Behind the Blog – Meet Trisa from The Free Passport
Hi! I’m Trisa – 28 year old serial wanderluster, self-taught photographer and creator of the travel blog, The Free Passport. I’m a global health advocate by training, currently working for a global HIV/AIDS organisation – but my true calling lies in visual storytelling. I launched my blog in 2014, originally as a personal place to showcase my pictures. I had hundreds of photos just sitting on my hard drive doing nothing, and the world is too beautiful of a place for pictures of it to be sitting and doing nothing! Two years later, it has since evolved into so much more than I had originally thought was possible. I love the space for exactly what it is – the intersection between my passion for photography, travel and global consciousness. I also love it for what it represents. It is the result of the current chapter of my life. The chapter where I had to rediscover myself in the absence of the things that once defined me. And I couldn’t be more proud of it.
Where are you based/located?
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii and raised in Los Angeles, California, I now live and work in New York City.
What first sparked your love for travel?
I actually didn’t really enjoy traveling when I was younger – I’m not really sure why. But as I started to branch into the field of global health and international development, I began to really appreciate how truly amazing the world is and how you can’t take for granted opportunities you have to see it.
What are some of your favourite countries to visit?
There so many it’s hard to choose! Italy and Greece are two of my all-time favourites but I’m constantly updating my bucket list with new places so I’m sure I have dozen of ‘favourites’ yet to be discovered!
Are there any places you’d tell people to avoid?
My work takes me to some interesting places – places that I wouldn’t necessary recommend, as they aren’t your typical ‘tourist’ destinations. But every place has something special to share and I think each traveller has to make their own decisions!
What destinations are on your bucket list?
Peru! Sri Lanka! Maldives! The list goes on and on..
Do you have any upcoming travel plans for 2017?
Yes! Actually a few days ago my partner-in-crime and I booked our flights for a five-week adventure in Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. If anyone as any tips, please share! It’ll be my first time in the region and I’m so excited!
Do you do any research for your upcoming trips before visiting them?
Absolutely. I admit I’m a type-A planner, though I’m working on being more flexible and go-with-the-flow – because if you’ve ever travelled, you know that things don’t always go as planned! Google Flights, Kayak, and TripAdvisor are my go-to’s for travel planning. I also always buy a travel guide to have with me throughout. I enjoy reading the different recommendations and it comes in handy when you don’t have access to internet or for reading during long flights/bus rides.
What is your favourite memory that comes to mind when you think about your travels? / What is your most favourite photograph that you have taken during your travels?
There are so many! But some of my favourites would have to be from the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and this one taken at the top of Trolltunga in Norway.
I did the hike to Trolltunga with my parents – who weren’t in the best shape (haha). It took us nearly 11 hours to do the 22km roundtrip but it was worth every minute of the view from the top. I was so proud of them!!
Which airline do you prefer to fly with?
No one airline company is perfect but I try to build loyalty those that prioritise their corporate social responsibility.
Tell me your top travel quotes to inspire yourself or other travellers / Any advice for new and aspiring travellers?
Be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. That’s my favourite quote and the mantra I live by. Never be afraid to see more of the world. That may seem easier said than done, given that are very real logistical and financial implications to traveling, right? But in the end, making your dreams a reality will always be worth the investment.
Top things to do on Santorini Island
Visit the town of Oia
This is personally my favourite town in Santorini. It is overwhelming how beautiful the view is from here. I highly recommend staying in this area when visiting Santorini.
Ride a quad bike to Ammoudi Bay
My friend and I accidentally stumbled upon this small village and were amazed to discover it was used for some of the movie Sisterhood of the Travelling pants 2. It is a fishing village and has around 5 cute restaurants with tables looking over the bay. To get here – keep driving through the town of Oia and you will come across a sign directing you where to go. *Beware parking is a nightmare so best to take a scooter or a quad bike!
Visit the Ancient town of Thera
Ancient Thera dates back to the 9th Century BC and has the most amazing views of the Island!
A black sand beach with cute artsy souvenier shops, cafes and restaurants. After a hard mornings shopping, you can spend the afternoon lounging on the beach with free wifi and a food and drinks menu. *Usually 5 euros to rent a lounge chair
Volcanic Crater Tour
A MUST do while in Santorini. The tour includes a boat ride to the island of Nea Kameni where the volcano is located (on a ship – how cool is that!?), there you have the opportunity to walk to the top of the crater, where you get to see Santorini from afar, and briefly learn about the history of the volcano. Afterwards you can go swimming in the hot springs that were created thousands of years ago, then you sail to Thirasia Island, where you can eat in the small taverns near the port, swim, or visit the village of Manolas on the top of Thirasia.
I did my tour with – click here
This beach is well known for its colour, hence the name. It can be reached either by boat or by foot, lounge chairs are available for rent to lie on the beach. Be prepared to pay for one as the sand is very rocky. Awesome place to visit, surrounded by red cliffs and clear water.
Try traditional greek food
When in Greece, you must try traditional food. Santorini was my first stop in Greece and I couldn’t wait to try it all. Baklava is my favourite – a sweet nut filled pastry. If you’re on a budget and can’t dine out for all meals like me, kebabs are only around 2 euros.
Watch the sun set in Oia
Follow the signs in the town of Oia and park yourself up to watch the sun set. It is a breathtaking thing to watch, but I recommend getting their early to secure yourself a spot as it gets quite busy.
Ride a donkey
Last but not least – have a go at the locals mode of transport and ride a donkey!
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – Schloss Neuschwanstein
Whilst visiting a friend in Munich a while back, we took the opportunity to head out on a road trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein – One of the most famous Castles in all of Europe.
Schloss Neuschwanstein was created by King Ludwig II “The Fairy-Tale King’ of Bavaria. Construction began in 1869 and was never finished, due to the sudden death of Ludwig II in 1886. It ended up being used as a model for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The Palace was intended as a private retreat for the King but became open to the public on his death.
The best view of the Castle is from Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge in English), which is just a 10 minute walk from the Castle grounds. Marienbrucke is located over Pöllat Gorge and above a waterfall.
The Castle tours are offered at set times only and have limits on numbers, so I suggest you reserve your tickets online.
Unfortunately we made the mistake of trying to aquire our tickets on arrival and didn’t manage to book a tour until 4pm (we had arrived there at 11am!). Luckily we had noticed a sign for the Tegelberg-cable car on our way in, and decided to venture in that direction.
This ended up being a fantastic journey with spectacular views from atop the Ammer Mountains.
The ride to the top takes about 10 minutes and takes you to a height of 2,150 meters, with marvellous views of Schloss Neuschwanstein on your way. From here you can either perch yourself at the cafe, watch paraglider’s jump off into the horizon, or wander around the tracks.
Exploring the ancient town of Thera on Santorini Island
On the Island of Santorini, The ancient town of Thera (otherwise known as Thira) is located 360m high on Messavouno Mountain, between Kamari and Perissa Beach. You can either drive from Kamari – I recommend taking an ATV instead of a car, as the road is VERY narrow – or walk up the mountain from Perissa Beach.
Thera is only accessible by foot from a certain point, but the stunning view makes the hike worth it!
Ancient Thera consists of Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine ruins. You can wander around these cobblestoned pathways, following footsteps from settlements as early as the 9th century BC!
For only €2 entry – I highly suggest adding Ancient Thera to your Santorini Itinerary!