Uencounter.me has partnered with a number of travel bloggers who share our core values of integrity, honesty, and transparency.  Over the next several months, we are highlighting them in our Partner Series. We hope this allows you to get to know them better and remember, you can follow all of their travel and blog posts via their personal pin map on uencounter.me!

The second in our series introduces Fiona Downey from The Idyll Diaries [dot] com. We asked her a series of questions and her answers follow:

Please tell us a little bit about you personally:

If truth be told I’ve always seen myself as a fairly nervy soul, I’m quite shy and I worry a lot  however, a strange transformation took place when I traveled to India for the first time.  Suddenly I felt comfortable in my own skin and infinitely happier.  Whilst in Asia I’d describe myself as happy, content, verging on outgoing and certainly no longer the emotional mess I have been known to be at home.  This is why I’m currently doing everything within my power to make a permanent move to the land of eternal sunshine and smiling.  Having said all this, Asia hasn’t yet succeeded in eliminating the Scottish blood from my veins. I’m sarcastic with a dry sense of humor; I rant and rave and get pissed off as only a Scottish girl can.  I’m easily wound up by people who walk too slowly, Scottish weather, lateness and rudeness.

My favorite things in life are my family, my friends, music (I play the saxophone and guitar.  I’m currently learning ukulele and mouth organ primarily because they’re tiny enough to fit in a backpack), flowers, Enfields, chai, the smell of cut grass, maps and dancing.  I like beaches, kites, golf and football.  I’m a Daddy’s girl.  My favorite colors are pink, gold and brown.  I read constantly. I am an avid fan of queues, thunder storms and old fashioned bicycles. I love to be lifted up.  I have a strange fondness for tambourines, hula-hooping and for strangers who smile at me.  Good manners make me happy.

How long have you been blogging and why do you do it?

I’m very new to the blogging world.  I love writing and have always kept fairly detailed accounts of my travels.  After a bit of persuasion I allowed my family to read my journals and their enthusiastic responses prompted me to set up my site.  In returning to Scotland from India for the first time I was bursting with stories of my adventures; unfortunately I felt like many of those closest to me didn’t understand how I was felt with regards to both the travel itself and the return.  I think it’s something you have to experience for yourself.  I feel very lucky that blogging has put me in contact with so many like minded people.  And of course, it’s also lovely to publish a post and receive positive feedback.

How did you decide upon the title and direction of your blog?

The initial direction of my blog came easily enough to me; it began as a collection of memoirs.  My problem is curtailing a never ending stream of ideas to improve/add to the site.  The title evolved from my Dad’s sarcastic response when I told him my intentions for the site.  “Ah, diaries of a bone idle traveler, that’ll make for interesting reading!”  I liked the ring of it so changed his idle to idyll and there we have it.

What is your favorite blogging experience?

I wrote a blog post from Hematuka Hill at sunset time.  Whilst typing away numerous people came over to talk with me.  In the end a small group formed on the hill, a few guitars were produced and a tiny camp fire was lit.  The blogging was inevitably put to one side for the remainder of the evening but without it I’d never have come into conversation with so many lovely people.

What has been your most treasured travel experience?

A difficult question to answer! I have a few experiences that are priceless to me.  The first was seeing a Tiger in the wild. I’d never really counted myself as much of a nature enthusiast but being on safari in Ranthambore National Park was utterly spectacular.  Another moment that I’ll struggle to top was reaching the Thorong La Pass on the Annapurna circuit.  The feeling of achievement was tremendous.  I feel extremely lucky that I had my little sister by my side to share these experiences.

If you could return to any one of the locations you have visited, where would it be and why?

I’d return to Hampi (in the Indian state of Karnataka) immediately if I could.  I first visited the town in 2009 and instantly fell in love with it.  The town is set amidst ruins and rivers and is the most peaceful, beautiful place I’ve ever been fortunate enough to spend time.  On both visits the local people treated me with spectacular kindness and warmth.  I’m at my very happiest when in Hampi.

What location is at the top of your bucket list today?

I can’t wait to return to India.  I’m currently working 100 hour weeks in attempt to return there for the long haul.  My first stop will be the Ladakh region.  Throughout my time in India I’ve heard endless tales about the area’s beauty but have unfortunately never made it there so far. My aim is to celebrate my 30th birthday in Ladakh.  Only another 15 months to wait!


Find Fiona on uencounter.me and follow her map (seen below). You may also subscribe to her blog and follow her on Twitter!

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