It’s that time again at Goho HQ, where we interview another real-life Goho babe, who has already hit the road and has many a tale to tell. Introducing….Rosie Alpine, a 26-year-old blonde bombshell from Staffordshire.
Rosie likes adventuring, dancing ‘in da club’, leopard-print and hot looking wolfie-types (think Hugh Jackman, Alcide in True Blood 😉 ).
When Rosie came to visit Goho HQ for the Royal Wedding weekend, we had a fantastic time giggling and staying up most of the night talking about her travel experiences. Seeing her photos and hearing her stories made me sure more than ever this path was the right one for me. So introducing…the incredible travelista MISS ROSIE ALPINE!!! **APPLAUSE**
GT – First of all, tell us which countries you have been to and how long were you travelling for?
RA – I’ve been lucky enough to have done two big adventures in my time but most recently I went round the world for 4 months and it was without a doubt the best thing I’ve ever done!! I embarked on the trip of a lifetime with my friend Jeanette, the girl I lived with for the 3 years I studied at University in Leeds.
We went into STA travel with a huge list of ambitions and requests but realised quickly that fitting almost every country in the world into 4 months was a bit unrealistic. However with a lot of compromise and wonderful advice from the very knowledgeable (and sexy) sales assistant, we signed on the dotted line for our dream itinerary…
On 16th February we flew out to Rio De Janeiro a pair of white pastey bags of quivering nerves and embarked on the most incredible summer of our lives!
GT – What first compelled you to leave everything behind and go adventuring?
RA – I remember being in my year 7 Religious Education class at High School when we were given a project to plan a trip around the world, where we could explore different religious cultures, but also see the sights and do any activities we wished in the countries that we chose. While cutting out pictures from holiday brochures for my project, I found a photo of a girl in the India section, sitting on an elephant in a lucious green jungle. Her head was tipped back and she was laughing as the animal sprayed her face with water from the flowing stream running along side them. I knew from that very moment that I wanted to be that girl. My whole life I’ve not been totally sure what career path I want to take, or which man I want to be with, but I have always been totally 100% positive that one day, I would be that girl, sat on an elephant in a beautiful, culture-soaked country, dripping with happiness and not a care in the world.
GT – What were your initial fears before you left? Did they just wear off after a while?
RA – Jeanette and I had inter-railled in Europe for 6 weeks a few years previous to our big trip, so we were a bit more familiar with the basics of travelling. The only difference is that rather than being a couple of hours from home, we were suddenly on the other side of the world with a limited budget. Being two pale faced blonde girls as well, we couldn’t have stood out more as tourists if we tried!! We definitely set off on our travels rather naïve but there’s nothing you can really do to prepare for that…..just be willing to learn from your mistakes and you toughen up along the way!
GT – Biggest highlight of the trip?
RA – India. Without a shadow of a doubt. I know I am a walking cliché….but I really found out who I was there. Before I left England my Step-mom gave me a mug imprinted with the words ‘Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself’. I think after a few years of creating yourself, you have to stop and reflect and realise that actually, you quite like the person you’ve become. Travelling gives you the time and mind space to allow that. And India, with all its passion and love and allowance of positivity, enabled me to open my mind to what’s really important in life; simple pleasures, family, faith, friendships, and a rock solid belief in yourself.
GT – What are you looking forward to seeing/doing in the future?
RA – Due to our time constraints there were a few countries we had to leave out of our dream itinerary….this wasn’t a bad thing because if we’d tried to squeeze them in we would have rushed our time in places and not got as much out of certain experiences. We were just shy enough of enough time to visit Vietnam and Laos…. they were the two places on our trip that fellow travellers kept bringing up again and again, so I’m very much looking forward to visiting them in the coming year.
Seeing central India also gave me a teaser of what the country has to offer. I now can’t wait to visit Kerala (South India) and Punjab (North India). I just need to get those vital pennies together!!
GT – Do you ever see your journey ending? Or do you think you’ll always be a traveller (even with kids in tow)?
