Meet the Nomads – Noelle Kelly of Wandering On

Last week, I featured Brian Barry of Wandering On and this week, I’d like to introduce to you his better half and also the co-owner of Wandering On – Noelle Kelly.

Noelle’s first trip happened when she was just 12 years old when she visited her sister in Liverpool. Her next overseas trip happened three years after when she flew to New York to stay with her auntie for awhile. She also travels a lot around Ireland with her family and also did a one month backpacking trip around Europe with her close friends. Currently, Noelle is working in South Korea together with Brian to save some funds for their next adventure.

Noelle, together with Brian, writes a lot of helpful tips about working abroad, budget travel tips and more.

Get to know more about Noelle and follow her adventures at Wandering On.

But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Noelle.

Meet the Nomads - Noelle Kelly of Wandering On

How did you discover your passion for travelling?

“Back in 2006 I went on an inter-railing trip around Europe, visiting five countries in a month with five of my friends. Seeing so many cool places and meeting people from all over the world, I knew then I had caught the bug!”

What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?

“During that same trip myself and a friend got very bad travelers’ diarrhea. While we were asleep on an overnight train in Croatia, our wallets were taken out of the carriage and robbed and put back in our bags empty. We were so comatose we didn’t realize! When we got off the train we were catching a bus to our ultimate destination and when I looked in my wallet and discovered it’s emptiness I fainted! I don’t know if it was the dehydration or the shock! But it taught me an important lesson to keep my valuables attached to my body when sleeping on public transport!”

What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

Standing on top of Kala Pattar (5,550 meters) in Nepal and seeing a panoramic view of the Himalayas and Mount Everest is still the one to beat! I was literally on top of the world and it made the ten day trek to get there all worth it!”

Meet the Nomads - Noelle Kelly of Wandering On

What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?

“Travelling has made me realize two very important things. One is that people are all the same, no matter where they are or what corner of the globe they live on. Everyone has the same worries, the same emotions and the same basic values. Even though we might look different, dress differently, speak differently and do things differently we are all the same deep down.”

“The second thing is that we are only in this world for a short time. I know now from travel that I want to live my life for joy and for me travel brings joy. My goal is to see as much of this amazing planet and meet as many different people as I can.”

What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

“While yes travel is tiring, it is never boring. The things you see as you pass through towns and villages from the windows of a ten hour bus train journey will keep you entertained.”

“What keeps me going is the desire to see more and experience more in my lifetime. As I said earlier, life is too short to be spent in one tiny little part of the globe! I get so excited at the thoughts of visiting a new country or place that I really don’t need to motivate myself much.”

“Travel is also a very free existence, there’s no one to answer to, nobody else’s schedule to keep to, you can do what you want when you want.”

This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?

“Haha! Well it depends where I would be travelling to but if it was going to be a remote and outdoors-y destination then probably Bear Grylls because I reckon he could teach me a thing or too! I’d like to find out if he can really survive as he does or if he heads off to some luxury hotel when the cameras are switched off!!!”

Meet the Nomads - Noelle Kelly of Wandering On

Where’s your favorite place on this planet and why?

So far (aside from the green green grass of home! :P), India is my favorite place. India has so much to offer, the diversity of the country – from the Himalayas to desert, jungle to white sand beaches, the food, the people, the sights, the sounds, the smells. It’s such an amazing place and even though I’ve already traveled there for six months I would go back and spend another six months there in a heartbeat.”

What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?

“It would be to travel with a “I might never be here again.” attitude and not “I’ll see that next time”. There might not be a next time! Enjoy every minute of your travels now. At the same time, try to relax and go with the flow and see where your travels take you. Don’t be too rigid in your plans because some of the best experiences happen by chance, but at the same time don’t get complacent either. If you left home with a goal to see a certain list of places or sights then you should at least try to reach all your goals.”

…some of the best experiences happen by chance…

What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

“The silliest has to be leaving my flip flops unattended outside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Of course they were stolen! (Brian’s UK size 11 battered ones weren’t) There was a free locker room to store shoes as you take them off going inside the sacred temple so I really don’t know what we were thinking! I was standing there in the blazing heat in Brian’s flip flops as he gallantly walked barefoot around to see if he could spot my flip flops anywhere or on anyone’s feet (in India?!!) I was so peeved and then I was surrounded by a swarm of people asking for photos with me and a baby was thrust into my arms to have its photo with me and I tried to plaster on a smile for the camera.”

“The funniest has to be in Haridwar, again in India. There was a huge festival called Shivaratri where Hindus make a pilgrimage to the Ganges in Haridwar or Rishikesh to collect some water from the sacred river to bring back to their home town and make an offering of the water at the Shiva temples back home. During the festival seventeen million pilgrims visit Haridwar. Many were from small towns and villages where tourists don’t visit so we were a novelty to say the least. There was such a posse following us that at one stage when we stopped to take a picture on a bridge, police men told us to move on because it was easier to move us than them.”

“The next day when we went to get a bus to Rishikesh and as we were waiting, people slowly started to appear around us just standing and staring at us, saying nothing. There were twenty or more people around us when, again a policeman came over and asked us, “What happened?” When we said, “Nothing, we’re just waiting for the bus.”, he looked at us with disbelief. “Come with me.” he said. We were then hidden away from public view in a sheltered tea shack and told to wait there for the bus. We got a feeling of what it must be like to be a celebrity that day!”

How do you fund your travels?

“At the moment we’re living and working in South Korea teaching English in public schools. That’s how we’ve funded most of our travels to date but after almost three and a half years here totally, we’re eager to try out other ways to get funds together. We’re looking in to some ideas to try and earn money online and be location independent. We’re open to doing any kind of work to move around more in the future.”

How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?

“I have Brian as a bodyguard so I don’t really have to worry about it! Haha! Really, I just exercise the same common sense you would anywhere, keep valuables hidden, don’t draw any unwanted attention to myself. As a woman, in some countries this means dressing more conservatively and being respectful of the local culture. Blending in is key.”

What do you think about yourself?

“I think I’m an adventurous person who enjoys change and variety in my life. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to travel. I love trying new foods and having new experiences. I’m a little shy until you get to know me. I also like to be organized and I’m usually the sensible one! I’m inquisitive, I like to learn about and try to understand the culture in the places I visit.”

Wandering On is the travel blog of Brian and Noelle, an adventurous Irish couple who have set out on a life of travel. Through their blog, they share their travel tips, photos, videos and stories to inspire others to get out there and see all the world has to offer.” – Noelle Kelly

Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Noelle.

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