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F R E E B I R D

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SOLO TRAVEL, ART AND CULTURE FOR THE MODERN WOMAN

Volume 3 £6.00

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Dominating The Sky by Camille Le Saulnier (Inspired by Roe Ethridge Photography)


Letter from the editor

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elcome to another issue, FreeBirds. This time our city of the issue is London, we are going to

explore how to have a fab time in the bustling area as well as some incredible finds around the UK. Later we will reveal some adventures we have planned for you a little further across the pond including a competition. We are excited to feature some amazing female creators this month to inspire all of your girl-power, entrepreneurial needs. The importance of empowering both yourself and the women around you is unfathomable and so it is up to you, FreeBirds, take this issue, embrace it and change the world.

Sending love and admiration,

Kate x


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10 Things to Know Before Travelling Solo This Summer

10 Issue Special: London

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10 Places to Explore in 2018

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To Do: Gender Equality Supporting Countries 4 FreeBird Magazine


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Avoid These Travel Mistakes

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Female Entrepeneurs of the Issue

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A Perception of Scotland

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Things to know before travelling solo Words and photography by Katie Gilligan Plan ahead of time t’s really tempting to avoid the time-consuming task of creating a plan for every minute of your adventure, particularly when your mood on the day might be completely conflicting with the activities you’ve planned. A tired gal just won’t fancy a 5am hike after spontaneous tequila shots during last night’s free time in Mexico, we get ya!

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It is really important to plan to fit in all of the things you want to do. After all, you’re spending all that money on a trip to a destination you might not get to visit alone and freely again, take the opportunity to tick all your boxes on that extensive bucket list but also schedule in plenty of free time. Going in with no plan of action will only lead to you wasting hours of time researching while you’re there, not to mention likely charges for internet usage. There’s nothing worse than a phone bill hundreds of pounds more expensive than expected because you’ve gone over your phone plan. Especially when it’s money you could have spent on another trip. Photos Now this might seem obvious (we hope). Asking an eighty-year-old woman to take a photograph of you in front of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is asking for a low quality, blurry picture. The poor woman can hardly hold her espresso without shaking it all out of the cup before reaching her mouth, let alone work an IPhone or the latest model of DSLR. Your best bet will likely be the person photographing the sight on their big chunky camera and oversized lens. Not only will this mean they will have no problem operating your IPhone or camera, it means you’re going to come out with a quality photograph of yourself. Also, they will likely be willing to take a few, so you won’t have to post a tragic ‘eyes closed’ shot. Cracking.

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Rhodes by Katie Gilligan


Tell people where you’re going Make sure people back home know your plan while you’re travelling and have a working phone with you at all times. This means there will be someone who knows your whereabouts in case you should need any help or you haven’t checked in with them, they can call your hotel or hostel to ensure you’re safe and report to local authorities if something doesn’t seem right. Try to Fit In Sure, it’s all fun being a tourist and doing touristy things but telling everyone and anyone that you’re travelling solo isn’t the safest way to go about it. Unfortunately, not everyone can be trusted and you don’t want to make yourself seem vulnerable to people that might take advantage of your friendliness. Although it may be tempting, try not to walk about with a 6lb camera swinging from your neck and a ‘England” baseball cap. Be selfish Travelling alone is the perfect time to be selfish. There’s no one to make compromises with, you can go anywhere you want without worrying about the tag-along being bored. Want to visit the Amsterdam Sexmuseum to see the giant willy? No one’s gonna stop you girl! Being alone Learn to be at one with yourself. Enjoy the free time to just sit in a café and think about your surroundings and how you feel and just enjoy your own company. There’s no one thinking “oh my god why is that girl alone at lunch, has she been stood up?”, literally no one is paying attention. If anything, people often envy those who can take time for themselves in this way, many people are too overcome by what other strangers might think rather their own happiness. Just enjoy! You are capable of anything you want to do

