Today I’m talking with Izy Berry from the travel blog, The Wrong Way Home. Izy is a travel blogger and travel photographer, and has many great tips, stories, and photos to share. I’ve been inspired by her blog and photos, and want more of the world to follow and be inspired by Izy. Without further delay, let’s check out her answers…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself Izy.
Firstly, thanks for having me here Nathan (Wez). I’m twenty four, originally from New Zealand and I have this really strong desire to go everywhere. Since the end of 2010 I’ve been backpacking around the world, mostly by myself. I’ve lived in the Czech Republic and at the moment I’m living in Spain. I volunteered in Cambodia for a few months, and that little country captured my heart. I travel to take photos, to try new food, meet new people and to see the world from a different perspective.
So not to alarm anyone, but you’ve been stabbed while travelling. Do you still think about this, or has it had any effect on how you travel now?
If I’m honest, I think about it most days. On my hand is a quite an ugly scar that is a constant reminder. In extreme temperatures, either cold or hot, it aches and stings and I can no longer open jars! If you want, you can read all about how I was attacked in Indonesia. This is going to sound weird: but in a way I’m almost glad it happened. Because I went through one of my worst case scenarios and was totally fine, I feel a lot more confident in myself and my ability to look after myself. It is also the best conversation starter and the number of new friends I’ve made because of my stabbing story is ridiculous. I try to stay positive about it and whenever I tell people my story I remind them that it could have happened anywhere, even in their home town.
You are very much into travel, photography, and combining the two (just like me), is there a place in the world that you want to spend more time photographing?
Yes, there is one stand out place that I would love to spend more time photographing and I’m sure it’s pretty high up on most people’s lists: India. I was supposed to be there for a month but due to an earthquake in my home town I flew home to be with my family. There’s something so raw about India that I’ve never seen before and I want to share that with the world.
I love your travel photography, and I know this is a tough question for any photographer, but do you have a favourite photo?
Thank you for the sweet compliment. I have a few favourites, but because I spoke about wanting to go back to India I’ll give you an example of why. This photo is special to me, because the mother in the photo partially pictured was sitting on the side of the footpath in Calcutta begging with her two young children. That in itself isn’t anything particularly unusual for a third world country, but she was doing something I had never seen before: begging for water. I was almost moved to tears when I thought about all of the unfairness in the world. I spent a bit of time with her while I was there, playing with her kids, giving her water and food. So this photo reminds me of how it felt when my heart really broke a little. It also reminds me of no matter where you go, and how little they have, kids will always be kids. I love the mix of colours and the interaction between mother and daughter. I entered this photo into the Capture The Colour competition and you can see my entry here and read more about how to enter.
You’ve volunteered overseas, something I’m thinking of looking into, how did you get started on this track? And would you recommend it to others?
Whenever anyone asks me about volunteering overseas I have to stop myself from blurting out (or yelling) “GO NOW! DO IT!” because honestly it was above and beyond the most amazing experience of my life. I volunteered in an orphanage in Takeo, Cambodia. The kids were amazing, so warm and receptive to all of our help. The thing that surprised me the most is how much I loved being surrounded by like minded people, who all had spent time and money getting to this remote village in order to help others. I met some of my best friends there.
Volunteering was always something I wanted to do, so when I met people on the road I would talk to them about it. I met a lovely girl in Laos who gushed about New Futures Organisation and basically told me in the same breath that I had to go there and that she would be forever envious if I did. I was sold and during the rest of my time in Vietnam and Laos I mentioned it to other people I met and we ended up having a little reunion there, it was perfect.
The thing about volunteering is there are so many overseas based companies in first world countries that use volunteering as a business. I don’t think this is fair, I believe you should cover your costs and perhaps a small donation to the actual place you’re volunteering at, but it shouldn’t cost you more than a holiday there. I have heard of so many people expecting to pay $1,000 USD a week or something ridiculous to donate their time – it just makes no sense to me. Why should you pay for someone to accept your time and skills? I have written a whole blog post on what I think about volunteering overseas, so feel free to read it.
Lastly, is there any travel advice you can give us, that you wished someone told you before you started travelling?
This question actually inspired me to write an entire blog post about it, but the main thing I wish someone told me was that it is so easy to make friends on the road. So many people travel alone and a lot of the social barriers are broken when you are both in unfamiliar places. I always wanted to travel, but I think I kept postponing it because none of my friends wanted to do the kind of travels I wanted and I was so scared of being bored and lonely. Truth is, I’m not sure that ever happened after near on 2 years on the road – okay, maybe on the odd 19 hour bus ride alone I got a bit lonely, but really, it’s hard to be alone if you’re making an effort.
Thanks so much for having me, Wez, it was really great to answer some fresh questions. The one piece of advice I have for anyone considering travel is: do it as soon as you can, my only travel regret is that I didn’t leave sooner. Happy adventures!
Thank you so much for your time on this interview Izy, it’s been really great to connect and be inspired by your answers. If you’d like to see more of Izy’s stories and photos then I suggest heading to her blog, The Wrong Way Home, or you can follow Wrong Way Home on Facebook or Izy on Twitter, I know that she would love to see you there.