Every month, we delve into the travel experiences of people in the extended WHL Group network. This month we talk to Laura Lott of belo-horizonte.travel, the whl.travel local connection based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Before starting work with whl.travel, Laura Lott studied tourism at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte. Like the other staff on the belo-horizonte.travel team, Laura is an avid traveller with a passion for seeing the world beyond the corner of it that she calls home.
WHL Group: Which is your favorite WHL Group destination and which would you most like to visit?
Laura: I would be most interested in visiting Turkey someday. It would be awesome to go to Istanbul and get to know more about the Byzantine legacy, and to see Cappadocia where I’ve heard there is amazing natural beauty.
WHLG: What would you never travel without?
Laura: I guess I would never travel without my flip-flops and sunscreen.
WHLG: What do you miss most about home when travelling?
Laura: I miss my bed and the routine of eating rice and beans every day for lunch. Most of all, I miss my friends.
WHLG: What’s the most adventurous trip you’ve ever taken?
Laura: I would say it was at this summer vacation, when I hitchhiked in Brazil from Lençóis, a city of the Chapada Diamantina in the state of Bahia, to Salvador. A friend and I were travelling for almost a month and we ended up completely broke on the road. So, to catch our flight home we had to figure out a way to get to Salvador. It was thrilling and we were lucky to have the chance to meet such different and interesting people on our way.
WHLG: What is your scariest travel experience?
Laura: I guess I can say that my hitchhiking trip in Bahia (see above) was also the scariest one. We didn’t know the people who gave us a ride, and the road wasn’t the best either.
WHLG: If you could go on holiday with anyone famous – living or dead – who would you take?
Laura: I’d have to say Johnny Depp.
WHLG: Describe the best and worst accommodation you’ve ever stayed in.
Laura: The best one was a hostel called Paprika in Budapest, Hungary. It was like a home for people from all over the world. Every day we had dinner together and went with the guys that worked there to some bar or club.
The worst accommodation was a hostel in Berlin, Germany. It was early July and Berlin felt like it was on fire! I confess that the weather was warmer than in Brazil. The rooms were crowded, there was no fan or air conditioner and the windows barely opened. It was like being in a sauna.
WHLG: Describe your earliest travel memory.
Laura: When I was really young, my whole family – including my grandma, grandpa, uncles, aunts and cousins – used to travel together. I remember us going every summer to some beach on Brazil’s coast or our country house. We rented a big house by the sea and made the most of the quality time on our vacation together. It was like a summer camp, but with family. Those were great times.
WHLG: Please briefly explain what you think local travel is.
Laura: I think local travel is experiencing a place by getting a close knowledge of the culture, food and history of the cities visited. It also includes an interaction between the tourist and the local community that allows visitors to truly know where they are visiting. This kind of tourist goes beyond the travel guidebooks and mingles with the locals. They are concerned not only about seeing the tourist attractions, but also about the problems and issues of each place.
WHLG: In what ways do you see local travel benefiting the country in which you live?
Laura: Brazil is well known for its natural beauty, culture and history. It also covers a large area that provides different landscapes for all types of tourists. Such variety allows the local travellers to explore and discover the unknown while they have the chance to interact with the local community and learn more about its cultures and traditions. Local travel is a way to improve travelling and get more knowledge about any destination.