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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Sri Lanka Hill Country – go for the tea, stay for the curries​

Sri Lanka is foodie heaven and a vegan paradise

It’s mid-morning and the train to Nuwara Eliya is climbing through the lush, green countryside on its way to the hills of Sri Lanka’s tea country. Since I boarded at Haputale the scenery has changed completely and I find myself jostling with other passengers, hanging precariously out of the open carriage door as we wind our way through the undulating, rough country risking my life to get the perfect photo. Yes, the tea plantations are impressive and that is why I’m making the journey, but it’s the manicured terraces brimmed to capacity with vegetable plots that are really getting my attention. I had no idea that Sri Lanka produced such an abundance of fresh produce but then I suppose there’s a reason why the national dish is rice and curry and most of those curries are made from vegetables.

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