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Everyone travelling alone has that moment of ‘goodness, what have I gotten myself into?’ self-doubt. It’s only natural to be anxious about something new you’re trying, especially when it’s a solo mission. Just think about how many people in the world have managed to do what you are setting out to do, and if they can do it, why not you? It’s time to jump right in the deep end and don’t hold back, these are your goals and they’re there to be achieved, so go for it! Culture Every culture may have little things that differ to your own. If you don’t research them, you might find yourself in trouble or feeling uncomfortable. For example, Countries in the middle east tend to be stricter on dress code, after all, you’re trying to fit in with the locals, not offend them! Read up on the rules for everywhere you plan to go. If you really don’t want to respect another cultures’ rules then we recommend visiting somewhere with rules that are more similar to home. Documentation Ensure you bring copies of all of the important documents you need. Any lost ID will be easier to replace if you have more ID. As well as this, try to keep different ID and documents in different bags if you don’t need to bring them out with you. This way if you are pick-pocketed or you lose them, there will be more ID locked in the hostel or hotel. Make copies of airline or train tickets and send the copies to your phone so you have everything all in one place and with you at all times. Be Free Being in another country independently has so many advantages, it’s such a freeing experience and it’s one you must embrace. However, remember to be cautious and careful. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is and not everyone is your friend. Rock being independent and empowered but use your common sense too! Have fun and enjoy every second.

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The Natural History Museam by Jake Q. London


City of the Issue: London Words by Katie Gilligan

FreeBird’s ‘City of the Issue’ is all about the little things you can do in a city to appreciate life a bit more. It’s inexpensive, its low-fuss, it’s fun. We found ourselves wandering around London to seek out those teeny-tiny things about a place that give it that character that really makes you all in love with it, and we’ve completely sussed London if we do say so ourselves. Firstly, the most underrated thing is the Underground. At first glance this place is like a stampede in the Nairobi desert. Your conscience practically turns into David Attenborough. “The cheetah outruns the bison, practically pushing him under the tube in an effort to be the first on board…” absolute havoc. Never the less, the beauty in visiting the Underground when you’re not in that animalistic rush is beautiful. Wait on the platform, watching all of the different people come and go, lovers, friends, families. Everyone on their own personal journey with a destination in mind, unknown to us. Intriguing. I arrived in Camden, crossing the road from the station and into to a small street-market. I peered around, quite confused as to how I’d heard so many people boast about Camden market…only seeing a few knock-off Gucci belts and patriotic hoodies. I honestly thought that was it. Later on, I found myself exploring in a direction I hadn’t ventured before. I found myself lost, which is probably my favourite thing to do in new areas. Then bam! People everywhere. Food everywhere. Narrow streets, cobbled lanes, culture everywhere I glanced. “Oh, this must be the Camden market that I had heard so much about, makes sense now.”

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It lived up to everything positive I had heard about it, and more. Stall workers were handing out all kinds of cuisine to the hundreds of passers-by in such a small area, positive that their food would win the coins of anyone that would take a try. London boasts a variety of markets in different areas and they are without a doubt worth a visit. The atmosphere is one of a kind. So, make sure you venture to Camden, Greenwich or Borough to name a few. London also boasts such a wide array of museums and galleries. From maritime, photography or design, there’s something for everyone scattered all over the city. Take time to get lost in the beauty of art and creative work, the minds of the creators are unique and rare. The opportunity to visit such thought provoking places alone is a special one, just yourself, your appreciation and your imagination set free. This city has an impressively culturally diverse population. The streets are filled with people from all over the world with all kinds of interests and talents. Luckily, London seems blessed with individuals and their creative talents. Street art is thankfully never far away. Visit a graffiti gallery or exhibition such as Graffik Gallery or a tour of the streets. Be sure to browse Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Camden to meet all of your Graffiti-spotting desires.

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Tower Bridge by Jake Q London


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10 Places to Explore This Summer We have gone the extra mile, literally, to plan a trip to some of the highest rated cities in Europe. Here’s just a few selling points of each. Find the free downloadable trip plan on our website along with a competition for a chance to win the trip on us! Words and photography by Katie Gilligan

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Florence, Italy The hometown of big names including Florence Nightingale, Pinocchio and Leonardo da Vinci attracts an impressive ten million visitors a year for countless reasons. Bask in history, fine dining or enjoy nearly a third of the worlds artistic treasures. Rome, Italy Visit some of the most iconic tourist destinations including colosseums and the stunning architecture of two hundred and eighty fountains and over nine hundred churches. The ‘Eternal City’ is home two point seven million people Barcelona, Spain Explore Spain’s biggest city which homes over one point six million people. The coastal destination also is visited by eight million tourists and is the third mostvisited city in Europe. San Sebastian, Spain The city is host to many exclusive events including film, theatre and music festivals, it’s never boring. With its gorgeous coastline, it’s not surprising San Sebastian is a holiday destination for even the royals.


