English Conversation Practice | Listen to English & Understand!

Lesson Overview

In this English Conversation practice, listen to English phrases in a natural conversation about travel! Learn 34 advanced words & expressions as you listen!


Video Transcript

Well hey there! Do you like to travel?

Today I’m sharing a real natural English conversation about travelling, and there are so many reasons to keep watching.

First, it’s going to be fantastic listening practice. You’ll get to listen to a natural English conversation between native English speakers as I chat with my friend Kat about her travels.

Secondly, you’ll also learn lots of interesting travel phrases and vocabulary, and you’ll hear them as they’re used naturally in a casual conversation.

And thirdly, we have made you a fantastic workbook that is free for you to download. It includes explanations, examples, and some activities that will help you to practise using these words as you speak about travel yourself, and you can get that free PDF workbook just down in the description below. You need to sign up with your email address, and we’ll send it through straight away.

So if you’re ready to practise listening to a casual conversation about travel, let’s dive right in!


Emma: I’ve invited my friend, my colleague, Kat along to join me for a natural, relaxed conversation about a topic that friends often discuss together.

Kat: Travel!

Emma: Travel. And travel is something that Kat is a bit of an expert on. A bit of an expert?

Kat: Bit of an expert, I would say that.

Emma: If Kat looks a little familiar that’s because she is one of our incredible coaches from inside the Hey Lady! Community, an online, safe and supportive community to help women develop confidence and freedom with their spoken English. Our community is global. There are women from over a hundred and twenty different countries. Kat has met the most of them because she has been travelling around the world for the last seven years. Seven years?

Kat: Seven years. I left Australia seven years ago, yeah.

Emma: The world has changed since.

Kat: So much. Absolutely!

Emma: And right now we are in Turkey, in Istanbul, in fact. That’s why we’re together. Usually, we’re online teachers and we’ve got the opportunity to spend some time together here in Istanbul for…

Kat: The Hey Lady! Meetup. We just went to Cappadocia. We had almost forty of us together in one hotel. It was like a school camp holiday. We were going on buses, field trips together, seeing amazing things. It was fabulous.


I’m sorry to interrupt the conversation but I could not let this opportunity pass since Kat and I are talking about Hey Lady!

Did you know that you can access a Hey Lady! Conversation Pack free for ten days? And even join a conversation with one of our English Coaches? You’ll have access to lessons, workbooks, and group conversations for ten days and it’s free!

To get instant access to your free Hey Lady! Conversation Package, click the link down in the description below.


Emma: Let’s start by talking about how many countries you have actually visited now.

Kat: It’s so hard to say but I did count them the other day and it was up to thirty-seven. Yeah, thirty-seven countries.

Emma: Thirty-seven countries. I wonder if any of you have been travelling as much as Kat has, maybe you’ve been to thirty-seven, maybe you’ve been to more and you could let us know down in the comments. How many have you been to? Which one has been your favourite?

Kat: For me, it turns out the places that steal my heart are the places I’ve spent the most time in which says something about my personality that I really like to get to know places as I travel. So I spent the most time in Mexico, near Mexico City and it’s a fabulous place. I highly recommend going there, yeah.

Emma: So I can see why this type of travel is so appealing, being able to live and immerse yourself in different places and different experiences with different people.

Kat: When I look back to seven years ago, I remember the moment where we were saying let’s leave Melbourne, where we lived and I was saying I really want to travel and work like I really want to do that, let’s make it happen. And we were looking at the map, where do we want to go and it kind of turned into let’s go all the way around and one of the biggest, unique things about this is we’re doing it slowly, as in slow travel which means no flights.

I fly sometimes. It’s a secret but Garth, my partner, he is doing the whole world without flying and…

Emma: Circumnavigating the entire world.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: Without catching a flight.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: So what are the means of traffic?

Kat: Yeah so, it takes ages – so we started by taking a campervan to Perth. Perth and..

Emma: That’s where I live.

Kat: Then we – he took a boat to Singapore and then you know, slow travel, buses, trains, everything is actually quite accessible with this public transport.

The biggest, you know, the biggest part is the oceans and I’ve done one ocean, I did a cruise from New York to Southampton but Garth has gone across the Pacific on a freighter ship which is like, it’s a transport company.

Emma: Like a cargo ship.

Kat: A cargo ship and you have to pay for it, you can’t like just.

Emma: Is it comfortable?

Kat: Yeah, it looked really comfortable. He got his own room, he got meals every day, it’s like your hotel, your room and your board and your travel, all of it, inclusive. And he did it. He got from Vietnam all the way to California and it took twenty-one days. Amazing.

Emma: Slow travel.

Kat: Slow travel.

Emma: That’s like going back in time to the way that our grandparents used to you know from Australia catch the ship back to England and to visit family and stay for long periods of time.

Kat: Yep.

