Get to know our favourite London-based Colombian adventurer, Ligia Murphy aka @locombia as she tells us how she ended up in England, why she loves the great outdoors so much and her experiences travelling Europe in 'Mistral', her trusty campervan.
1/ Tell us about yourself! You come from Colombia originally, how did you end up in London?
I had a few reasons, one of them was to learn English. I’ve always wanted to learn the language and thought that the only possibility for learning it well was to live in a place where I have to speak and think all in English. The other reason was to travel. Travel has always been my passion, but I always did it within Colombia, so when I had the first opportunity to plan a trip for my studies, the obvious reason was to pick a place that was great as a hub. I chose England as you are in Europe and have so many connections to other countries.
2/ Top places/things to do/see/eat in London?
It is funny that I live in London and the first thing that I do in my free time is leave London. But if you come here and want to play like a local you can go to:
1. Shoreditch is one of the trendiest areas - with some of the hottest nightlife spots and coolest places to stay in London. I love eating bagels at Brick Lane Beigel Bake but don’t be put off if there is a queue! The line moves very quickly and the filled bagels are delicious! (Top tip: try the salt beef bagels - yum!)
2. I love visiting various markets in London - my favourite ones are Columbia Road Flower Market, Borough Market, Camden Market and Greenwich Market.
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3. The Vaults: Waterloo Vaults is probably the most fun you can have underground. If you love graffiti art, music and festivals, this is your place.
4. Crystal Palace Park: I know that this is not the top destination if you come to London but it is my favourite place. It is full of history, with great green areas, lakes, and giant models of dinosaurs. It was built for the Great Exhibition in 1900 and you can still see the ruins of the old palace.
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3/ What is the inspiration behind your IG page?
When I used to live in Colombia I didn’t have the opportunity to explore the countryside as it was too dangerous due to bomb threats or kidnapping (especially as a woman).
My LOVE for the outdoors started in England where I felt safe to walk and explore. I quickly realised how lucky I was to be able to go where I wanted - it’s not an opportunity everyone is afforded. That's one of the reasons I started my Instagram account @locombia to show people how much fun you can have in the outdoors when you can be safe.
I don’t take my outdoor lifestyle for granted, I respect nature, respect the local wildlife, make a conscious decision to use products that are kind to the planet and hope I encourage other women to be better too. I wish for a world where all women can feel safe and inspired to enjoy nature.
4/ Where is your favourite place to travel to and why?
The places that I want to visit have changed lately because of my experience in the camper van. I enjoyed a lot of my trips to India and Vietnam. I love warm tropical places - but now I feel that I am ready to leave my fear of cold weather behind me and visit my ultimate destination… Iceland. I’d love to experience the remoteness of the landscape, the dramatic mountains and hike some of the amazing and unique trails they have over there.
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5/ What is the most embarrassing or funny travel moment?
I once jumped a fence that had the message in Italian "Do not trespass" - but I did it! (all for a photo in a gorgeous lake). The police shouted at me in Italian and I pretended that I didn't understand. I promised myself not to do that anymore. I will respect all the places and follow the rules and be a good influencer
6/ You do a lot of hikes, where is your favourite one?
Two years ago we bought “Mistral” and it was one of the best things we’ve ever done. Since we bought her, we’ve taken her on a few UK and European trips and my favourite so far has got to be the Dolomites. I think I left my heart there because I can’t stop thinking about that trip. We had looked at plenty of photos before we went but nothing can prepare you for the might of those mountains. They are beautiful, intimidating, welcoming, dangerous, and unforgettable.
7/ How did you meet your partner Stephen? Is he your instahubby?
Hahaha funny that you mentioned the word instahubby, he really dislikes that word and he doesn't like social media either. For us, Instagram is second, first is the real experience. So the places that we go and visit, is because we really want to enjoy the place. I don't do them just for the pretty photo (ok...maybe some I do LOL). We both love travel and photography and were already taking lots of photos even before IG - IG was just there to show what we like the most. I met Stephen the day that I arrived in England. I came to study English and he was in the pub that I went to with my friends for a drink. I said hi in my broken English and the rest is history. That was 16 years ago.
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8/ How do you plan your trips? We may have read that you don’t know how to read maps...
Ohh yes, I am terrible at that. When Stephen asks me to guide we get lost for sure. For example, one time we were hiking in the mountains, it was getting dark, he was following my lead and when he asked me where the arrows were, I wasn't sure. We checked and I was walking in the wrong direction. So we learned the lesson: don't trust the Colombian!
He does lots of reading and organising, to be honest. I highlight the activities that I want to do and we put everything into google maps, but we try to leave our days free so can we improvise as well.
9/ What are 3 things you cannot live without?
1. Exercising - I am a fitness addict. I wake up every day at 5:00am to exercise - it keeps me motivated and energetic. 2. Travelling - More than ever this statement is very important. Exploring makes me feel connected to the planet. 3. My curly hair cream - If I don't use it my hair gets wild. I look like Diana Ross.
10/ What or where is next on your bucket list?
Austria is our next trip (if allowed, in August) otherwise, we are not planning because we are waiting for countries to open their borders and more importantly, for the Coronavirus situation to get better.