RA – Please no!!! I know they’ll be times in my life when I need to take a break to concentrate on other aspects of my future but travelling is always the one thing that drives me to improve those aspects. There is no better feeling than working your ass off for months on end, turning down nights out and putting dress after dress back on the rail at Topshop…..to FINALLY end up on that white sanded beach with a glass of Pina Colada in your hand and the warm fuzzy feeling in your heart that YOU earned every second of sand between your toes and warm sun on your face. No one else…..just you!! You can’t beat it! 🙂
RA – Do what YOU want to do! I think the gorgeous Tracey mentioned about this in her interview, which I couldn’t agree more on. I got caught up a lot in what I now call ‘traveller’s guilt’…..which basically means getting to a city/country and having a mental list of all the things you feel like you HAVE to do while you’re there.
You end up having a huge ‘to do’ list of excursions and tourist destinations and sightseeing trips etc and you don’t feel like you can relax until you’ve done it all. Of course those things are important, and everyone wants a profile pic of them on an elephant or stood next to the harbour bridge! But sometimes you can be so busy ticking boxes that you miss out on the friendships you form while chilling in a hammock or drinking an ice tea in a bar with locals. You can be so concerned with hitting the big night spots that you may turn down an offer from someone who knows a quiet little bar, showcasing a local rock band where you’d actually end up having the night of your life (and maybe meeting your prince charming!). It takes time to learn to ignore the traveller’s guilt and just go with the flow. But you’ll get there! You can do the touristy stuff when you’re older….but you may not be dancing on tables in a back alley nightclub when you’re 75.
GT – What lessons have you learnt from the experience so far?
RA – Where to start!! I could go into so much…. don’t get ripped off, revel in saying ‘yes’ but don’t be scared to say ‘no’, always carry immodium!! However, the biggest reward of travelling is learning from your own experience. Just go into it with your heart on your sleeve and you’ll grow with every day that passes. It’s OK to go out there terrified and naïve and without a clue….you probably get more out of it that way because you’re open to a world of experience. Literally!!
GT – Worst experience? (Whether it be food, travel conditions, weather, airports…just go for it).
RA – After a couple of nasty pickpocket experiences I would have to say ‘be safe’. After a few weeks of travelling it’s easy to start to let your guard down. Money belts, notes in your bra (my friend even sewed a hidden pocket in her pants for an emergency credit card) and hidden stashes of cash may save your life one day on the road. Disposable cameras mean you don’t need to take your pride and joy out on the town, and always wear a bag with a strap across and keep it in front of you. If you get robbed, you get robbed, and you’ll learn from it. But just keep your wits about you and don’t ever make the mistake of thinking if you’ve been safe for a few weeks you’ll be safe for the rest of the trip. The world is a wonderful place; but never forget there are a lot of people out there who aren’t as lucky as you.
Oh and don’t eat cream cakes that have been out in the sun all day!! (Bleurgh!!).
GT – A travel memory which always makes you smile?
RA – The hobo in me always comes out when travelling and I tend to ALWAYS have dirty feet on the road! Watching a very tired and very hungover Jeanette accidentally fall asleep on my feet on a particularly bus journey through India will continue to make me laugh out loud for the rest of my days!! Seeing her disgusted face when she woke up and realised what had happened will delight me for a very long time (and most likely continue to traumatise her)!
GT – Funniest travel story?
RA – It’s so funny that the worst things that happen to you while travelling often tend to be the stories that people most enjoy hearing when you’re back and the tales that you animatedly tell with such joy over the years- even thought they seemed so horrendous at the time!
We bizzarely decided to travel from Cambodia into Bangkok on the day of the Easter Riots when the red and blue T-shirt protesters were setting fire to buses and throwing missiles in the street, in uproar at the state of the government at the time. Cambodia only has one bus company that travels across the border and as a result they can therefore rip off tourists as much as they want because you really have no other option. Our 8 hour bus journey ended up being over 20 hours long and after being bullshitted, ripped off and told lie after lie, all day long, we got to the point where we both had a nervous breakdown and laughed til we cried at the bleakness of the situation. We got stuck at the border of Cambodia and Bangkok for hours; hungry, hot, tired, with no idea whether we would get to Bangkok that night, and no real idea of whether we actually WANTED to get to a place that was being ripped apart by it’s own people. We finally arrived into Bangkok, exhausted and met by burned out shells of buses to be greeted by the lat thing we expected……not real guns and bombs but water pistols and flour bombs being thrown at us from every angle. What BBC news 24 hadn’t decided to tell viewers is that Easter bank holiday that year was actually ‘Songskran’ or Thai New Year. Although a few troublemakers were getting news coverage for all the wrong reasons, the rest of Bangkok was partying in the street with a water fight of epic proportions. I’ve never arrived in a happier country. And I learned that day to not always believe the shock tactics of an ever increasingly-hyped up media!!
We bought ourselves a water gun each and a handful of flour and joined in with the party……soaking off our tired bodies from the nightmare journey!
GT – Tell us about travel friendships, did you find it easy meeting new people (reassure us newbies hehe)?
RA – You will NEVER make friends as easily as staying in hostels. You only have to say hello- really- and you have a friend for life!! Of course you get a few occasional wierdos (that’s life), but on the whole, hostels contain a bunch of like-minded, positive people who are there for the same reasons as you. Have the confidence (or alcohol) to start a conversation and you will meet an abundance of beautiful people ready and willing to share experiences and learn from yours…..there’s nothing like it!
LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS:
So can girls rock and roll it travelling alone in your opinion?
I was really lucky to have such a like-minded easy-going travelling companion in Jeanette. She was my rock whenever I got homesick or anxious (this will happen but don’t be scared by it- it’s all part of the experience….when you’re away for months on end you can’t expect every day to be incredible…it’s OK to have moody days!) and I owe her a lot for being so grounded and having the honesty to tell me to pull myself together in the nicest possible way. HOWEVER……we both discussed that rocking it as a solo traveller is a completely sane option and probably more of an experience as you HAVE to make friends. In Asia we got lazy as hotels were cheap and we shut ourselves away for a few weeks in the comfort of twin air con rooms….but in hindsight we probably missed out on a lot because we didn’t socialise. As a solo traveller you have the beauty of relying on others for conversation and so are forced to meet wonderful people who turn out to create your travelling memories. And there is nothing more liberating than knowing you’ve got somewhere or achieved something difficult on your own. Go for it! Oh…. but don’t be scared to shut yourself off for a couple of days with some air con 😉 Every girl needs some ‘me’ time!!
WISH YOU WERE HERE QUESTIONS:
GT – If you could have transported your family to a location/event while you were there, which would it have been & why?
RA – As part of the Delhi to Kathmandu tour run by Intrepid Travel we experienced a 2 day boat trip from Varanassi, to the border of India and Nepal. Sat on the bank of the Ganges river, watching the sunset, feeling sleepy from a sun drenched day on the little fishermen’s boats, surrounded by incredible new friends and eating beautiful home made curry and rice dishes, I wanted everyone I’d ever loved to be along side me sharing the moment. Simply Beautiful!
GT – If you could have transported all your friends to a location/event while you were there, which would it have been & why?
RA – Sweating my ass off dancing to a 40-strong Drum Core at a Samba School during Carnival in Rio De Janerio……just thinking about it warms my soul. One of the happiest moments of my life!
And the night I discovered the wonder of Cachaca!!
GT – What qualities does it take to be a Gohemian (like yourself)?
RA – I love that I’m a gohemian!! Can I put that on my CV??! Don’t be scared to get dirty and look a bit ugly and sweaty for a while…embrace you’re inner Hobo!!
You definitely require patience for certain countries, especially India and South East Asia….things don’t happen fast!!
Don’t worry about Facebook for a while…..it’s OK to upload the odd photo on your travels but you can get too caught up in capturing everything on camera……just enjoy the here and now rather than trying to Kodak every second.
And more important than anything……the ability laugh at yourself when you fall asleep on a pair of dirty feet. XXXXX
Hope you enjoyed Rosie’s story, there are many more Gohemian Interviews to come. If you would like to be featured contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or at
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Love and soleros! Em xoxox