Emma: It’s pretty impressive and kind of unique because the rest of us, we travel in an instant. We try and get there fast so that we can spend as much time as possible there while we’ve got our time off work, you know, we have such limited time.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: That I guess it’s a luxury…

Kat: It is a luxury.

Emma: To be able to move at that pace and working online and having the flexibility in your work also helps.

Kat: Absolutely.

Emma: To make that happen.

Kat: We have spent a year in some places, like a year in Vietnam teaching. Two years in Mexico teaching. So you have long spells but as soon as we had the opportunity to switch completely online as teachers all of a sudden that door was opened and we saw this possibility of let’s do it, let’s actually be that digital nomad and let’s go from place to place to place.

We have a routine within our crazy world. Tuesday’s travel day. So on Tuesday, you pack your bags and you take a train or a bus and you go to the next place and it’s funny because in that routine you have a normalcy and you get used to it.

Emma: It sounds so abnormal to me, like the idea of packing up. Everything. I have so many questions for Kat because the idea of packing up your bag every week and moving to a new place.

Kat: Yes.

Emma: Catching a bus, catching a train, catching a ferry.

Kat: Yeah, lots of ferries.

Emma: To the next destination, setting up, finding where to get ingredients to cook, being able to locate yourself and work out where to go, what to do, learn new languages.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: I think it takes a certain type of person to be able to function in this way and also to be able to really enjoy it and embrace it.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: What do you think are the characteristics of someone who travels like you do? Lives this nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place and taking your things with you.

Kat: Yeah so I have learned a lot in seven years and you see your skills develop, you see your ability to be patient, increase. You have to be open-minded. You have to be flexible and a little bit resilient because plans change like at the drop of a hat. We’ve had so many moments where we planned to go to this country and then because of pandemic, because of, you know anything that happens internationally, there’s always something that you can’t plan for and you have to be okay to say that won’t work, let’s do this. Let’s change it.

So that sort of resiliency, patience, flexibility and curiosity because why do this to yourself if you don’t, if you’re not curious and the benefits are that you’re trying new food, you’re learning about the world, you’re seeing beautiful places, picking up history, going to museums, all the things that we normally do as tourists, you’re doing this every week and a curious mind is essential I think for this because that is the true benefit compared to all the inconvenient aspects of this lifestyle.

Emma: I feel like in these situations you know, where things don’t go right or you’ve got to change your plans, I feel like I would become quite frazzled you know, and anxious and I think that that’s something that you have to build resilience in to be able to deal with those different situations.

Kat: Yeah and it is helpful if you have a partner with you like someone who you can rely on, who can help you in those moments. For example, I just flew to Turkey to be here at this meetup and my partner is not doing that because he doesn’t fly and I was frazzled because it’s the first, it’s a solo trip and solo travel’s different to travelling with your travel buddy but you rely on each other to help each other out of tight spots but you learn how to just take a breath, problem solve, look around, say okay what can I do to fix this situation and you do get better at it and you say yeah, of course, you’ll have bad days, good days, just like any day. Any normal life is full of ups and downs, too.

Emma: So Kat what do you miss most about a location-stable lifestyle? Just staying in the same place.

Kat: Yeah. Everyone asks me: Where where do you live?

Emma: That’s a good question. Where?

Kat: And so someone once asked me okay where do you get your mail delivered to? And so I would say in my hometown in California where my parents live, that’s where all my bank statements go, all of that, that’s where I send all my souvenirs that I buy. Every six months I’ll send a package to California, say can you keep this for me? Yeah. So I miss nesting. I wish I could buy that. I want that for my house. What house?

So we have chosen in terms of a lifestyle, we have chosen travel over stability, stability is a home, it’s friendships, it’s predictability and that’s something that we talk about a lot, that one day when we have a home we will do this. The grass is always greener on the other side, everyone says you’re so lucky and I say but you have a lovely home full of things and..

Emma: You have dinner parties with your friends.

Kat: Yeah, dinner parties and so I miss obviously my friends and community and just having a place to put things.

Emma: I imagine that travelling around, sending things home because you, you know, you can’t carry things constantly with you, what are the things that you carry with you? You know, what are the essentials, something that you would, you just could not live without?

Kat: It’s funny because I think about this a lot as I’m carrying my suitcase and I can give some general tips that I can stand by.

So first of all, the essentials, practical shoes. I usually only have one pair of shoes, maybe two, and it’s seasonal so in the winter, in the spring and autumn, I might have my really good boots and I will wear them out until they are full of holes and then I get sandals, lovely walking sandals that you can have in the summer. I only have enough clothes so that I can do laundry one time per week, one load of washing per week and that’s enough so a few dresses, socks, the bare minimum so I would say you have to be a little bit low-maintenance about what you wear.

Emma: And I guess as well, you’re travelling and going through different seasons, different climates, different requirements, how do you manage that?

Kat: Yes.

Emma: Are you continually adding to your pile of stuff?

