Ep.3 of our Original Series Takes Us Around the World in 80+ Snacks Our friend Melissa Hie is the self-confessed food and travel enthusiast who’s saying what we’re all thinking: “I love eating and travelling the world.” These two universal passions were combined by Melissa into the master-stroke Instagram account Girl Eat World, a catalogue of Melissa’s travels by way of the snacks she snaps up along the way, and the stories behind each one. Although her family moved around a fair bit when she was young, Melissa only really got into travelling after university, throwing herself into the unknown by moving alone to Singapore. And this was a game-changer. By 2010 the bug had well and truly bit, and saw Melissa taking full advantage of Singapore’s cheap travel and close proximity to a variety of fascinating destinations, alongside her day job as a UX designer. So far she’s racked up over thirty cities, and plans to visit at least one new country per year. Melissa’s a natural storyteller with an easy style, who perfectly summarises our favourite new way to travel: “eating my way around the world.” THE PLUS: Why do you pick the snacks that you do? Melissa Hie: I always pick something local so that it can tell a history about the destination I was in. But also I sometimes feature nicely made desserts like the hello kitty donut in Japan, just because I think it makes for a great photo and captures the modern culture of that place. TP: Let’s talk weird foods: what are weirdest in a good way, and the weirdest in a bad way, that you’ve come across? MH: I think the weirdest one has to be the freshly chopped octopus in Korea. I’ve never eaten something that’s still moving. TP: Do you think your work as a UX designer has influenced your photography? MH: I think so. I am not a professional photographer by any means, but I think being a designer gave me the basic sense of how to compose a shot. These days, it takes me no longer than 3-5 minutes to take and edit a shot right on my iPhone. TP: Any tips for editing iPhone travel photos? MH: Don’t use too much filter, but do pay attention to natural light and different ways to angle your photo. Also, use the grids and tap-to-focus feature on iPhone – it’s 90% of what makes my picture better. TP: You’ve been picked up by news stations on your travels – do people recognise you in the street? MH: Most people actually don’t know what I look like, so I don’t get recognised. However there was a few times where my instagram was mentioned on the conversation and I found out the person I was speaking to had been following @girleatworld, without knowing the person behind it. TP: You must get offered plenty of snacks for free; does this affect what goes on the account or how you travel? MH: I do get free snacks offers, but this has not changed the Instagram much as I don’t tend to take those offers up. I tend to take more travel offers that allow me to be flexible with what type of food I can feature on the Instagram. TP: What advice would you give to people who want to make the most out of their travels? MH: Try to research ahead of time, no matter how daunting the task might seem, especially about the local history of a place you are visiting. That gives you so much more insight into the local life than you’d get blindly visiting a place and just touching the surface. TP: Any plans for the rest of this summer? MH: I have tons! I’m about to leave for Europe in a week, where I will be visiting Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Rep and Ukraine. I will also be visiting Japan (again) at the end of July. Aside from that, I might be visiting Korea and Indonesia.