Every one of us likes to travel, discover new places or just relax on the beach. On the way, you always meet the best people and some of us have made friends for life. This has proven a bit more difficult this year. Slowly, our fingers are itching and we would actually like to go somewhere new. Time to get some travel inspiration. And where better to do that than on Instagram? We've put together the best travel blogs of 2020, which really whet our appetite for summer, sun, sea and beaches!
Next up in our travel blog series The Ones To Follow: backpack guru Manouk from 'Bunch of Backpackers'! Manouk writes her blogs mainly in English, but for her Dutch readers she also set up a special Dutch Corner. If you like adventure, freedom and unusual destinations, 'Bunch of Backpackers' is the place to be. Manouk has already visited around 70 countries!
Introducing: Manouk of Bunch of Backpackers!
Hi Manouk! Can you tell us something about yourself and your blog?
Hi! My name is Manouk! I'm 34 years old, work as a doctor and live in beautiful Rotterdam. Travelling has been a passion since a young age. I especially enjoy traveling spontaneously, with my backpack and tent and with lots of freedom and excitement! I've been able to visit about 70 countries including a 3-week trekking in the Everest region in Nepal, the Transmongolie Express and the Silk Road overland.
The last few years I also travelled to relatively less visited, but very beautiful destinations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Tajikistan, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan and Azerbaijan. These countries have a surprising amount to offer! Did you know, for example, that Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt? And that in Sierra Leone you have the most beautiful beaches where you can also surf pretty nicely?
In 2013 I started my blog 'Bunch of Backpackers' (www.bunchofbackpackers.com) on which my stories, tips and photos are bundled. Bunch of Backpackers has become one of the more famous international solo female adventure blogs! Sometimes I get a message that someone has booked a trip to a certain destination inspired by my stories on Instagram (@manoukbob). I love to hear that!
You have quite a few countries on your list! After so many trips, the lockdown must have been tough on you. Where were you when the Netherlands went into lockdown and how did you experience this?
I was at home in Rotterdam. I won't forget the quiet streets and the empty supermarkets. I was also impressed by the impact of the lockdown in the Netherlands on all kinds of fronts. Personally I didn't experience the lockdown as very stressful.
How did you spend your time during lockdown?
I'm in training to be a pulmonologist and during that time I worked on the Corona team at my hospital. It was a very special and turbulent time at the hospital. When I was at home I was busy refurbishing my home, running, online yoga, watching tv shows and reading.
Did you find it difficult - despite the challenges in the hospital and the chores at home - not being able to travel and having to stay at home?
It was in Accra, Ghana (the last destination of a 4 month trip) when someone first asked me if I had heard about the Corona virus. Not long after I came home, The Netherlands went into lockdown. Because I had just had a beautiful, long journey behind me and was busy in the hospital, staying home was no problem for me. I didn't really think much about travelling during that period. Now it is slowly starting to tickle again and there are already enough travel ideas in my head for the near (or far?) future.
Was one of your flights cancelled because of the corona crisis? How did the airline handle it?
Luckily, I didn't have any flights for future trips.
Was your flight cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak? Read more about your rights in case of a cancellation due to COVID-19.
What do you miss most about travelling?
I think the variety and capturing the beautiful moments on your journey. Travelling really gives me a kick, and it's exactly those memories that I often hold on to for weeks or months! Capturing these moments in photos is what I have missed the most so far.
What do you miss least about travelling?
Sometimes you have unpleasant situations while traveling: (sexual) harassment, theft, lost luggage, dangerous situations, scams (attempted) etc. Luckily this happens sporadically. In the end, some of these situations are also instructive and shape you as a traveller.
What was your longest flight delay and how did it affect your journey?
My longest flight delay was during the flight from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Cancun in Mexico. There was a technical defect in the plane, which caused us to spend many hours on the ground. I was supposed to celebrate my birthday in Mexico, but because of this delay I celebrated my birthday on the plane.
How sour! Did you know that you can claim up to €600 in compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight? That would have been an appropriate birthday present...
Yeah, I've only discovered that in the last few years! It's a shame! I finally received €600 compensation for my Mexico flight (happens to be via your website!).
Was your flight, like Manouk's, delayed or cancelled? Flight- Delayed will gladly assist you! We take care of everything with the airline and make sure that they cannot ignore your passenger rights, so that you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Simply fill in the details of your flight and we'll let you know immediately whether you can claim compensation for your delayed or cancelled flight! You will immediately find out how much money you can claim.
We would like to thank Manouk for her participation in The Ones To Follow 2020 and hope that she will be able to travel again soon to make beautiful stories! Curious about her travel stories and photos? Check out one of our favourite articles she shared on her blog below:
Got the travel bug, too?
Did the interview with Manouk get you in the mood to book a trip or explore a new country? Of course it's a bit more difficult this year, but it's certainly not impossible. And don't forget: even if your flight is cancelled because of the coronavirus, you're still entitled to a full refund of the fare! Do you need help with that? Then quickly and easily check your flight in our free claims calculator and we'll make sure you get your rightful refund.
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