City travelers, here’s our latest interview with world’s leading travel bloggers. Meet Hanne Hellvik, travel blogger at Places People Stories. Originally from Norway, Hanne has been to over 50 countries. A conscious, responsible traveler, she doesn’t like short trips and instead tries to stay at each destination for a while. In her blog, she focuses on stories different from the common “10 things to do in Paris/Madrid/New York” articles:
Hanne, your best city trip so far?
New York City – because it was the first time I traveled overseas all by myself. I was in NYC for two months and loved every day! It was enough time to investigate the city a bit more in-depth than if you just visit for a long weekend.
I love the variety of people in this city, and that you can be yourself – no one actually cares. New York City is also much bigger and more impressive than most European cities that I’ve visited.
Your tips for city travelers heading to New York City?
Go beyond the typical tourist attractions. There are so many things to see, so many hidden gems. Try to get a local person to show you these places, no one knows the city better than them.
As a professional travel blogger, what makes a city worth visiting?
For me, the atmosphere and the people of a city are what make it interesting to visit. More than maybe buildings, and typical tourist attractions. Sometimes you arrive to a city, and you instantly know that this is a place you’ll like. It has something to do with the atmosphere you feel upon arrival.
Your five ingredients for the perfect city trip?
- Meet local people;
- Eat local food;
- Find the hidden gems;
- See/do typical cultural things;
- Sit down and observe the daily lives and the people passing by.
Which gadgets are essential companions for a modern city traveler?
Actually, I do not use any apps while on travel. I like to trust my instincts. I usually disconnect from all social media channels as well. This might sound old-fashioned, but when I travel I like to live in the moment. I bring my camera, of course, but it is a small Canon camera – nothing fancy.
Would you describe yourself as a responsible traveler?
Yes, because I usually travel slowly and as socially and environmentally responsible as possible. This means staying longer at each place I visit. I have also often volunteered for developing projects during my trips, such as in HIV/AIDS and conflict management in Nigeria, water management in India, working with homeless in New York and with street kids in Bolivia. I usually live with local people, and avoid fancy hotels that are bad for the environment.
I try my best not to leave my footprints when I travel.
Your key insights from traveling the world?
Trust the local people. They are the ones that know their country and culture best. A guide book author just doesn’t have the same local knowledge and experience about a city or country, after visiting for just a few days or weeks.
What I find the most interesting about traveling is to meet the local people and get to know them by hearing their stories. Perhaps this is because I am a sociologist and graduate in development management!?
Thank you, Hanne!
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