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I have been thinking for a while about my blog – I love doing it and I really enjoy the writing etc. However what do I want to get out of it – what do I want achieve? I think we travel bloggers all have our various agendas – we obviously love travel and I assume want to share that love with others and inspire them to visit perhaps new destinations they hadn’t considered (or perhaps even heard of!). My geographical knowledge is certainly improving!

But as well as inspiring others I want to connect – the social side of the blogging world is fantastic. I am meeting people (ok well virtually meeting) people from all walks of life. of all ages, all over the world.

So I want to set up ‘A Virtual Cuppa’ – basically it is me sitting and writing and sharing a load of stuff about travel once a month that isn’t necessarily a ‘how to get to…’ ‘all about…”10 tips for…’ type post. So this is my first post in the new series “A virtual cuppa – January 2017.”

I would love it if people took part – get the kettle on, make a cuppa and lets chat!!

Favourite blogs

I read loads of travel blogs (literally millions) and so far this month these are my favourite posts:

  • The one I wish I had written:

“100 creative travel tips for visiting Europe” by

Genius – I read it and thought it was terrific whilst simultaneously kicking myself for not coming up with this idea myself.

  • The best video – I love their 60 second videos!! (And their site)

“Ha Long Bay in 60 seconds” by

This is on our bucket list for this year and their write-ups and videos are really making me look forward to going!

  • The best animal encounter

“Tracking chimpanzees in Uganda” by reflectionsenroute – I loved this post and the photographs are stunning!

  • The one that made me hungry!
A Virtual Cuppa - March 2017

Recently Alex from MyLifeLongHoliday took a great gourmet food tour around Alicante – and not only tried some great food but also learnt a lot about the history of the place too! My kind of tour – food and history!

  • The one with the most amazingly beautiful scenery 

New Zealand – definitely somewhere we hope to get to once we are a bit closer in Australia. And reading posts like this by momentumtravels only makes me more determined! Fjordland on the South Island is quite simply stunning. Don’t just take my word for it – go and see for yourself!!

  • The inspirational one

Angie and her husband from FeetDoTravel recently sold all their belongings and have started a life of travel. This is something I really want to do one day – at the moment we have a dog so it isn’t an option but one day it will! This is her post all about how they made the decision to sell everything and go!

What have been your favourite blog reads this month? 

Pet peeve of the month

Anyone that knows me will already have a fairly good understanding of my difficult relationship with Instagram. I cannot bear the like/unlike games that go on. But I am ignoring it and building on my followers at a steady rate (I get how important the numbers are for companies – and I would really really really like to work with travel companies and tourist boards etc so I am on it!!)

BUT I have an even bigger issue – and I see it every day. Why do some people (ok its usually women in their 20’s) have to stand with their backs to the camera??????? And if I see another hat I will scream! Surely this ‘look’ or ‘pose’ or whatever it is called has been done to death??? On principle I refuse the like these pictures. So there.

pet peeve

UNESCO World Heritage Site of the month

I drive my daughter mad with my love off all things UNESCO. I have focussed on their list of World Heritage Sites because well it is a pretty good list! Though I know there are some amazing places missing off it. And I understand that some countries are able to protect their heritage easier than others but I still enjoy visiting the sites!

6 Scenic Amtrak Train Trips to Take in the USA

I am endeavouring to visit at least one a month (and if I can’t I will pull one dragging and screaming out of the archives) – this month it was SALTAIRE.

It was a grand day out!

For now just enjoy the photographs!!!

The countdown to Australia

This month my husband finally received his nursing registration in principal for Australia. Good job really as he needs to start looking for employment! So if you didn’t know already we are heading off to a land down under. I am 50 this year so its not quite as easy as it was in my 20’s to just get a job and jump on a plane. We had to apply for a visa (and jump through all sorts of hoops!)

I am awaiting confirmation of our dog’s rabies vaccination – hopefully it was a success so she will be ready to fly in 6 months. (Note – she passed!!!) And I have to start the process of getting teacher registration too. Unfortunately I can’t stop work and just travel the world quite yet – one day though!

Top  3 Instagram posts of the month

I love beautiful photographs and you can find some of them on my Instagram – these were my top 3 for the past 4 weeks!

 Travel plans this month

We are heading to Denmark in February. I have wanted to visit Copenhagen for a long time and we will also get the opportunity to pop over to Sweden (another country visited – do you do the counting thing? I do – can’t help it)

But best of all I am visiting an old friend in Aarhus – we met 27 years ago (I look so young!!) when we worked as au pairs in France. I have visited her once before (what a great time that was too!) and she saw me in London nearly 21 years ago just after my daughter was born.

See what I mean about travel and meeting people and making lifelong friends!

A Swiss train journey to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe

So watch out next month for some inevitable posts all about Copenhagen, Malmo and Aarhus!! Excited muchly!

a photograph of Copenhagen
Copenhagen in the 1800’s


 If I won the lottery – dream destination/experience of the month!