Budapest, Hungary Home to the third largest parliament building in the world, one of the oldest zoo’s and wonderful art from across the globe, Budapest has always had brilliant tourism. In this bustling city, abandoned houses have been turned into city centre bars using essentially, junk. It’s no doubt there is an abundance of unique and intriguing style. Sienna, Italy The small, winding streets are filled with character in this ancient city. Visit some of the most famous attractions including the National Art Gallery and the Piazza del Campo. Sweeten up with Sienna’s famous confectionaries, especially the gingerbread. Seville, Spain Sometimes described as ‘movie star paradise’ this city has been on our television screens more than we realise, including Game of Thrones and StarWars Episode II: Attack of the Clones to name just a couple. Don’t leave without watching the streets come alive during one of the world-famous fiestas!

Krakow, Poland Famous for its history, monuments and most importantly to us, Pretzels, this city is worth a visit for anyone wanting to enjoy a new culture. As one of the safest cities in not just Poland, but Europe, Krakow is a place to relax and have fun and there’s many places to do so! Porto, Portugal As the second biggest city in Portugal after Lisbon, there’s no doubt the place is packed with culture and experience. Try unique cuisines like the popular five layered meat and cheese sandwich, ‘Francesinha’ or enjoy a glass or two of authentic Port. Lisbon, Portugal This capital city is the oldest in Western Europe and is built on seven hills, so have your walking boots on the ready. Join one of the most attended events in the world of its kind, the Lisbon Half Marathon and celebrate true Lisbon party-style.

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Finland

Norway

Visit the Urho Kekkonen national park for an experience of Lapland’s nature in all of its glory. According to an abundance of reviews on travel go-to review site TripAdvisor, the tour is a unique experience allowing you to enjoy the wonderful nature in its snowy heaven. When you’re done pretending it’s Christmas and Santa is about to arrive, head over to Lake Inari to experience the Northern Lights during a magical five-hour expedition with a smaller, more intimate group. The adventure includes dinner hot drinks beside the fire.

Like in Finland, you have the opportunity to enjoy the incredible experience of the northern lights with a tour from Tromso. Thermals and equipment are provided in this inclusive tour so no need for add on, unexpected and overpriced costs. You also get to enjoy local soup on the journey. Why not also visit Geiranger Ford for some spectacular scenery? Enjoy a hike or just some waffles with sour cream and jelly. Yes, you read that right, waffles.

Iceland Not only does the chilly country offer hot springs, incredible nature and masses of adventurous opportunities, but Intrepid has declared it the world’s friendliest country. What more could you want for a solo travel experience? Try out a Yoga Moves class. This isn’t your typical class. This is a fun yoga come crazy dance class with a DJ and is a unique way to let go of any stress, anxiety and worries while travelling solo. It’s also a fun way to meet all kinds of personalities.

Things To Do in the Most As voted by Intrepid

Nicaragua

New Zealand

Join a twelve hour, all-inclusive tour from La Fortuna, including all entre fees, transportation and meals. Explore lakes, historic cities and lavish trips on speedboats to some of the 36 islands on the lake. If you would prefer to be off-water, visit Telica Volcano in Leon. Adventure up the mountain which takes a short 45 minutes, no time at all for such a fulfilling experience.

As a solo traveller, you might prefer the smaller groups, so hit up Private Discovery Day Tours for the Routeburn Track. Lunch is included so no need to worry whether you will be able to find somewhere to eat at a reasonable cost. The tour starts in Queenstown and takes the scenic route to the western end of Lake Wakatipu. Walk through all of the ancient history the area has on offer including that of Red Beach forest. Don’t worry whether this tour will be too physical, the tour is catered to the visitor’s fitness level.

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Sweden

Rwanda

It’s time to put your walking boots on, you’re actually going to want to see this. Boras has been described as an outdoor gallery. Follow the map of the city’s No Limit street art map to ensure you don’t miss a single piece. Go and get some selfies with some of the most beautiful art in the world. Then visit Stockholm’s ghost walk and historical tour of the medieval streets. Investigate murder mysteries and indulge in myths and legends for two hours of engaging history.

