Talking Travel

Meet Gaelle De Friendt a passionate solo traveller and self-confessed travel addict. She left her job in the automotive sector to develop ‘Girls on Travel’ after realising that platforms for women-only travel groups were nearly non-existent. Through this platform, Gaelle enables every woman, no matter what age, to live her passion for solo travel with like-minded people. She wants women to connect and feel empowered through incredible discoveries and people. Here she tells us a bit more about her mission, her values and her travel style.

Tell us a little about yourself and what’s your mission?

My name is Gaëlle, founder of Girls on Travel, connecting and empowering women with incredible trips. The company organises the whole programme with fixed travel dates. As a solo woman you can book the trip, and from the moment 3 other women booked it the trip is confirmed and you meet your fellow travellers at the destination country. Groups are maximum 12 people to keep it cosy. Programmes always include a mix of activities and free time to explore further. Hotels are 3-4* category. All women are welcome but we focus on 30-60+.

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A dinner date with a dragon

No trip to the Indonesian island of Komodo would be complete without visiting the famous dragons but be warned, when a dragon gets a whiff of its first meal in 3 months you’d better get out of the way!

 

Apparently, the Komodo dragon only eats once every three months, so there was much excitement when our boat moored at Rinca Island in the Komodo Nationa Park, home to around 1,500 of these monitor lizards, as they were in the middle of a long-awaited meal – a sight that was very rare to see. In fact, we’d already been warned that there was no guarantee of even seeing a dragon, let alone watching them feed, so I was a little unprepared for what I was about to experience.

 

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One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster

Actually, it was two, but then I wouldn’t have been able to use the line from that famous 1984  (is it really that old?) song by Murray Head!

This was an obvious starting point for my first trip to Thailand last year and I don’t mind admitting that I was more than a bit nervous about exploring Bangkok alone. I’m from the generation that didn’t really do the whole gap year thing, in fact, I don’t know any of my friends who took time out to travel in our late teens or early twenties. We all finished school went to college or to work and then aspired to get onto the property ladder!

But you hear so much about Bangkok – how it’s full of young backpackers partying up a storm, how unsafe it is, how you can buy or sell anything, and of course about the rather dubious nightlife.  Even so, I felt as though I had to take a couple of days to see it even if my expectations were rather low.

But you hear so much about Bangkok. Was it safe for me to explore alone?

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Caught up in a caiman face off

Think a canoe trip in the Pantanal region on Brazil is a quiet affair? Think again!

(Visiting the Brazil stand at the World Travel Market yesterday made me think back to this most memorable of days during my solo trip to this incredible country)  

Today we’re talking reptiles and mammals and despite the night safari being cancelled due to high winds, the 7am 4km walk through the neighbouring area showed up a whole array of strange and exotic creatures. That may sound like an early start to some of you, but believe me, it’s impossible to sleep past 5am as a cacophony of birds, ably led by the extremely loud and ubiquitous chaco chachalaca, shake you out of your bed whether you’re ready or not. (Side note here – I am awarding the chaco chachalaca my ‘how to big yourself up’ award as it has a fabulous name that sounds like a samba step and a call like nothing you’ve ever heard before yet it is the dullest and most boring looking thing you’ve ever seen. The thing is, everyone knows it and it is completely unforgettable  – a great job of self-publicity that we could all learn from!)

Back to the morning walk and it wasn’t long until we came across howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, yellow armadillo, marsh deer, and South American coati.

 

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