Travel Stories Week 20
What's your favorite place you have visited?
I have two.
The first is Vietnam. This was actually my first overseas trip and it was a huge culture shock! About six years later I went back for work and while a lot had changed, a lot hadn’t and I ended up so in love. Vietnam is full of beautiful souls who are so happy to talk to you, help you out and show you their country, but they’re a bit more low-key than other countries in the region. I like to joke that Vietnam is like Thailand for introverts, and I felt so at home there.
The second is Fiji. Another place I went to when I was young - I was in need of a calm space to heal from some things that had happened and Fiji was perfect. Again, the kindness of people is what really stayed with me. I visited again for work and then on my third visit, I got married there! A beautiful white chapel on the beach with 60 of our closest friends and family... it was just incredible.
What’s the best thing you have seen while travelling?
There are a million little things that I think are a testament to why people should travel. Like a hippo in South Africa just walking into the street right in front of me, or witnessing two guards have a slap fight in the streets of Saigon. Getting stuck in two separate traffic jams in Madagascar: one because two trucks had inexplicably broken down side by side in the road, and one caused by an ox and cart. Little moments that make you laugh, or make you freak out a bit, but that you remember decades down the track.
What’s your best travel story?
I was in South Africa on safari in KwaZulu Natal. We had tracked a black rhino on foot and came up behind it in this clearing, careful to make sure we were downwind so it couldn’t smell us. So we duck down in the long grass to watch it and it’s all going fine for a while until somebody needs to sneeze. We’re desperately (and silently) trying to get her to hold it in but you know what it’s like in the sun and the grass – impossible. Eventually she lets out this huge sneeze and we just see the rhino freeze, turn around and let out this huge, angry noise. He starts bucking his hind legs. It was one of those moments where you feel like your heart comes up into your mouth – pure adrenaline and fear. Our guide tells us to get right down as low as we can and back away really slowly, keeping our eyes on the rhino at all times. We get far enough away that we can stand up and I think most of us just wanted to sprint back to the safari truck. For those few minutes when we were watching the rhino go about his business it was just the most incredible experience... but I’m not sure I’d get that close again!
Tell us about your blog
My blog, A Winter Escape, exists because I had all these digital nomads in my insta feed and, while their pics were amazing, it just wasn’t relatable to me. I’m in the process of starting a new career and I live the rat race, and I have two little boys too. The blogs I was seeing were either family blogs or nomad blogs and I didn’t see anything that fit me: a travel professional who travels as much as possible, who has a life and family but isn’t defined by that.
A Winter Escape isn’t solely for families, or solely for career people... it’s about saying “yeah I have kids but I’m still a young, fun person who enjoys life and traveling” and encouraging women to be who they want to be, rather than being defined by what they do or what they’re told they should be.
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Who do we have next week?
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