Today on Trust the Locals, we feature an interview with a fellow travel blogger, Veronica Pototska! We met Veronica through a group on Facebook, and began following her travel journey by reading her blog, siniciliya.com. Veronica always dreamed to one day own an island. The name ‘Siniciliya’ is a wordplay, combining the name of an Italian island, Siciliya, with Veronica’s maiden name, Sinitsa. From Veronica’s blog: “Siniciliya is a dream island; a place of amazing destinations, perfect outfits and lifestyle. Welcome to this world full of colors and beauty.” One day, when this dream becomes a reality, she will give the name to the island! She has been travel blogging for three years, and is also a photographer, TV host, and owner of Travel Mode On. Read the exciting interview below!
TTL: Have you always loved to travel, or was there a specific experience that motivated you to visit over 50 countries?
VP: Traveling has been my passion from early childhood. I remember reading adventure books and watching movies. Dreaming that someday I would also get the chance to explore the pyramids in Cairo, to touch the soft white sand on deserted islands of the Philippines, to play with a lion, to get lost in the streets of Hong Kong, to see Manhattan from one of its rooftops and to celebrate colorful Holi in India. (now, as a travel blogger, she does all of those things!)
TTL: What resources do you use to plan your trips and ensure everything goes smoothly?
VP: I prefer to use services that have a good reputation and/or client support. For that reason, I like using Orbitz to book my airfare and Booking.com to book my hotels. In my experience, airlines and hotels value the bookings made through these big players. As a result, travelers have more confidence in their travel arrangements.
I also trust other travelers’ reviews on TripAdvisor and personal travel blogs with a lifestyle similar to mine.
I always try to find restaurants that are popular with the locals! They might be located further away from main tourist paths, but it will be worthwhile. If you are looking for a place to eat, choose the one that is full – people go there for a reason.
TTL: How do pack for your travels? Do you bring luggage or a backpack? Do you have a list of essential items you can’t travel without?
VP: I have learned that any journey may not go as it was planned initially, so I always try to bring several outfits in my luggage that will be suitable for different occasions. Although I love shopping in new destinations, I can’t always expect to find something that will work. It is also important to remember that a woman’s travel wardrobe differs a lot from a man’s because different cultures have different demands for our appearance. I always plan in advance and include outfits that fit these demands. My list of essentials definitely starts with my Canon Mark II camera. To me, it’s the most important item to take to any destination. Other important items include my laptop to edit my photos and my smart phone to stay in touch. I also always pack my skin care and sun protection products. (She’s loyal to the Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen line).
TTL: Do you have a favorite place- a city, town, island or country?
VP: I always love going back to India for its amazing people, vibes, and food. I loved the Dominican Republic for its pristine beaches and Ubud in Bali for the purity. I love New York for being New York, the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine for their energy and Spain for the joy.
TTL: Do you prefer the mountains, the beach or another type of landscape?
VP: I am definitely a beach person and I plan to move very close to the beach in a few years!TTL: Do you have any advice for people who want to live a lifestyle similar to yours?
VP: First, be open to new experiences and accept other cultures! Also, when traveling, you have to trust yourself and take good care of yourself. I would also recommend choosing a nice place to stay. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but you should enjoy it and be able to relax. Choose the best local services, foods and merchandise that you are able to- things and places that have a dream or an idea behind them. Then, I guarantee your experience will be unique and different from those you’ll read about in travel guides. I always try to find restaurants that are popular with the locals! They might be located further away from main tourist paths, but it will be worthwhile. If you are looking for a place to eat, choose the one that is full – people go there for a reason.
TTL: Thinking about the accommodations and hotels where you’ve stayed, is there one that stands out as the most beautiful or most luxurious?
VP: I recently returned from the Philippines where I spent a weekend in a very unique place on Bohol Island. The resort was called Tarsier Botanika and it’s located on a cliff facing the Philippine Sea. The owners created a beautiful, exotic botanical garden and only after the plants and trees had grown were the luxurious villas erected. The villas are built with the traditional northern Philippine architecture, and the garden is populated with various statues and large Buddhas from the owner’s private collection.
Rates for Tarsier Botanika start at $230 USD per night.
TTL: Do you have a go-to outfit when traveling by plane?
VP: My go-to outfit depends on the length of my flight. When I travel around Europe, I choose elegant outfits, however if my flight is over four hours, I prefer to wear something comfortable. That way, I can relax on the plane.
You can learn more about Veronica’s journeys and browse her stunning photo gallery by visiting her travel blog, www.siniciliya.com, and by following her on Instagram, Facebook, and on her personal Facebook page.