There is no better way to feel inspired than by reading about someone who is smashing it. My INSPIRED interviews are there to motivate you and inspire you, and this month I have mixed it up a bit, by introducing some males in to the mix, Lloyd and Yaya from Hand Luggage Only. These boys are the best, and they inspire me on a daily basis to explore more unknown paths, and to get a flight booked (or two).
Hand Luggage Only is a travel and lifestyle blog written by Lloyd & Yaya, started a only a few years ago, whilst both lads were studying… they had always loved travelling the world and would regularly book any flight out of London for a long weekend away. They would both go anywhere and everywhere that their budget would take them! Travel and photography are their passions and when they started the blog they really wanted to create a space where they could share these with like-minded travellers who are equally in love with travel. The blog has allowed them to make so many new friends, learn from each other and share their passion to experience new places… oh and they love dessert! Boys after my own heart…
1. I am thrilled to be interviewing you guys after following your adventures for years. You have inspired me to visit many a place around the world. How did you start your travel blog Hand Luggage Only?
Ah, thanks so much, Sophie! We’re so honoured you asked us. We started Hand Luggage Only in April 2014, although, we’d started travelling together quite a few years before. We started our blog on an evening when we were both bogged down with assignments, Yaya was mid way through his Masters at the University of Cambridge and I (Lloyd) was on my write up stage of my PhD. We wanted a focus away from our studies and we both felt so passionate about travel, so we bought the domain, set up our blog and never looked backed!
2. What was your background before starting your blog and what inspired you to travel the world for work?
Lloyd: Before starting Hand Luggage Only, I was a full-time student, I’d finished my first degree, then decided to take on a masters and finally a PhD in Medical Geography. I was always interested in the world around us and travel was something that my parents and family really prioritised as I grew up.
Yaya: When we started, Hand Luggage Only, I was studying for my Masters in Mathematics and had worked in professional careers for about 6 years before that as an Investment Banker and Management Consultant. It was long hours, very little sleep and monotonous work that I just didn’t find interesting. I loved travel and it just got to a point where we couldn’t plan any travel as I was working constantly. Now I look back at that time happily as it made me truly appreciate my true passion and to follow my heart.
3. You are always on the go! Where will your trip next trip be taking you, and what’s planned for 2017?
We have quite a few trips for 2017! We’re so excited about the year ahead. Next month we’re excited to visit South Korea, Japan to Bilbao in Northern Spain.
4. I am a sucker for a gadget and invest money in things that I believe will make my adventures somewhat easier, less stressful and efficient. What is your favourite gadget when you are on your travels?
It has to be our cameras. We LOVE photography, it’s on par with our passion to travel! For us, a DSLR that easily connects to your phone is essential, especially if you’re on the road and really want to share photos as quickly as possible.
5. I love food, I eat more or less anything and everything. It’s a passion, and one I can see you two also share with me. What’s your favourite meal, or cuisine?
Lloyd: I could roll off a whole list… how much time do you have? 😉 Okay, If I had to choose it would have to be anything Chocolate based. I’m a sucker for any type of chocolate (it’s my vice).
Yaya: For me it has to be Crème brûlée and panna cotta! I could literally eat these all day!
6. You guys have been on some amazing trips around the world, but what are your five top travel experiences to date? And why….
We always find it so hard to choose favourites… but if we had to choose we’d say;
- Faroe Islands for its incredible nature! It’s only a few hours by plane from London but it really feels like a million miles away!
- Thailand for its incredible nature and friendly people, we had such a great time here.
- The Maldives for a little indulgence! It’s offers some incredible opportunities to swim off the reefs with totally wild animals. There really is no better way to see sea life!
- Norway! We still can’t get the fjords out of our head. It’s such a special place. On our last trip we rented a car and drove through the west coast. It has a dramatic beauty that really is unrivalled in Europe!
- The United Kingdom! London is our home but we’re trying to visit so many more places in our incredible country. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the beauty that we have right on our doorstep.
7. There’s been a lot of criticism about the ‘social media filter’ recently and how we are led to believe these people live ‘perfect’ lives. Do you think it’s important as a blogger to show both the bad times and the good?
Travel is all about experiences and you’re right, sometimes you will have experiences that we’re not as fond on. Honestly, we try to never really focus on negatives (it’s actually something we try avoid in life generally). For example, when we visited Palermo in Sicily, it rained continuously for our whole trip! Like, it didn’t stop once… day or night! At first it got both of us a little down as we always had soggy feet and drenched clothes, but it made us think of new ways to experience the city. We visited loads of small local restaurants and explored indoor places we wouldn’t have thought otherwise – which we loved! There are silver linings in every experience.
8. When it comes to daily struggles there is always a place where you feel most comfortable. Mine is the chair in the window at my mum’s house. Where is your calm place?
Lloyd: For me, it has to be in London! As soon as we land, I instantly feel at home… it’s as if I’ve been given a big hug by the city.
Yaya: Bed! J I’m not much of a long sleeper but there is something really lovely and cosy about being in your own bed.
9. What mantra do you live by?
Lloyd: Be happy. Whenever I do things in life, I always try to ask myself if it will make me, or others around me, Happy. If the answer is yes, I always try my very best to do it!
Yaya: Don’t be scared to say no to things that aren’t right for you. Sometimes it can be hard to say no to things and people in life but it’s really empowering and really built my self-confidence.
10. And finally, I ask everyone this, who is your ultimate travel partner? And you can’t say each other!
Lloyd: Haha! Okay… I would say Amy Schumer! She would have me in hysterics the whole trip.
Yaya: I’d have to say Andy Samberg. He used to be on Saturday Night Live and would give Lloyd’s travel partner a run for giggles!
Check out Lloyd and Yaya in action here and follow them on Instagram. Who would you like to see interviewed next? Let me know in the comments!