Kat: Acquiring and purging so I’m as we say in the United States, a thrifter, I don’t know what you, op-shoper?

Emma: Op-shopper. Yeah.

Kat: Yeah so someone who goes to second-hand stores, I love it. So it’s a hobby of mine so I will buy a dress, get rid of a dress, buy some jeans, get rid of this, so it’s like a circle of my wardrobe and it’s affordable so you don’t have to invest a lot in a high-quality pricey item.

Emma: So right now it’s, well, we’ve just come out of summer, it’s really still very hot here.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: In Istanbul, as you start getting towards November, December, you’ll probably purge?

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: I like that word, purge a bunch of stuff.

Kat: Yep.

Emma: And find some…

Kat: A good jacket.

Emma: Good jackets and warmer things.

Kat: But apart from the essentials, I also have luxury items so what I mean by that is for example I carry a little satchel of small perfume bottles so I have five different what would you call them, aromas?

Emma: Fragrance?

Kat: Fragrances. Yeah, I have five different fragrances to choose from, they’re so small, they pack well. I carry earrings. Garth carries a pocket square.

Emma: What’s that?

Kat: It’s just like.

Emma: Like a handkerchief?

Kat: Yeah that you can fold up and put in your pocket so you look fancy. So these are just the small luxury items that pack well and make you feel fancy.

Emma: So if you have the opportunity to go to the opera.

Kat: Yeah, which I have done.

Emma: Or do something like that, you’ve got a few of these little…

Kat: Fancy items.

Emma: Fancy items, luxuries.

Ka: It does make you feel like you’re not just backpacking, you know, you need to feel normal.

Emma: Would you say that like would you describe the way that you travel now as backpacking?

Kat: No. Backpacking is travelling light, being mobile. We are mobile. I do travel lightly but you would be so surprised if you opened my suitcase because what you will find are some creature comforts that nobody in their right mind would travel with.

Emma: What’s in there?

Kat: Yeah so if you were to open the suitcase you would find a small cooking pot and a plastic box full of spices.

Emma: That’s interesting.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: Because home cooking is quite challenging when you are travelling so frequently, moving from place to place, getting ingredients.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: Getting the things that you’re familiar with.

Kat: Or just yeah because when you buy spices, they’re expensive and if you go from place to place you’re always buying the same thing again and again.

Emma: So is that the essential item that you would not travel without or is there something else?

Kat: That for me, as my current lifestyle, I think it is.

Emma: So we’re in Turkey now. Where are you off to next?

Kat: In about a week I will take an overnight train from Istanbul to Bulgaria. I’ll reunite with Garth there and then from there up to Poland and towards the beginning of next year, January we’re going to start heading towards Asia, East to connect the dots so to speak so I’m almost anxious about completing the end of the journey because then I have to decide you know, where’s home? I don’t know. Everywhere is home.

Emma: Where am I gonna settle down?

Kat: Yeah and that’s the big question of the year, I think.

Emma: What kind of advice do you have for anyone who is thinking about this nomadic lifestyle? If anyone’s been watching and they’re like wow, how do I do this? I’m so excited about this. What do I need to do to prepare or to start thinking?

Kat: Yeah, absolutely, so if you want this nomadic lifestyle and you’re working, of course, there’s the practical things like always have data on your phone so that you have an internet connection wherever you are. I recommend going to Airbnbs because you have, you know real homes you can be in. If you like to share a space, it’s always really nice to actually live in a room with a local host, it’s a nice warm home feeling.

For me, going from place to place on a weekly basis, for me, my favourite stay is two weeks at a time, I think that’s enough to relax, enjoy where you are, explore. Of course, do your research beforehand because there’s always visas, border checks, pandemics, all these things that can get in the way and you have to be prepared for so.

Emma: I can’t quite tell if I’m like, half of me is a little bit envious and half of me is a little bit overwhelmed.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: By the pace of travelling and moving, I wonder what you guys all think about Kat’s lifestyle and whether or not it’s something you’d be interested in doing if you could make it happen?

Like you say, it’s something that you have to create space for in your life, in work life, in family life, but lots of people do it and people who do travel a lot, talk about how incredible that experience is in meeting different, people different perspectives, understanding different cultures in different parts of the world. It’s been wonderful.

Kat: Yeah.

Emma: Kat, thank you so much for joining me and for having this interesting discussion with me, always curious to hear about different lifestyles and different perspectives and it’s certainly been interesting chatting with you today.

Kat: Wonderful.

Emma: I hope you all enjoyed it. What we have done is prepared a little workbook for you that includes a lot of the different expressions, the words and things that have come up in our conversation, helped you to put a little bit of context around the way that we use these expressions and words so we’ve included all this information on the worksheet which you can grab down in the description below this video.

Hope it’s useful and I hope we get to see you again very soon. Bye for now!

Kat: Thanks!

Cool, high five!

Links mentioned in the video

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