination I visited last year (you can listen on my Instagram profile: @eleea).
I hope that you enjoy seeing what the rest of the Squad and I get up to, and hope that my experience and suggestions might fill you with excitement, confidence and inspiration to head off on your own adventures!