Stephanie Ong is a writer/editor, city explorer and design enthusiast, who loves to create whether it be with words or objects. Born in Melbourne, Australia, she has since lived in Barcelona, London and is now based in Milan, Italy, which she loves for its coffee and slower pace of life. She has written travel pieces for Lonely Planet, Le Cool Publishing and Red Milk Magazine. She believes in travel and always being curious about the world.

What’s your worst travel experience?

Travelling for hours on the back of pickup truck that stank of poo. This was in Cuba 10 years ago. I was 21 with three of my good friends and we were naive enough to want to experience life like the locals. So no expensive tourist buses for us. Instead we queued in the street until the sun went down (and our anxiety went up), only to be herded onto the back of the truck used to ship livestock. Peeing over the side was a whole new, now funny but at the time horrifying experience.

What’s your best travel experience?

One summer I spent three weeks driving around Portugal with my boyfriend and this is exactly my type of holiday. I loved the heat, the stunning beaches and pretty tiled buildings, the flexibility of driving and all the charming undiscovered little towns we passed along the way. Hardly anyone spoke English but they were warm and welcoming just the same, and each night we decided where to head next. It was the perfect easy adventure.

What’s your top travel destination and why?

I love Barcelona. I’ve been back so many times and still there’s something about it that resonates with me. It’s the heat, the chaos of the streets, the laissez-faire attitude combined with the incredible beauty and energy of this city. It’s a place that makes you want to stay up till 5am dancing and then sleep till 2pm and spend the rest of the day on the beach.

Share a top travel tip

Don’t overplan. Give yourself the freedom and flexibility to really explore the place you’re going to by letting yourself decide things as they come. Sometimes the best experiences are found this way.