a wish to travel far away and to many different places
“a woman consumed by wanderlust”
Here at Grow Gorgeous we’ve well and truly got the travelling-bug, and we’ve been looking for some inspiration. If you are too, look no further than Andra Oprea, a travel-blogger who, with her husband, takes incredibly beautiful photographs to document their trips. We chat to her about the most magical place she’s ever visited, how she takes such incredible photos and her top packing tips , get ready to feel inspired…
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Andra, I am 34 years old and married to the most wonderful man on the planet. I’m passionate about photography and I’m going through a mid-life crisis that’s making me develop a weird personality that manifests itself through my pictures! Sometimes ordinary and sometimes glamorous, sometimes cranky and sometimes calm and peaceful. I sometimes tend to take things too seriously, but I usually try to have a relaxed and laid back attitude towards life – I prefer to smile!
When did you first get the travel-bug? What made you fall in love with it?
I think our first trip to Thailand was a turning point. From then on I developed an insatiable appetite for travelling and experiencing the world first hand. It’s a bit of a paradox, because I think what actually made me start this journey will probably end it too. Whilst I was in Asia, I met some of the most amazing people and saw some of the most incredible sights. The trip made me start to reflect on my own life and helped me make peace with myself, become more relaxed and become less judgemental of others.
What’s your favourite holiday memory you have?
Kenya, mainly for two reasons: it was our honeymoon trip and it was our childhood dream to go on a safari in Africa.
Do you have any top tips for travelling?
My only advice is don’t pack your prejudice when you are going on a trip – open yourself to new experiences and just live!
Long-haul flights can be hell. Do you have any advice making them as bearable as possible?
Wear comfortable clothing, don’t forget to take your neck pillow and try to get as comfortable as you can without inconveniencing others. Drink lots of water and do some light stretching when you get the chance. In general, we prefer flights with more stops to longer flights with no stops, so whenever we get the chance we choose those!
Do you “pack light” for your trips? What are your hair and beauty essentials?
Getting from Coron to Jaipur the way we choose to do it may not be the fastest or least tiring way but it sure is the best way to travel if you like long tiring journeys 😂 So, after five days, one ferry, many tuk-tuks, 4 planes and an Indian taxi we made it to #incredibleindia 😉 Because we made the ultimate sacrilege and only planned a two days stay in Jaipur, we wrote an "what-to-do-in-one-day-in-Jaipur" kind of article 😀 And i also know that you've seen this photo a couple of times before but it's one of my favourite. Hawa Mahal rulllzz in terms of beauty 😍 (so new article online, link in Bio)
We try to pack as light as we can and usually we successfully squeeze all our stuff into just one checked-in bag. I always pack anti-dandruff shampoo, face cream, night serum, face scrub, hair oil, nail polish, makeup remover and of course sun cream.
Whats your dream holiday destination?
I dream of going to South America for at least 6 months so that I can experience as much as possible!
Tips for taking amazing vacation photos?
We've been to Vietnam two times already and although we planned our trips in a way that allowed us to see both the north and the south, as well as the center and the most famous island of the country, we feel that we have many more things and places to discover. Even though the people here are not as famous for their habit of smiling as their next door neighbour Thailand, you can be sure that when they do smile they are authentic and not only interested in something you might have to offer them. Here we've encountered some of the most humble and friendly people, some of the most diverse and unusual landscapes and an interesting food culture.
Firstly, find someone who will take amazing photos (even if he doesn’t like it!)
Jokes aside, I don’t think you need fancy expensive equipment to take great photos, you just need patience and a bit of good taste.
My secrets are:
Avoid the crowds by getting to the location early
Dress in a way that suits the location
Edit your photos with filters that are appropriate and match the creative idea you have in your head
Integrate some eye-catching elements into the photos
Most importantly, communicating the person who takes the photos (in this case my husband!)
I also analyse older photos, constantly looking for new flattering angles. I also try to find other photos that can serve as inspiration.
How do you find the best places to eat and drink whilst you’re away?
We don’t try to find the perfect place to eat and drink when we travel, we just go around and eat wherever something catches our attention.
With a few exceptions, we prefer local street-food or small family-owned restaurants.
What’s been the most surreal place you’ve ever visited? What made it so magical?
The first thing that comes to mind when is the jungle of Taman Negara in Malaysia.
It gave me a sense of being part of something much greater then me and made me feel that everything was connected, it was almost a psychedelic experience!
What will your next destination be?
This summer we are going to Spain and Morocco
Sun, chlorine and hot weather can wreak havoc on your hair. How do you keep yours looking so great?
Yes, Koh Lipe is quite wonderful! It can get a little too crowded and agitated for our taste, at least in the walking street area, but you can still find places where you can chill all by yourself and have a nice sunset Chang, if that's your thing 😊 Sunrise beach is just perfect, cristal clear waters and powdery white sand all across, followed by Pattaya as a close second. You can find a variety of restaurants ranging from Mexican to Indian and all the way to Italian, and of course Thay local food. Many of the restaurants we've tried have vegetarian options or can make whatever you want from the menu vegetarian or vegan. They all serve the perfectly chilled Chang, the signature fruit shakes and lassies and of course, the main star and our personal favourite … drums … more drums …Tom Yum spicyyyy 😂 And by the way, does anyone know how they all manage to keep the beer perfectly chilled and to make the same (ok, almost, the same 😊 ) perfect shakes, lassies, Tom yum's, papaya salad's and the list can go on and on? 😊
I try to hydrate my hair as much as I can without putting on too many products.
I try to limit using my hair straightener and blow drier as much as I can and I always prepare my hair for long exposure to the sun and sea with professional products such as UV protection sprays, oils and shampoos.
Want more from Andra? Check out her Instagram here!
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