This is one of the most expensive activities to choose, but there is no doubt this is a breath taking, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The tour is from Kigali and is a one day trek taking you into Volcanoes Gorilla national park with over 200 species of endangered mountain gorillas. The photographs and videos are that your family definitely won’t be yawning and rolling their eyes at. For a cheaper option visit Akagera National Safari Park and enjoy a full day tour featuring Giraffes, Elephants, Crocs and many more exotic wildlife.

Ireland

Gender Equality Supporting Countries Words by Katie Gilligan

See all of the best-bits in Ireland by joining a six-day tour from Dublin to Belfast, Galway, Killarney and many more. Explore all of their unique offerings of gardens, mountains, abbeys and city living. This tour includes five days accommodation so no worrying and hassle of finding a place to stay each day. Both starting and concluding in Dublin, this adventure is convenient for you to both arrive at and to get ready for your next adventure with Dublin being a major travel destination. Make sure you visit St James Gate Brewery for a real pint of Guinness somewhere along the way.

Slovenia

Philippines

Take the popular ‘Slovenia in a day’ tour and experience all of the highlights during your jam-packed adventures. See Lake Bled, Postoja Cave and Predjama Castle from Ljubljana and discover the legends of each. Cross the lake in style on an authentic wooden polenta boat to Bled Island.

Head down to the Puerto Princesa, Palawan Islands. Take a dive at Tubbatana Reef in some of the best conditions and visibility the world has to offer. The tours have a variety of duration options to suit your every need. Choose to simply have a dive or stay on board for a few days and enjoy numerous locations and inclusive cultural meals. Visit Coron Bay on Busuanga Island for crystal clear waters where every photograph is naturally majestic. #Nofilterneeded

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Avoid These Travel Mistakes It’s easy for something to slip your mind when you’re solo, so here’s a few reminders of the most crucial ‘do not’s’

Words and photography by Katie Gilligan

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raveling alone is amongst the most liberating, empowering experiences in life. Not much can top it. To be sat on a train anywhere in the world and consider how you didn’t rely on anybody else to get you where you are, no matter how easy or difficult the journey was, not everyone is capable of these things. So, give yourself a big pat on the back, go on. Although we love for travel to be a completely positive experience, in reality there are some issues and dangers everyone faces at some point. So here is a little guidance on what to do during some of the most common problems. Firstly, facing a difficulty with money is really common for solo travellers. It’s only natural for humans to worry about the thing the world runs off of. One important thing to do it budget. It’s sacred. Once you have a budget plan in place before leaving on an adventure, you can focus on the more fun stuff in comfort of knowing you have enough money to do the activities you like as well as eating well and sleeping in safety. Round up all the money you have to spend, divide it by how many days 22 FreeBird Magazine

you will travel. Then divide that between, eating, sleeping, transport, activities and spare back-up money for everyday unexpected costs. Even then you should always have backup cash to fall back on. Know your limit. One of the most dangerous things you can do while travelling alone is getting too drunk. Even if you are hanging out with ‘friends’ you have met along the way or people from a hostel you’re staying at, you unfortunately cannot be overly trusting. Don’t over estimate how much drink you can handle for an ego-boost, the consequences will not be worth it if something doesn’t go to plan. Don’t overschedule your time. Giving yourself the bare amount of time to get from one side of a city to the other in the minimum amount of time just isn’t practical. Allow for getting lost, traffic and spontaneous exploring. This being said, make sure you do make reservations for places on the ‘must-see’ list which will allow for you to plan around these and avoid missing out on disappointingly missing something you really wanted to do.

Ensure you have a backup plan for any emergency. If you are pick-pocketed have back up money and documents. If you do run out of money make sure there’s someone from home who can send you the ‘ultimate backup money’ or if you need to go to seek medical care for any reason have insurance and money aside for that too. There’s no such thing in being too prepared. Don’t even think about packing five different styles of jumpers ‘just in case’ the Caribbean gets chilly in the height of summer. You will be surprised how little you need. A couple of functional outfits and appropriate shoes, basic electricals such as a mobile and camera. Bare essentials only please! I know, it’s not the nicest thing to think about, but no matter where you are, even in the town you’ve grown up in all of your life. It’s ideal to know some basic self-defence. There are classes offered locally in most places. Find your local class on our website. Alternatively, YouTube offers up a wide array of tutorials.


