Travel Editor Fern O’Shaughnessy interviews travel blogger Brooke Saward, @worldwanderlust, on all things travel.

Last updated
Images by Korng Sok

In a world where the future of travel is uncertain, I felt we deserved some positivity. I reached out to Brooke Saward– @worldwanderlust on Instagram – to share her experiences of solo travel. She is currently running a “stories” series on her Instagram account, in which she regularly releases anecdotes from travelling, and her life. Indeed, Brooke also has a blog, where she posts useful articles on travelling solo and experiencing travel anxiety amongst other things! Originally from Australia, she is currently living in South Africa. Brooke has been all over the world, and her Instagram is both inspirational and refreshingly original. Below, she answers some of my questions about the future of travel, and the highs and lows of her own experiences.


Firstly, I was wondering how exactly your passion for travel began? Was it something that you did with your family, friends, or by yourself?

I was thirteen years old when I went on my first international adventure! I was selected as part of a children’s choir to sing at a film premiere in Hong Kong. Travelling at such a young age really sparked something within me, which is what has inspired me to save my money since a young age to be able to travel. My parents were never wealthy so I’ve been paying for every trip since this age, and I started working at McDonald’s aged 14!

The first time I travelled solo, I was 20 years old. My trip was only three weeks long, just enough to fall completely in love with being on my own. I realised how much more enjoyable it is to travel alone when I didn’t have anyone holding me back (i.e. waiting for friends to be able to join a trip) or to change my interests based on my travel companion. I just wake up every day and see/do as little or as much as I like!


What made you decide to start an Instagram account to document your travel?

I started Instagram way back in 2012 when it was starting to gain momentum. I saw a lot of fashion bloggers using Instagram to document their outfits, but I would be more interested in the destinations behind them. They would be flying all over the world for fashion week (Milan, New York, Paris) and I thought: what if I could do this but show the destination and encourage people to buy experiences, not things?


What is your favourite place you have been and why?

Oh gosh, it changes daily! Some of my favourite places are Morocco (for the culture and kind locals), Russia (for the history, I’m fascinated with Russian aristocracy), and my two favourite cities are Paris (for the pastries, of course!) and New York (it is the place I feel most alive creatively).



Is there a place that hasn’t lived up to your expectations?

Anywhere that people travel for the purpose of taking an Instagram photo (sigh). I think the rise in modern-day travel influencers has led to a lot of people travelling just to take pretty photos. Travel is so much more than that: the food, the culture, the people, the history, the intricacies. But most of all, the connection with other people.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to travel: any places to visit, any budget-friendly tips for students, or how to start a travel blog/Instagram?

If you’re starting a blog or an Instagram: be authentic! There’s so much space in this industry for people who are willing to show the more real/raw side of travel beyond pretty photos.

If you want to travel as a way of expanding your mind/growing into yourself, go to Europe. It is bursting with history, culture and interesting people. Better yet: you just hop on a train and you’re in an entirely different country, having a completely different experience to the day before.

(On a related note, Brooke has a masterclass available online with further details, you can find it here)

Any advice for people who are going to solo travel?

The scariest part is actually booking the ticket. When you land, you will quickly become a problem-solver and there’s nothing you can’t overcome. Before I started travelling solo I was a very shy, introverted person. But when you are forced into situations that you need to figure out yourself (often with limited time), you really grow into yourself and come out of your shell. Solo travel is single-handedly the best thing I have done in my life so far.


I really hope travel becomes purposeful again.


Tips on how to make a budget stretch? Working holidays etc?

Honestly, start a blog! You can make money from views (Google Adsense), hosted accommodation, working with tourism boards, or selling your photography. And if that doesn’t sound interesting to you, there are so many ways outside of blogging to work remotely, especially if you’re a creative type. Think: marketing manager, virtual personal assistant, social media manager, copywriter, photographer, graphics designer… the list is truly endless.


Do you prefer travelling by yourself or with others?

By myself. I have definitely learned over the years which personalities I can travel with and which personalities I clash with. Because I’ve spent so much time travelling solo, doing my own thing, I only really enjoy travelling with laid-back people who will let me take the lead and plan our trip. Nowadays I like to plan less and just wander the streets without purpose or an endpoint, which is most enjoyable when you do it alone.


What do you think the current pandemic means for travelling worldwide?

There will be some major changes to international travel and quite frankly, I welcome them. The number of flights, tourists visiting cities and frequency of travel has become extremely unsustainable for our planet. I hope that after the pandemic people consider more why they are travelling and hopefully travel more meaningfully. For instance, I think many people will go on one big trip a year, instead of a handful of holidays to ‘keep up appearances’. I really hope travel becomes purposeful again.


What is the first place you are looking to visit when it all blows over?

I want to get back to Europe as soon as I can, as I’m launching a travel app called TRIVVY in late 2020/early 2021. I can’t say too much more, but let’s just say Europe plays a key role in its success!


Do you have any tips for staying positive while travelling for extended periods of time?  i.e. dealing with homesickness etc

I think you really have to immerse yourself in wherever you are. Go to museums, watch a live gig, meet locals, try a cooking class… the list is endless. If you feel homesick, think about how fortunate you are to be where you are, and remain present. I always say “I never know when I’ll be back here so I might as well make the most of it!”

And, finally, now you have lived in other countries, has your perception of them changed from when you were just travelling there?

Living in a new country is so much more rewarding than travelling to new countries. I have always wanted to live abroad, but until I had a reason to stay in one place I have kept putting it off. Mostly because visas are quite an ordeal when you travel a lot for work and need your passport.

Since I moved to South Africa I have found a complete sense of calm and am really enjoying getting to know Cape Town on a deeper level. I have always been aware of my white privilege, but living in a country with such deeply rooted racial issues, I am becoming increasingly aware of just how much of a head start I have had. I’m meeting so many wonderful people here of every skin colour, every social background… and it is really shaping my perception of the world we live in. Living here is definitely giving me a deeper understanding than the times I have travelled here and throughout Africa, only to return home to my comfortable way of living. Confronting these realities on a daily basis really forces you to pause, re-educate yourself and advocate for what really matters.


You can follow Brooke on Instragram, at @worldwanderlust for travel inspiration (and envy!), stories, and aesthetically pleasing travel photos. Alternatively, her website (and blog!) is here:

If you enjoyed this, please make sure to check out other articles!

Feeling Alone Abroad

Travel’s Top Picks for 2020

Instagrammable Tourism