This month my attention has become drawn more and more and more towards Iceland. It just looks amazing. The best site I have found for comprehensive posts about Iceland is – looking at the beautiful photographs makes me want to hop on a plane immediately! Pop over and follow fullsuitcase on Instagram

Have you been? Was it fantastic? If you had unlimited funds (if you do – can I have some) where would be your first destination?


A Virtual Cuppa


Author: Tracy

Over the last 50 years I have lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to many more. I enjoy exploring and learning about new places and meeting people on my travels. History, reading, photography, nature and wildlife are my interests and I am ALWAYS researching and planning my next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, I share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help YOU travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information.

61 thoughts on “A Virtual Cuppa – January 2017

  1. Dominique McConnachie says:

    such a good idea! Loved this post, much easier for me to keep up with all your blogging now haha. Keep up the good work. Xx

  2. Alex says:

    I’d like the list, I’d like the list! Me! Pick me! *has hand in the air, jumping off seat*
    The virtual cup of tea was fab, and thanks for including me, I feel very honoured.
    Look forward to next months!!

  3. Jurga says:

    A great idea for a post, Tracy. So much inspiration! Thanks for featuring us, and if you need any tips on how to plan an affordable trip to Iceland, I’m happy to help! Really. Tell me your budget and I’ll tell you if you can do it. It can be much more affordable than you think. In the meantime, have fun in Denmark!

    • Tracy Collins says:

      Thanks Jurga. Time is also against us as I have only 2 weeks not accounted for between now and July and when I make it to Iceland I want it to be in winter – when I do get a chance to go I will definitely be consulting with you!

  4. Katie says:

    Firstly, I love this post idea! It is always nice to catch up and read about bloggers personal lives and thoughts. Secondly, thanks for the mention! So happy to hear you enjoyed our Europe post!
    We definitely share the same Pet Peeves! This like/unlike is crazy, our instagram number can jump by the hundreds over a few days!! And the hattttts!!!!

    Oh I would love to visit more of the UNESCO sites – have you got yourself the pass? We want to see some before we move, what are your best recommendations?!

    • Tracy Collins says:

      Thanks Katie!

      We haven’t got a pass unfortunately for the UNESCO sites – my top 3! Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey top top top we loved it! Saltaire is fantastic and then third…mmm hard….I think maybe the Forth Rail Bridge in Edinburgh! Kew Gardens would probably be in there but its a while since i was last there. We made it to about 15 of the UK sites last year.

  5. Garth says:

    Thanks Tracy for mentioning our Ha Long Bay video 🙂 Very happy you like our 60 second videos!! I’m going to check out some of your other suggestions, oh and great photos from Saltaire!

  6. Angie (FeetDoTravel) says:

    I love this idea, it’s genius! It’s simple but so lovely and a wonderful way of getting to know you a little more and about what you like – brilliant! Thank you so much for saying #FeetDoTravel was an inspirational post as well and I hope that your dog’s rabies injections are all good so that’s one thing off your list towards Australia!! Looking forward to reading more of your virtual cuppa’s each month! #feetdotravel

  7. Maria says:

    First of all – thank you for including me!! So happy to ‘turn you on’ to New Zealand 🙂
    I am so with you on those instagram posts with young girls (usually with perfect outfits and hair) with their backs to the camera. Everybody knows you never look that perfect when you’re traveling, because that’s just the nature of it..
    Finally, what a cool post! Definitely one I’ll be looking forward to the next edition of 🙂

    • Tracy Collins says:

      Thanks Maria – I loved your post! So much so that I have explored the possibility of spending some time in NZ! Was really happy to discover that as we hold Australian PR we can live and work in NZ too! So that is our intention. Thank-you so much for that article – really inspired me.

  8. Katy says:

    Love this virtual kitchen table chat Tracy. I too dream of the Northern Lights! Wishing you a great time in Demark and letting you know Erin (from Oregon Girl) has the most amazing tips – I have used them myself. Also, I’m here for you if you need any info on Australia – especially Melbourne. What an exciting time for you! Thanks for joining us on #farawayfiles

  9. Travel Lexx says:

    Love the post idea! I have read a few posts on Instagram and a few female bloggers simply don’t feel comfortable enough facing the camera apparently but I get that it’s not for everyone. I love facing away from the camera and it’s definitely my standard pose! Look forward to next month’s post!

    • Tracy Collins says:

      Thanks for reading and your comment – the back to the camera thing is more the fact it seems to be the standard look for a lot of girls – it gets a bit tedious but thats just my opinion!Sometimes I think it works well – when there is a great view!

  10. Oana says:

    Such a great idea, Tracy. I have been to Copenhagen, Malmo (you must go if you are in Copenhagen) and Iceland and they are all great travel destinations, my favorite being Iceland. If I won the lottery I will just quit my job and travel the world without looking back. Looking forward to next month’s post.

  11. Lisa says:

    Nice change to pace with this one. I check out the other suggestions you made for other Blogger’s post. Nice to get to know you better as well. Your right about the follow/unfollow, I don’t bother to unfollow…no time. Happy travels!

