Kia ora! My name is Carole and I live in Wellington, New Zealand. WELCOME to my travel blog, and thank you for visiting. If you love travel, or the idea of it, then you have come to the right place!
The Coconut Lands blog is for people who enjoy slow travel – the laid-back kind. You won’t find articles about adventure holidays, white water rafting or skydiving. You won’t find camping either, though you might find glamping.
For my husband and me, slow travel means public transport. We don’t hire cars or camper vans. We don’t self-drive either, except in our own country and even then, only when there’s absolutely no other option. For us, taking public transport is one of the best ways of getting under the skin of a country and meeting locals. It has its downsides, for sure, including delays and failures. But we also get a lot of laughs.
Why Coconut Lands? Well, I grew up in an industrial area of northern England called Tyneside, once known for heavy industries such as shipbuilding and steel-making. Every summer, a huge funfair called The Hoppings would take place in our city, Newcastle Upon Tyne. As you can imagine, this was very exciting for us kids.
It was here at The Hoppings that I encountered coconuts for the first time. Dad was very good at the coconut shy and we would often end up taking a prize coconut home. He would crack it open, drain off the liquid (we never imagined anyone would ever want to drink it, how times have changed!) and share out the chunks of succulent flesh. How I loved that delicious tropical taste! It made me think of sandy beaches, swaying palms, sunshine and warm turquoise oceans, as this was how I pictured the lands where coconuts came from. Living close to a coal mine and a large coke works*, this vision was just about as different from my home environment as you could get.
I was 16 years old when I left England for the first time to travel abroad, on a school trip to Mallorca in Spain. Seeing real palm trees for the first time was a thrill. Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed travelling and escaping to exotic, colourful places that are very different from my cool northern hemisphere background. Learning about other countries and cultures has enriched my life in so many ways. I’ve learned to speak other languages and see the world through other eyes. I’m so grateful for all these experiences, some of which I share in my blog.
I’m so convinced about the benefits of travel – developmental, educational, cultural and economic – that I like to help other people benefit from them. A percentage of all profits from my blog and online store goes to organizations that give adults and young people the opportunity to volunteer in a country other than their own, such as Volunteer Service Abroad and Lattitude. (Please see our separate page Marketing – disclosure for information on how this site earns revenue).
My online store for travellers is Unlocked Box – it aims to offer products that bring the spirit of summer holidays to every day, whether you are at home or on your travels.
I hope you enjoy the blog. Please leave comments and feel free to share your own stories.
*Photo of Monkton Coke Works: Chris Allen. Reproduced from Wikimedia under Creative Commons Licence