My name is Tilly, also known as Tiahli, and I apparently love puns.
Who am I?
I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to figure that out. So far I’m a polyglot, actor, dancer, singer, psychologist, yogi, traveller, writer… Is there a word for the combination of all those things?
My first time really living away from home was when I was sixteen and went on a two month exchange to Paris through my high school, which proved to me the importance of immersing yourself in a culture to perfect a foreign language. I was young, though, and I didn’t really get the chance to make the most of being in France and travel, but I did come back home with my French pretty much fluent.
I was lucky enough to get to travel a fair bit with my family growing up. My Mum was a travel journalist for a long time and she fed me thrilling stories of all the places she visited.
As I grew older I craved the adventure of figuring it all out for myself. So in 2016 I did just that, packing up to study for a semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain. This time, I was determined not only to perfect my Spanish, but to see as much as possible. I’d planned to travel for a few months before my exchange, squeeze in as many trips as I could during the semester and then go back home, but I fell so in love with being abroad that I kept delaying my return date, amounting to a beautiful, challenging, life changing year spent exploring.
As a French, Spanish and psychology University student from Auckland, New Zealand, it was amazingly refreshing to use my degree all the time. Back home, being so far away from Europe and the rest of the world, my opportunities to do this were few and far between, but I chatted in French and Spanish every day, making so many friends from every corner of the world in Salamanca. I spent two and a half months working in a hostel in Barcelona where I was once again blessed to meet many a beautiful soul.
I learned so much about the world and myself, figuring out what I actually wanted to do with my degree (become a translator one day!) but, more importantly, that before completing it I actually wanted to pursue another dream I’d had since I was a toddler… so after working in Barça I auditioned for a performing arts school in Cheltenham, England, and I’ve now lived here for almost three years. From July 2020, I’ll be a fully fledged dancer/singer/actor ready to take on the world… and of course, keep writing about it.
Why the blog?
If I’m honest, the blog has partially selfish motives. As I mentioned above, I’ve always been one to juggle several dreams at once. Creating a travel blog or being a travel journalist was one of those dreams for a long time. Now that I’ve actually experienced the highs and lows of it, and have settled down once again in one spot, I experience wanderlust pretty much all the time, so writing about the places I saw lets me relive some of those experiences.
I’ve read a lot of articles that paint travel as luxurious and carefree, and while it can be, as a student I often experienced a lot of the lows – but these were what helped me learn and figure things out. I constantly made and still make mistakes travelling (and in life in general – I mean, who doesn’t?), and often reflect on how I might have done things differently at the time. Hopefully anything I share here will help other students or travel wannabes going on a similar sort of adventure. If all else fails, hopefully you’ll stick around anyway for some more stellar puns.
If you have a moment, check out my most recent articles, featured in the following publications: