A bit about me
My love of travel started from a young age. Geography was always my favourite subject at school, but it wasn’t until a family visit to Egypt at the age of 12 when my desire to see the world truly began. A sense of wonder filled me as I looked at monuments that were thousands of years old and the different sounds, smells and sights had a lasting effect on me. After completing a degree in Geography at university I sought a career within travel.
I have now been in the industry for over 11 years and have been fortunate enough to visit many amazing places and meet some wonderfully interesting people. I find travel refreshing to the mind. I never want to stop learning and having new experiences and the best way to do that is to keep travelling. However, the main reason I enjoy what I do is that I get to help people fulfill their own travel desires.
My favourite place
The backwaters of Kerala are enchanting. Its landscape of palm fringed lagoons and waterways are far-removed from the pace of modern life and this has made it one of my favourite destinations. To get the most from a visit here an overnight stay onboard a houseboat is a must. These vessels are converted rice boats and offer a unique way to explore the backwaters. All along the water’s edge are churches, temples, villages and Chinese, cantilevered fishing nets, hanging eerily over the water, for which the area is famous. During the leisurely cruise, stops are made along the route giving you an opportunity to experience the local way life.
My favourite hotel
Situated within the walled city of Jodhpur, beneath the imposing Mehrangarh Fort is RAAS, a unique property combining contemporary architecture with the remnants of a 300 year old haveli. I quickly fell in love with this fantastic hotel which is entered through large gates from the historic streets of the north-eastern quarter of the city.
It is an oasis of calm with beautiful terraced gardens and an inviting swimming pool, however you never feel far from the action with the occasional call to prayer from the neighbouring mosque. The rooms are situated in the contemporary new buildings and are of an exceptionally high standard with state of the art facilities and modern design. But it is the uninterrupted view of Mehrangarh Fort that really adds the wow factor. My fondest memory of this property is of sitting out in the evening at the rooftop restaurant enjoying the amazing views of the illuminated Fort and listening to the sounds of the city.
My most memorable experience
Travelling across the vast steppe of Mongolia is an experience I will never forget. Driving for several hours through awe-inspiring scenery in 4×4 vehicles without another sole in sight was a true joy, eventually happening upon an isolated nomadic family. As we approached, the children ran towards us waving and smiling. We stopped and they invited us into their Ger where we were offered a bowl of Airag, fermented mare’s milk.
After being given a guided tour of their simple family home, we were then led outside to look as they gathered the goats for milking. Like a well oiled machine, each member of the family played their part and eventually the herd were in a perfect line. It was such an honour to spend some time with a native nomadic family and was a fascinating insight into a traditional way of life. For me, it was one of the few places in the world that I felt completely detached from modern society and will remain one of my fondest travelling experiences.
My top tips
- Whilst in Japan I would certainly recommend sampling Kobe beef. It has to be one of the best steaks I have ever tasted. This tender and well marbled cut of beef comes from the Wagyu cattle, which are said to be massaged daily and often have beer or sake added to their feed. There is nowhere better to sample this meat than at the New York Bar & Grill situated at the top of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo which has stunning views over the city.
- Always incorporate at least one or two nights in a rural area to get a true feel for the destination.
- Try to get at least a small amount of foreign currency for tips and other unexpected items before leaving the airport.
- Don’t try to do too much in too little time. A well planned itinerary can give a far greater experience, getting the most out of your visit without being tiring. Remember, the destinations you visit aren’t going anywhere, you can visit time and time again.