Interview by Nancy Todd
From the rolling English countryside near Henley-on-Thames, Ana Silva O’Reilly, aka Mrs. O, and her husband travel the world. She has three main loves: people, travel and shoes. Her motto is: “I love camping in five star hotels.”
Describe your role with your website and how it evolved. How old is the site?
Mrsoaroundtheworld.com started as a little bit of fun at the end of 2011. I really got into twitter around November, whilst engaging with the @qualityhunters project. I decided I really wanted to share my passion for travelling, as some of my followers and fellow tweeps enjoyed discussing them and asked/followed my suggestions.
I have been extremely lucky and have been able to reach out to a wide international audience, something I am very grateful for. It’s now a part time job which I need to juggle with other business interests and activities. But I can’t complain – I love it.
1. What is the most satisfying part of your work?
I love that people actually take the time to comment on the post. Love getting email. I will never forget when someone tweeted me a photo from Rio and said: “recognise this? We moved hotels when we read your post. The places you have sent us weren’t in any guidebook, we are loving Rio, thank you”. I love travelling and doing so in style – and delighted to inspire others to do so.
2. Why did you decide to start your site? What is the most popular part of your site? As I stated earlier, my tweeps were keen to hear and encouraged me. Also, I always had some emails ready to send as friends (from the real world!) asked for suggestions for places like Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, New York or London! Why not share it further?
3. You have traveled to Barcelona many times. What are some of your favorite things to do in Barcelona?
I was very lucky that my previous job took me to Barcelona every two weeks. It always made me feel at home. I got to stay at Passeig de Gracia, next to our office. I loved walking around the area and shopping. I remember epic dinners at Tragaluz or lunches by the beach. Ohhhh!
4. You travel with a lot of suitcases and are a shoe maven! Do you continue to buy shoes on all your trips? If you were only able to travel with two pairs of shoes, which would you chose?
I don’t set out thinking I’m going to buy shoes – they seem to find me. On my last trip to Barcelona, I only bought two pairs! And I love buying shoes in Spain. The second part of the question is so difficult. I’d say my caramel pair of ballet flats which go well with everything and you can dress them up and down. For some super comfort on planes, obviously a pair of navy driving Tod’s. Am I allowed a third pair? My silver Prada wedges which glam it up a bit on beach holidays and look great with every outfit.
5. How do you see the future of the internet affecting your business?
I think it can only bring good things to me and my Mrs O around the world project. It brings country and distance barriers down and helps people connecting. I have connected with incredible people and made some good friends. Why? Because we bonded on shared interests, and that is something.
6. Where are places in Spain that are on your list?
I need to go back to Madrid. Since I left in 2007, I have only been back once. I love going to Baiona and Vigo for the dramatic scenery and seafood. I want to go back to the Balearics -Menorca will always be special to me and I will never forget a yacht trip to Mallorca and Ibiza. Never made it to Formentera and that needs to be corrected. I could really go on! But a must? Seville! Have never been as a grown up and need to find a free weekend sooner rather than later.
7. Do you always love coming back home to the UK or does wanderlust have you constantly considering the next trip?
I am a planner, so I always know where I’m going next, which I suppose keeps things exciting. But that coming home feeling is wonderful and I love it. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed and knowing where everything is.