In her own words, Callie Thorpe is a twenty, nearly thirty-something sassy Welsh gal who loves to travel, cook and write on the internet, and hates coriander (I’m with her on that one).
Last month, Callie jumped aboard the Eternal India Contiki trip. From tiger safaris in Ranthambore National Park to Mumbai’s flower markets and finding the Taj Mahal’s best angles (hint: they’re all good), she explored the most colourful, cultural and beautiful corners of this incredible country.
Now that Callie is back on home soil, we caught up with her on all things relating to travelling solo as a female, body positivity and what really goes down on a Contiki trip.
How did you feel before embarking on your first solo trip?
Even though I am well-travelled I usually take most of my trips either with my husband or to visit friends. This was the first trip where I was going completely on my own and for a long period. I was really excited to do the trip but the day before I was set to fly I did have anxiety set in, specifically about meeting a large group of people, and also surrounding body image issues and confidence. It turned out I needn’t have worried at all, I felt so welcomed and made such good friends with people.
How did you find the group experience and travelling with people you’d never met before?
It was SO much fun! I had reservations about how that would work with a group of all different personalities and ages spending so much time together. But honestly, it truly is what makes Contiki special. By day two we already had started our in-jokes and it took no time at all to make friends. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in ages.
I also got to spend time with everyone at some point or another, as well as hanging out together in a group and it honestly made for the best travel dynamic.
We love the Confidence Corner on your blog; when did you feel most confident on the trip? What are your top tips to feeling confident when travelling?
Honestly I think I felt confident throughout it all, once I got to know everyone I was able to just be myself and have a laugh. My friends in the group were so cool with helping me take photos and getting that perfect Insta snap, and vice versa. On the final stop in Goa I coordinated a photoshoot for three of the girls on the trip, pretending I was the Kris Jenner ‘Momager’ of the trip ha!
What are your top tips for feeling confident on a trip?
Plan ahead – Before I go anywhere I pre-plan all my outfits so I know that I have something I feel happy and comfortable in. I find that feeling good on the outside helps you to feel confident on the inside.
Bright lippy and a killer pair of sunnies – nothing makes me feel more confident than this magic duo. They are the saviour of all sins.
Whilst travelling solo, how did you manage to get such high quality photos? What were your top three most Instagrammable places on your trip?
Taj Mahal – obvs this location because, hello, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Top tip, the side entrance to the Taj Mahal is just as beautiful as the front, and it makes for a beautiful picture if you take it from inside the archway building opposite it.
Patrika Gate – I took a little detour on Free Time to this place after an Indian follower recommended it to me and it was so worth the rickshaw ride.
Mumbai Flower Market – This was so beautiful, so many gorgeous flowers and colours; it was just an Instagrammer’s dream
Earlier this year you launched your incredibly inspiring Instagram initiative #wellnessmyway. Can you explain what it is, why you were inspired to start it and what you want everyone to learn from it?
January can be a tough time of year for people and I wanted to create a space separate from the heavy messaging in the media telling people to be more, do more, and in general change. The idea behind the movement was to create a safe community space to discuss an inclusive approach to wellness, that included people incorporating things into their day that make you feel good, not bad. I wanted people to learn to not be so hard on themselves and I wanted to show that wellness doesn’t have to be just about green smoothies or gorgeous women doing yoga, it’s for everyBODY.
What has travelling in India taught you about people?
Mostly, it taught me that travel brings out the best in people. Being surrounded by new views, colours, sounds, and smells makes people come alive. It also taught me that we are all so different and that is what makes life so beautiful.
What has travelling solo taught you about yourself?
It taught me that I am way more capable than I thought and that you are never too old to make new friends and connections. I am an outgoing person by nature and actually I struggle being alone; solo travel helped me appreciate some alone time and that I actually quite enjoy my own company.