After qualifying as a solicitor, Valery decided to take a year out and applied to a tour operator to work on a freelance basis as a tour leader.
After 6 months of travelling with groups of people all over the world, Valery realised she couldn’t just settle down and work in an office. Twenty-one years since she took that gap year, Valery’s still travelling and working for the same company.
In 2008, she published her first book about the experiences travelling as a tour leader. This was followed by 3 more books as well as articles. After this, she then discovered blogging and now proudly calls herself a travel blogger.
Why did you start travel blogging? How long have you been doing it?
Initially, I started writing books and articles and set up my own website to promote these and my photography. Once I had my own website, I started posting regular articles and now I blog regularly on a weekly basis on my own website and also for other websites.
I like the immediacy of blogging, the use of links to websites that offer up-to-date information and it’s also a great platform for my photography.
I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, and use social media to tell people about the blog posts as I publish them.
Name your top 3 most memorable places?
Italy’s a country dear to my heart. In particular northern Italy and the Dolomites where I love to ski. I always head to Madonna di Campiglio, which is my top spot for skiing in the winter and walking in the summer.
Since I started travelling on a regular basis, I’ve learnt to speak Italian and absorb, like a sponge, everything to do with Italy – the food, the culture, the legends, the festivals and the history.
South Korea when the cherry blossoms are out. I used to wonder why people made such a fuss about the cherry blossoms until I saw it in South Korea.
Driving down roads with a canopy of the pale pink blossom above my head was an incredible experience. The country is a great mixture of old traditions and modern architecture and technology. I’ve never before been in a country where clothes shops are open until 05:00am every day. The street food is different and tasty, and the temples are bright and colourful.
In Myanmar, I went from one great experience to the next. The huge golden temples of Yagon – so colourful and busy. Lake Inle, where people live and work on the water – I was entranced by the floating fields of produce.
And Bagan has to be seen to be believed. Thousands of temples in various states of ruin scattered across the jungle. Climbing to the top of one of these temples to watch the sun set was amazing.
What’s the best thing about being a travel blogger?
The flexibility of form and subject and the feedback from my readers.
I love to share my experiences and pass on information that I hope will help other people when they’re travelling.
And the worst?! (if there is one)
Sometimes it is hard to find the time to put together a quality blog every week.
Give your top tip to a blogger starting out
Work on the quality of your writing and use informative images as well as selfies.
Hotel freebies: take ‘em’ or leave ‘em’?
I only take them when I’m sure I can write good things about the hotel – I want to preserve my integrity and build up a readership that can trust me.
What’s at the top of your list for destinations this year?
I’m currently looking for interesting UK places to visit and write about, as we have such a wealth of attractive and interesting towns.
My ambition’s to get to Madagascar during the current year.
Why should people subscribe to your page?
I’ve worked very hard at honing my skills as a blogger so that I can produce good quality, well illustrated blog posts that inform and entertain.
I’ve visited a large number of different countries so there’s plenty to choose from.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten on your travels?
Probably jelly fish. It was exactly as one would expect it to be – tough, rubbery and tasteless.
Name a place, city, or country where you feel happiest?
The last place I visited. I find as soon as I’m familiar with the public transport and can get around, then I’m happy – but if I had to pick one place I would say Italy, as I know it so well.
Where’s your next adventure?
That’s the great thing about working for a tour operator; never being entirely certain regarding the next destination.
I went back to Madonna di Campiglio at the beginning of July to do some serious walking. Meanwhile, I’m hoping to find some more English towns for short visits.
Find out more about Valery's next travel escapades by clicking any of the links below.