Bite with a Blogger: Hola Chica Travels

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After an extended hiatus it’s time for Bite with a Blogger to return. This is one of my favorite parts of Aussie on the Road – not only because it gives me an opportunity to promote a blogger whose work I enjoy – but also because it’s an excuse to hang out with a (usually gorgeous, as fate would have it) person and eat delicious food.

You can catch up on the previous installments of Bite with a Blogger below:

There’s also an upcoming interview with Tony from It’s Good Overseas, who is just a tad less gorgeous than the above ladies.

People partying on the beach
Nicole, myself, and some new friends celebrating Chilean Independence Day on Bronte Beach. Photo by Nicole McGrath

Today’s interview with with the vivacious and very cool Nicole from Hola Chica Travels. I first met Nicole at last year’s Great Nomads Chase and then spent Chilean Independence Day with her the very next day. We hung out at the Night Noodle Markets and then our conflicting work schedules meant I didn’t see her again until the night of this interview – her last in Sydney before jetting off down to Melbourne.

The Venue

This time around I opted for the very groovy Passionflower as the venue for our interview. Passionflower is an Asian dessert restaurant boasting a decadent selection of ice creams, waffles, pancakes, brownies, and fruits served up in all manner of creative and colorful ways. Couple this with syrupy sweet pop music and ridiculously cheerful staff, and you’ve got a recipe for a fun night out.

It would make one hell of a date spot, but for some reason I always go there with a friend. I tried it out with Teresa from Teresa Simonetti Photography first, had a man-date with my mate Dave after our visit to the Sydney Good Food and Wine Festival, and then took Mel from The Mellyboo Project there on her last night in Sydney.

On this particular night I decided to be somewhat healthy and get a sorbet selection with some seasonal fruit while Nicole went all out with some red bean pancakes and ice cream.

And now, on with the interview…

The Interview

So, how long have you been travel blogging?

Well I’ve only been travel blogging since September 2011, as I started right before I left the U.S. to come to Australia. However I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus recently. I had decided that getting back into blogging would be my 2012 New Year’s Resolution but now it’s looking more like my Year of the Dragon Chinese New Year’s resolution (do those exist?).

I don’t think they do, but a lot of people have suggested the same. Maybe we should make it a thing?

fruity cocktail
A beautiful (but flavorless) drink

What made you decide to start a travel blog?

I started a travel blog because I like to write and it seemed like a good way to keep my family and friends back home up to date with my travels. However I’ve learned now how hard it is to keep it up when you’re traveling long term, hence the hiatus. Now it will just be to prove that I can finish what I started.

And what made you choose Hola Chica Travels as a name?

I chose Hola Chica Travels for the name of my blog since I wanted to reflect how my hispanic roots influence my perspective on traveling. First and foremost I’m an American girl traveling, but I think growing up with hispanic customs and knowing Spanish on a native level really does affect your travel experiences.

Where have your travels taken you so far?

I’ve been to loads of places (or should I say heaps since I’m in Australia?) since I’m lucky enough to have a mom who worked for an airline which meant free airline passes growing up. I’ve officially been to every continent except Antarctica, which I would like to travel to before I turn 30.

However, in the last 5 years I’ve been to Australia, South Africa, England, Wales, Ireland, Chile (including Easter Island), Ecuador, Italy, and Mexico. I’ve also been to a handful of places within the US in that time; including Atlanta, NY, LA, Sacramento, and Denver. And of course, I’m from Miami (3-0-5 til I die, yo…)

I don’t know what that means. I think it’s some kind of gang slang. Nicole is straight up gangster.

And where will you be heading next? You know, after tomorrow’s trip to Melbourne…

I’m trying to see as much of Australia as I can while I have the year long work holiday visa. So far I’ve been in Sydney and Melbourne and I’m hoping to see Tasmania next. The next country I’d like to travel to will be somewhere in Southeast Asia, but that won’t be until about September 2012.

delicious fruit sorbet passionflower
A delicious sorbet and fruit mix

And what’s been your least favorite place so far?

I stupidly thought Limerick, Ireland would be a cool place to visit since Frank McCourt grew up there and it’s the setting for his memoir Angela’s Ashes. Why I thought it would be nice I’m not sure, since his life in Limerick is extremely depressing. Nevertheless, I made my sister drive us through there and we discovered that it’s just an industrial city with not much going on. I later found out the city’s nickname is “Stab City”. Lovely, right?

Kind of like Detroit’s moniker of ‘Murder City’, I guess. Sound like lovely placed.

What has been your most memorable travel experience?

I’ve had a lot of very memorable travel experiences. It’s so hard to choose one!

The first that comes to mind would be the time my sister and I spent 4 hours in Wales. We didn’t plan our transport from London to Dublin ahead of time so we ended up arriving in Holyhead, Wales by train at 11:00pm with nothing to do until our ferry left at 3:30am. We didn’t want to sit in the ferry station for four and a half hours so we walked around until we heard noise and just dragged our bags into the nearest pub.

It turned out to be one of only two pubs in the whole town and everyone there was a local so we instantly stuck out. We made friends with these very drunk Welsh dudes and partied the night away dancing and playing pub games. At 3:25am we realized we were about to miss our ferry so our new friends went running with our suitcases to get us to the boat on time. We made it just before the ship left and we even got to take our beer to go!

What is the scariest or most exciting thing you’ve done while traveling?

The most exciting thing I’ve done while traveling was attend several World Cup soccer games in South Africa in the summer of 2010. The sheer amount of travelers all in one location, the feeling of national pride, and the excitement of the sport create a once in a lifetime travel experience. And the after parties after your team has won… let’s just say they’re like nothing you’ve ever experienced.

My envy at this point cannot be adequately defined in words. I would have murdered a relative stranger to be at that event.

And my favorite question: Had any road romances you’d care to share?

Haha, I have to be careful here, wouldn’t want anything too escandaloso in public…

In my experience, romance on the road tends to be fun but short-lived. I did fall for an Irish guy I met in a hostel in London. The accent is, of course, irresistible and he was a really sweet, intelligent guy. On my last night in London he cooked me dinner and then dropped me off at the airport.

We still keep in touch and apparently he’s coming to Australia soon, so who knows what may happen. Thank god for Facebook!

And last question for the evening: What is one thing travel has taught you?

Travel has taught me that there is always something new for you to learn, some place new for you to see, and someone new for you to meet. You’re never done traveling. The more of the world I see, the more I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it holds.

Amen to that

You can read all about Nicole’s adventures in Australia and at home at Hola Chica Travels and follow her on Twitter at @holachicatravel

Want in?

In Sydney and fancy a bite to eat and a little free promotion? Want to bask in the glow of my glorious ginger beard? Shoot me an email at CWBush83@gmail.com or comment below to organize a time and a place. I’m always keen to meet fellow bloggers and check a new restaurant.

 

 

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