Photo Source: Tonia Hope and Instagram
Meet our newest TCT, British Babe Tonia Hope! She's a full-time Policy Advisor and Travel Enthusiast. Traveling six to ten times a year, she's been to 32 countries and counting. This week Tonia shared with us her best piece of advice for those interested in solo travel, her biggest lesson learned abroad, her favorite destination, and her most memorable travel memory. Want to learn more about Tonia and her travel journey? Keep reading!
Tell us about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? What inspires you to travel?
My name is Tonia Hope. I am a 26-year-old British-Nigerian based in London, England. I currently work a full-time 9-5 job as a Policy Advisor and travel part-time. I love all things travel, personal finance, and food. I have been travelling the world frequently (6-10 trips a year) for the past few years and it is something I love to do and I don’t have any plans on stopping. The excitement of exploring other countries, experiencing other cultures, meeting a diverse range of people, and being able to visit places I have only seen in videos and pictures inspires me to travel. When I travel I feel as though my soul really comes alive, it is definitely what I am passionate about.
To those who are interested in solo travel, but are scared to take that leap, what is your advice for them?
The number one piece of advice I would give to those interested in solo travel would be to feel the fear and do it anyway. Sometimes when I travel I am terrified of traveling to the unknown, whether it is flying across the world or just traveling to a country I have never been to before. However, my curiosity and travel-obsession have pushed me into some great experiences and I have never regretted just giving things a try. I decided many years ago that I would not let my fear of anything get in the way of me embracing the gift that is life and since then my life has been transformed. Also, I would say follow content creators that focus on solo travel, it will make being able to do it seem much more attainable.
What was the biggest lesson you learned abroad?
The biggest lesson I have learned from traveling abroad is to be continuously thankful for everything I have been blessed to have in my life. I have travelled to many countries where it has been highlighted to me that I come from a place of privilege to even be able to travel. The truth is travel is a luxury that not everyone is afforded. This could be for a variety of reasons such as money, circumstance, or family obligations. In reality, travel is unattainable for a large percentage of the world's population. I grew up with my family being able to afford holidays and school trips and I am now in a position where I have a secure job and some spare income for travel. I have been incredibly fortunate with my life circumstances and because of this, I will always have gratitude.
How many countries have you visited? Which country was your favorite and why?
So far I have visited 32 countries. My absolute favorite country would have to be Bali, Indonesia. I visited Bali in January 2020 (right before the brunt of the pandemic hit, phew) to celebrate my 25th birthday and it was no short of the trip of a lifetime. I love Bali for so many reasons! The food was delicious, the locals were so friendly, there was so much to see and do and everything was very affordable. Some of the experiences I had that solidified my love of the country were: going on the Bali swings, being able to feel childlike again was so much fun. Going to a spa and experiencing the 'celebration of flowers'. The 'celebration of flowers' is an experience where a person can relax in a warm bath that is filled with freshly picked flower petals, there is nothing like it. Lastly, being able to visit waterfalls, I never knew nature could be so beautiful.
What is your most memorable travel experience and what made it so memorable?
My most memorable travel experience would have to be the trip I took to India in 2015. In my first year of university, I heard about this programme the British Council was funding for students. The trip was a cultural immersion programme that would last a few weeks. I applied thinking ‘why not’ and was I lucky enough to be chosen out of 5000 applicants (yay!). This trip was so much more than I ever could have ever expected and I was able to create so many lifelong memories (as well as lifelong friends). The most memorable bits of the trip were:
Looking back at the whole trip now, it just seems like a complete dream.
Where else can folks find you?
I am currently on TikTok (ToniaHope) and my Youtube channel is still pending, watch this space. Fingers crossed it will be launched by the summer and will have the same name.
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