I didn’t grow up with a dream of travelling.
I wasn’t the kid who marked exotic locations off on maps, the teen who planned a backpacking adventure, the young adult who couldn’t wait to see the world.
I was the Sagittarian who would read the descriptions for their horoscope, the ones that said we were the travellers of the zodiac, and laugh. “Wrong!” I thought.
I didn’t go overseas until I was 28, a trip that was really only motivated by the fact my brother was living there at the time.
I was 32 when I travelled solo internationally for the first time.
My point is this: travel isn’t something that always feels like it is in your blood; it can be as much of a slow burn or an acquired taste as something you feel you were born to do.
Since then, I’ve managed to tick off 40 countries and the experience of travel has become something of a priority in my life. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to afford it financially, to have a job that allows for the time off to take adventures, and to be emotionally resilient enough that travelling alone is an option for me.
Now, I’m always dreaming of where I’m heading to next.
Travel blogging has beome increasingly popular over the past few years and blogs are generally an excellent resource for anyone planning a trip to a particular destination. But what I had been noticing is that many of these blogs or sites weren’t really representing someone who travels like me. A lot of them were filled with elegant photos, girls in hats with one hand on their head and the other in the air faced away from the camera staring down an unpopulated road, but very little actual substance on the location. Recommendations as a result of paid partnerships for hotels that I could never afford. Lists of restaurants so extensive that they absolutely could not have visited them all. A lack of information on what to actually see or do once you got there. Style over substance and barely any genuine feeling or personal stories.
That’s not to say this is all travel blogs, however I was finding it harder and harder to find truly great or useful ones. And nearly none that reflected me.
I’m the person who takes pretty nice photos, but won’t get up at 6am to take a photo of myself ruminating in front of a coloured doorway without hundreds of tourists around. I stay in mid-priced hotels and awesome (and sometimes not so awesome) hostels. Love local food, but I also got super excited when I unexpectly found a Chipotle in Frankfurt and ate burgers in Vienna when I was all schnitzelled out. I like cool and quirky shops, hidden Instagram gems and discovering the unknown in a place, but I’m also an itinerary maker, someone who will hunt down the nearest J.Crew and the person who is absolutely going to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris even though millions of other people do it every year.
I wanted to create a resource based on personal experience and how I like to travel, and so Portret was born. The word is Dutch for ‘portrait‘ and got stuck in my head on a recent visit to Amsterdam’s incredible Rijksmuseum – I liked the idea of using it to represent my view of a place. I’m not fancy. I have diverse interests. Sometimes I’m willing to spend money, sometimes I’m not. I also wanted to create something that I had been trying to find myself in other sites and fill what I felt was a gap in what was already available in travel blogs.
My plan is to post about a different city each week and let you know where I stayed, what I ate, things I visited, how I got around, and more. Because I’m also obsessed with style and beauty products, there’ll be a little bit of that too plus it’s nice to get hints on what to buy when you’re wandering around Nashville’s 12 South area or staring at the shelves of a French pharmacy in Nice.
So, welcome. I hope Portret gives you some useful advice about travelling to some of the most incredible cities in the world, or just provides you with an escape or the opportunity to dream a little. As one of the most over-used quotes goes, “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Here’s to reading the whole book.