Gibraltar by Katie Gilligan


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Female Entrepeneurs of the Issue This issue we are lucky enough to feature three incredible female illustrators from around the globe and their work. Let’s learn a little about the person behind the pictures.

Sarah J Norman

Words by Katie Gilligan

Sarah was raised in Adelaide, South Australia. Having always having a passion for art, she’s spent the last two years focusing on her creative work since graduating high school. In the past year, she has achieved many accomplishments, including exhibiting in the South Australian Living Artists festival and RAW Adelaide. Sarah’s style is always changing. “I’m constantly changing techniques and themes. It gets boring doing the same style over and over again, so who knows what I will be drawing in the next year!” Sarah is constantly on the lookout for new inspiration. “For me, inspiration is everywhere if you’re paying close attention, it can come from anything.” She often is inspired from the wide array of styles that can be found on top-notch social media platform, Instagram. Boasting an impressive nineteen thousand, eight hundred followers on IG @sarahnormanart, her dream of living overseas and pursuing art may not be far off of the horizon. Monica Johnson Monica grew up in Orlando, Florida and has been living in San José, California for 8 years now. She discovered her passion for art during high school years but dropped it during college to focus on other subjects. “I eventually dropped college as well and just did the dog grooming thing for a long time and about 2 years ago I started on my creative journey again… I was very into embroidery art, and actually began practicing drawing to make cooler embroidery patterns. Never in a million years did I imagine the drawings gaining any traction like they did.”

When she began drawing, Monica mainly practiced with skulls. “I like stuff that is structural. Drawing people always intimidated me, so I began drawing the sad girls to study the female form. I still didn’t like to draw the faces, so I would artfully find a way to dodge having to draw them! Hidden behind hair, or maybe a pose from behind, etc.” Later Monica started experimenting with styles, playing particularly with red and blue double illustrations and her page took off. “After that I decided to start doing portraits to get over my anxiety about drawing faces ha and that’s pretty much present day…I’m still taking it as I go, I have no idea what I’m really doing” Thank goodness, just like the rest of us! “In the future, I’d like to give up the dog grooming and focus full time on art. I’m moving to Philadelphia this summer so I can have a place with enough room for a studio, so hopefully that will inspire me to really shift gears.” Over fifty-two thousand followers IG @earth_to_monica Camille Le Saulnier Camille grew up in the lavish countryside of Brittany, France, studying a Bachelor’s in graphic design at LISAA Rennes. She then took the decision to move to study at the London College of Communication. After graduating, Camille relocated to Birmingham and became freelance. Finding her inspiration from mainly her mood, her surroundings growing up and her dreams, Camille clearly has a wonderfully complex mind. In future, she hopes to keep learning and developing. Over eighteen thousand followers on IG @camissao FreeBird Magazine

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Simply Stunning A perspective on the strength of Scotland Words and photography by Katie Gilligan

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cotland has always been known for its historic tales, it’s beautiful scenery and honestly, its undesirably miserable weather. But as

I find myself photographing the landscapes and architecture, I find myself appreciating the simplicity of it all.

This photography comes from Edinburgh and Gleneagles. Just about an hour in distance from each other yet both extremely different when you look below their layers. Edinburgh has a history of poverty, over population and an abundance of tales to tell. From the spooky graveyards and buried streets to the castle itself, the tales are of incredible history. While Gleneagles was built for its luxury and extravagance, inspired by the most lavish country houses. Bringing them together is their history of disaster and devastation during the wars.

Yet, Scotland fights through any struggle, remaining the natural beauty we all should find time to appreciate today.

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Photographs and illustations by Katie Gilligan IG: Katiegilligan Jake Q. London IG: Jakeqlondon Camille Le Saulnier IG: Camissao Monica Johnson IG: Earth_to_monica Sarah Norman IG: Sarahnormanart Subscribe to FreeBird Magazine for monthly issues at your door and online for just ÂŁ60 for the year! www.FreeBird.com

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FreeBird Magazine  

Katie Gilligan single-handedly created FreeBird Magazine as part of her Final Major Project, concluding her time at university. FreeBird pra...

FreeBird Magazine  

Katie Gilligan single-handedly created FreeBird Magazine as part of her Final Major Project, concluding her time at university. FreeBird pra...

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