The Interesting Women Interview (#3): Beverley Reinemann

Beverley-Pack-Your-Passport-on-Brick-Lane-London.jpg

Hooray for another Interesting Women Interview! I'm really enjoying working on this little series and getting to ask some inspiring ladies all the nosey questions I've always wanted to know the answer to. Today I'm chatting to the wonderful Beverley, who writes the ace travel blog Pack Your Passport. She is one of my all time favourite writers and is also one of the loveliest people ever. We talked about travelling to the other side of the world, making brave decisions and inspiration - enjoy!

1) Hey Beverley! Before we got started, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello! I studied media and marketing at Leeds uni, then moved straight back to my home town afterwards to move in with my then-boyfriend before moving to Australia on a working holiday visa in 2010. I was 25, I’d never been abroad before, and it was equal parts terrifying and exciting. After two years there, I lived in New Zealand for a year before moving back to the UK, and to London. I now live in Leeds where, by day, I work as a PR account manager securing national and regional coverage and creating/implementing PR strategies for a range clients. By night, I write a travel and lifestyle blog and do a bit of freelance writing and social media consulting. And, at the weekends, you’ll probably find me with my head in a book and a flat white in my hand at one of my favourite cafes or exploring a new city with my camera.

2) I’ve enjoyed following your travels on your blog for quite some time and you’ve been to some amazing places! Where is your favourite place in the world?

It’s so tempting to say Sydney. Sydney was the first place I ever visited as an adult, the first place I’ve ever gone to on a plane, and there was something really special about arriving in the early morning after a long flight and walking out of the airport to pink skies and humid air. I loved pretty much everything about living there. BUT, if I were to go back to one city again and again it would have to be Amsterdam. I’ve been a few times and everytime I go I discover something new. I love the food, the gorgeous architecture, the canals, and how chilled out it is. It’s definitely my favourite city in Europe.

3) Australia was your first big travel adventure - what first inspired you to get on a plane and just go?

It actually wasn’t my idea to go to Australia, it was my then-boyfriend’s and, at first, I didn’t want to go. He suggested it on the phone one night and I remember completely blowing up at him! I had a job, a car, friends, family, all in one place. I couldn’t imagine leaving it all behind. I slept on it, though, and the next day I changed my mind. Six months later we were on a plane to Sydney. To this day I genuinely think it’s the best decision I ever made. It changed my life completely. It changed ME completely, which I know is a wanky thing to say, but it did. Especially because, a couple of months after moving to New Zealand, I found myself single again. It was a massive learning curve; learning how to be by myself again after six years with the same person. But, by then, I was good at finding my feet in new situations. I got my independence back. I found out who I was, then. Who I was without anyone else by my side. There’s something really valuable in that.

4) You’ve built a pretty ace career in PR since returning from your travels. Did you find that travelling made it more difficult to get a foot on the ladder or did it help you?

I think it kind of helped me, because I managed to find a balance, when I was living abroad, between working and travelling. I worked at an events company in Sydney, trained as a barista in Melbourne, and worked in customer services in Auckland. I’d do a few months of work then a bit of travelling. Rinse, repeat. Travel teaches you some brilliantly transferable skills too: organisation, communication, being able to adapt to different situations and people. All of these things put you in a great position as a job candidate. I kind of fell into PR because I knew the industry from the blogging and publishing side already and, thankfully, it turned out I was good at it!

5) You’ve recently made the move from London to Leeds (yay!). What inspired you to make the change?

Oh God, leaving London was a huge decision, and it took me about a year from deciding I was definitely going to go to actually going. I was umming and ahhing for ages, because (despite its shortcomings) I do love London. I loved living in Shoreditch, being near my friends, the buzz of the whole city. But, then, I needed a lifestyle change. I wanted to live alone (something I couldn’t afford to do in London without moving into a tiny studio), to have a bit more money left over at the end of the month, and move somewhere less busy and claustrophobic. I chose Leeds because I didn’t want to give up city life completely, and I’d lived here once already when I was uni. It felt like the perfect compromise: I live in town, I’ve got my own flat, but there’s still so much going on up here that I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out by now being in the capital anymore.

6) Travelling to the other side of the world, upping your roots in London to move to a city you haven’t lived in for years – they’re some pretty brave decisions. What advice do you have for being braver with your life?

I think something that’s helped me become more brave and find the confidence to chase after new things is realising that decisions, however big, don’t need to lead to something permanent. I wasn’t always brave, sometimes I feel like the opposite of brave, but there’s something really freeing about knowing that if something doesn’t work out how you expected you can change it. Nothing is forever. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be if you don’t want it to be. Before I got a job in Leeds I remember saying to my mum on the phone ‘what if it doesn’t work out? What if it’s the wrong decision’ and she said ‘then you leave, you do something else!’ That took so much pressure off. I think it’s important to give yourself permission to fuck up.

7) Now you’ve relocated, what’s next? What plans do you have on the table for the next couple of years?

Gah, ‘plans’ is such a scary word for someone like me. I tend to focus on the short term for the most part. That said, now I’ve got my own place, and a dedicated space to work, I really want to take on more freelance clients, give the blog a makeover, and get back into the habit of writing little and often. I find that the less I write the less I *can* write, so writing for writing’s sake, and knowing that writing for the blog is an extension of that, is important. I’ve recently got back into running after a long period of, let’s be totally honest here: procrastination, so I’ll also be concentrating on getting back to the point I was at a couple of years ago and maybe entering a race or two! Whatever happens, travel is definitely still on the cards. There’s nothing I love more than a city break in Europe, and I’m desperate to go to New York. And, of course, back to my beloved Amsterdam for copious amounts of bitterballen and long walks along the canals!

8) Finally, who inspires you?

I’m inspired all the time by friends or people I follow on Twitter or authors whose books I’ve read. I’m inspired by women who lift other women up, women who write, women who are unapologetically themselves. I spend a lot of my time online, obviously, and it can be so difficult not to compare yourself to other people. It can be really hard seeing other people doing well when you’re struggling to write a single sentence. But I’ve tried to flip that around. The most inspiring people, for me, are those who go after what they want without letting what other people might think hold them back.