In this interview series called What Inspires….. I aim to share with you what inspires other travellers to get out there and see the world in the hope that it inspires you to do the same.
This week’s What Inspires interview is with Hélène (H.E.) from Culture Shock Toolbox.
H.E. is a TCK (French/German) who grew up in Luxembourg. She is the author of Culture Shock – A Practical Guide and blog called Culture Shock Toolbox. She loves the outdoors. Her motto is: onwards and forwards! She’s always searching for new perspectives.
Read on to find out what inspires Hélène from Culture Shock Toolbox.
What or who inspired you to travel and discover the world?
My family, background and inquisitive spirit probably. I’m also a TCK, which means that my parents have two different nationalities and I was raised in a third country. So travel was always a given. It wasn’t until later that I began to see it as a privilege.
Where was your first overseas trip and was it everything you expected it to be?
When I was little we traveled to Sardinia and Corsica. I don’t really remember it except a few impressions. In my early teens, I went to England a few times. When I was 16 I traveled to the US for the first time. It was probably the first time I might have had some expectations about a country, considering the amount of culture the US exports. Although thinking back now, it was probably more anticipation than expectation. It was a really intense trip, wonderful and exhausting! A teacher organized it and took a group of students from my school. We met local students, met up with a group of German students as well…the exchange was wonderful!
What’s one tip you can give to anyone about to head off on their first overseas adventure?
Embrace differences, be interested in everything and remember that differing views complement and don’t necessarily contradict each other. Also, eat local food, try local dishes and recipes.
Best travel experience so far?
Oh that’s difficult! There are so many. My favorite memories are about moments of connection and shared experiences, moments of awe, and moments when a shift happened and my perspective changed. Touring Uyuni for example. We drove through a salt lake. It was April and there was still water on the lake but it was very shallow. Around the Isla de Pescados, named for its shape, the lake was dry and I was actually standing on salt. Up until that moment the only white ground I’d stood on was snow. Then there was a blue lake, a red lake, a lake full of flamingos, hot springs, and nights spent shivering in a room without heat or insulation falling asleep to a howling wind and snowstorm. We played soccer with local kids watching the sun set and board games by candle light because there was no electricity. It was humbling.
What’s your biggest source of travel inspiration between trips?
Stillness. It balances out the chaotic nature of traveling. One gives meaning to the other.
Do you have a favourite quote, travel related or otherwise?
There are a few, but one that keeps popping back into my head lately are Gandalf’s words to Frodo: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” You have to make that choice everyday.
Connect with Hélène
Thanks Hélène for sharing your inspiring travel story with us. For a further dose of inspiration, you can look back over all past interviews here.
Over to You!
Who or what, inspires you to travel and discover the world?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.