Hi I’m Kiara!
Writing, travel, and photography are three of my greatest passions in life.
I was born and raised in one of England’s most famous university cities, Cambridge, but I now live in the medieval English town of Shrewsbury, famous for being the birthplace of Charles Darwin. Much as I love my hometown, I satisfy my passion for travel by escaping as often as I can.
I’ve been travelling regularly since I completed my English Literature degree at Chester University, but it wasn’t until 2006 that I discovered the joys of solo, independent adventure. Although I don’t always travel solo nowadays (my boyfriend Stu likes to accompany me on trips as often as he can) I still prefer the freedom of planning my own itineraries. And this is why I blog primarily about independently organised adventures.
I also write about budget travel (although this isn’t limited solely to staying in hostels and eating street food, much as I love both of these!), about enjoying the great outdoors, connecting with nature, and about using travel to explore my full potential and to face my fears. I’ve skydived over Fox Glacier in New Zealand, mountain-biked down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia, and battled through altitude sickness on a hike through the Cordilleras Blancas in central Peru.
Equally at home in big cities as I am in remote mountain villages, I always makes it my mission to learn as much as I can about local food, culture and customs, and am passionate about seeking out authentic and unique experiences wherever I go.
Aside from two stints of long-term travels to Southeast Asia and South America, using redundancy money from two separate jobs, I fit all of my travels around my full-day day job in local government administration. When I’m not busy working on new material for Gallop Around The Globe (which I’ve been running since October 2013), I can usually be found hiking up mountains, getting lost in the cobblestone streets of my favourite cities, making friends with a furry feline or two, photographing cacti, or grazing on olives and cheese.
And if you’re wondering where the blog name came from, my surname is “Gallop.” Simple as that 🙂
Here are a few random facts about me and some of my greatest achievements and experiences:
- My first trip abroad was to Denmark when I was 11 years old. I took and passed my Legoland driving test, even though I didn’t manage to figure out that in order for the brakes to work, you had to take your foot off the accelerator pedal. I like lego now more than I like driving! On our road trips, Stu does the driving and I manage the itinerary and navigation.
- I got made redundant from a long-term job in the telecommunications industry in 2005, and decided to use (most of) my redundancy money to take a 6-month solo backpacking adventure around South East Asia – even though I’d never travelled alone (or independently) before, and had zero confidence in myself. It’s on this trip that I really fell in love with travel and with all the lessons it can teach us. It was also on this trip that I started my first travel blog. You can read about my experiences here.
- I cycled the entire stretch of the Adriatic coast from Venice to Porec (northern Croatia) in 8 days even though I’d not done any training, and the only bicycle I’ve ever owned in my adult life is an old BMX which I bought second-hand for about £40!
- Whilst we’re on the subject of cycling, I mountain-biked down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia, even though I’d never ridden a mountain bike before.
- I skydived over Fox Glacier in New Zealand, and to this day I still don’t know just how I plucked up the courage to do so. But I’m damn pleased I did!
- Wherever I travel to I will always try to come back with a photograph of a cat or a lizard or a monkey…or preferably all three!
- I’m a little bit obsessed with cactus, blueberries, and cheese.
- My favourite Christmas movie is A Muppet Christmas Carol. I watch it religiously every Christmas and it never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit.
- My favourite childhood movie (and one I still love just as much today) is Labyrinth, probably because Sarah is basically me when I was younger; I had so many fantastic adventures without ever leaving my back garden. Your imagination is a wonderful thing when you’re nine years old.
- One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new city is head to its highest vantage point to gaze upon it from above. Oh and check out some of the food at its local market.
- My favourite cuisines are Thai, Japanese, Greek, and Indian (specifically southern Indian), and if we ever meet for a drink, mine’s a fresh coconut with a straw, a strong coffee, a red wine or a dark ale – depending on the occasion.
And finally, if you’re wondering where to head after reading this, you can check out “where I’ve been” at the top of this page or alternatively, here are a few of my most popular posts:
“Travel is not reward for working; it’s education for living.”
If you would like to follow along with my adventures, you can do so on a variety of social media channels.
Alternatively, if you’d like to ask me something specific, or if you’d like to work with me, please use the contact form below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.