Bio: Anatomy of the Travelling Calavera

Obligatory photo to prove I'm not a robot.

Obligatory photo to prove I’m not a robot.

I’m a journalist with two years’ previous experience in the travel industry for leading British travel companies, which has led me to meet some very inspiring bloggers and genuine travel junkies along the way. My own adventures and press cuttings soon began to look a bit tame when I was faced with people who had visited fifty countries and had tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but I also found that the blogging community was really welcoming and supportive.

Basically, I wanted in on the act, especially after attending some great events such as WTM and Travel Massive, so I’ve now challenged myself to write here as well as on my fashion blog.

The tough questions I asked myself before going live:

  • Have I ever been to that travel blogging hotspot, Angkor Wat? Nope.
  • Have I ever referred to myself as a nomad? Definitely not.
  • Can I wax lyrical about backpacking? No, since my backpack has wheels. Hey, I like to keep my options open.
  • Do I have an SLR camera to take fantastic photos of my adventures? I thought it was too heavy and complicated so I bought a Nikon bridge camera (read: cop-out) instead. Half the time I don’t know what I’m doing, but I love experimenting with it.

But then I thought, sod it, I have something to say, and so do a lot of people I know, whose experiences have inspired me to travel more…

Having a few years of insight under my belt including writing about travel for Wanderlust, Hello, Zest and the Huffington Post, amongst others, I’m also able to give you a bit of the inside track when it comes to working with web editors and what not to include in your pitches and features. First insider tip: anyone who includes the words ‘sublime’, ‘behold’, ‘fare’ and ‘plethora’ in their travel writing probably needs to get a grip.

As for the blog name? Calavera means skull in Spanish, and it’s become a recurring icon from the trips I’ve taken, my own experiences and the trips I’m planning. I’ve written plenty of art essays on anatomy over the years, which is another story altogether, and I’m also no stranger to skulls from my background in fashion and lifestyle journalism (I can spot an Alexander McQueen scarf print at 20 paces and I once had great fun interviewing the anatomically-obsessed artist Laurie Lipton). My ideal adventure would be visiting Mexico during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, where skull imagery is celebrated rather than feared. Aside from the Mexican dream, you’ll notice that all things anatomical do tend to come up on the blog, whether that means looking at morbid museums or unusually creepy souvenirs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Fringe Festival Performers and Posters -  Royal Mile Edinburgh

The Fringe Festival introduced me to all kinds of people – like this man glued to a pillar.

So, what weird and wonderful travel experiences have I actually had? Well, so far I’ve…

  • Been white-water rafting in British Columbia with a Welshman called Taffy and walked under a waterfall
  • Taken part in the Glastonbury Sun Dance with druids in Hyde Park, and then we all had some Ben & Jerry’s (it’s clearly a druid favourite)
  • Worked at a Parisian fashion trade show during an unexpected heat wave
  • Discovered that Chinese restaurants in Washington DC do not serve prawn crackers
  • Visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival five years running, and I’m aiming for a perfect ten
  • Tracked down the almost submerged wreck of a boat in Wales that my great grandparents used to sail (they didn’t sink it, in case you’re wondering).

In 2013 my adventures have included riding a Vespa in Rome, waxing lyrical about the UK’s only bone chapel, meeting a tiger in Thailand and seeking out Reykjavik’s best pubs and skull-shaped graffiti, and I can’t wait to see what else comes up along the way.

If you want to talk travel with me then:

  • Feel free to comment on the blog
  • Email me – pollyallen89[at]yahoo[dot]com
  • Find me on Twitter – @misspallen
  • Add me on Google+ (I hear it’s what all the cool kids are doing)

Needless to say, all views held here are my own and not those of my employers. All images, unless stated, are my own, and should not be used without my permission; the same goes for the text. All experiences, even the embarrassing ones, are also my own. I hope you enjoy them too.


4 responses to “Bio: Anatomy of the Travelling Calavera

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