  12. Jenn | By Land and Sea says:

    I love that you mention the girls with their backs to the camera on IG! At first, I liked the idea of those photos. But, after seeing them 5 million times over, I’m so tired of them I could scream. I too have an interesting relationship with Instagram. For me, not only is the follow/unfollow game irritating, but coming up with catchy captions and hashtags seems all too time consuming for my schedule. I’ve nearly dropped off that site over the last few months. Anyway, I love the idea of your chat post. Can’t wait to see what comes of it!!

    • Tracy Collins says:

      That is exactly how i feel – I was making faces every time I saw one! (about 300 a day arghhh!). I have to really push myself to keep using IG!

      Glad you liked my post! thank-you

  13. Erin Gustafson says:

    What a fun idea for an ongoing series! I will admit that I am currently obsessed with Morocco from Packing my Suitcase posts – such beautiful pictures! I am happy to help with all things Copenhagen and even to meet for a cuppa! Let me know. Cheers, Erin #FarawayFiles

  14. SamH Travels says:

    Fantastic Tracy! I love this idea and you have made some great choices for the best posts this month 😉 Exciting times ahead for your move to Australia. It’s going to be fun reading about it.

  15. Shona says:

    I love the Virtual Cuppa Tracy, it makes me feel like we are actually meeting on some level of cyber space. I’m an Aussie so I’m thrilled you’ll be making my country home for a while. Enjoy it!

  16. Barry says:

    Hey good stuff – I enjoyed to informal chat style of the post and you covered some interesting points about blogging. To be honest i’m still not up to speed with Instagram and still need to learn a thing or two. Good look with AUS. I have been lived here on and off since leaving the UK in 2008.

  17. Jonny (daisythebus) says:

    Very interesting idea for a post! Thanks for introducing me to some travel bloggers that I wasn’t previously aware of.

    And I’m with you on the Instagram thing – I am trying, but I just don’t get it. I must admit that I laughed out loud reading your objections to the “backs to the camera” thing – I’ve noticed that too, but thought it was just a personal peeve of mine.

    Have fun in Denmark – we’ll be heading there too later this year (although not to Copenhagen). Greetings from Luxembourg


  18. Sarah says:

    I feel like I need to defend the pictures of peoples backs!! I take millions of them because I’m usually trailing behind my traveling companion because I’ve stopped to take a picture or film something. hahaha. It’s either their backs or their faces being annoyed at me for taking too long 😛 Both of which I have examples of!. Love this idea for a post! excited for the next one!

  19. Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) says:

    I really enjoyed your virtual cuppa, Tracy! I do love finding out what people love and hate about blogging and social media. Your travel plans for the next few months sound really exciting. I’m desperate to go to Denmark and I’ll be looking forward to reading your post about Saltaire – it’s been on my list ever since seeing the brilliant David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy a few years ago. #FarawayFiles

  20. Mini Travellers says:

    I love this way of rounding up. Saltaire was just up the road from where I used to live. I hope you have a lovely time there. I really enjoyed Copenhagan, it is just sooo expensive! #MondayEscapes

  21. David says:

    Fantastic idea for a post Tracy, it sometimes nice just to read bits and pieces. All the best with Australia, I bet that is super exciting! And a trip to Denmark and Sweden coming up is great! I once lived in the south of Sweden as a kid so it holds a special place in my heart. PS. Totally agree about the instagram poses!!!

  22. CatherineRose || La Vie En C-Rose says:

    I like this idea! I always have trouble corralling round-up type posts. I have to say, I’m totally frustrated with Instagram at the moment too!!! I hate it that people follow you, wait for you to follow them back, and then unfollow you! How rude is that? It makes me feel like I’m on a really annoying treadmill.

    By the way, it’s so wonderful that you’re still in touch with your friend from au pairing in France! I just moved away from France and I’m missing my circle of friends, but I hope we’ll be able to keep in touch for years to come as you have done. #FarawayFiles

  23. Siddharth and Shruti says:

    Loved your blog post! We went to Iceland for our honeymoon and loved it! You should definitely go 🙂 We get frustrated with Instagram as well. Everytime we see an account with big numbers follow us, we know that they are going to unfollow us a few days later. Does not matter whether we interact with them or not which is really sad.

  24. Kreete says:

    What a fantastic idea! Well done on your husbands nursing registration. There are plenty of jobs going around in here so you two should be sweet! I do know what you mean about the instagram photos with a back to the camera, but sometimes it’s not a pose, but just a photo taken of a person in front of you. I know this is what I do! And I think landscapes look so much better with a human element to it. 😀

  25. ThriftyTrails says:

    Great post idea! I am an offender to your pet peeve! Oops. I take pictures of the back of me (sometimes with a hat on) because I don’t think I am photogenic. It’s easier to pose when I don’t have to worry about my smile and face angle, etc. The selfies are reserved for my personal Instagram normally too. Your move to Australia sounds so exciting! What a great way to get a change of scenery and adventure 🙂

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