I travel for...
I am absolutely an aspirational mermaid and became a scuba Dive Master some years ago, which allowed me to stay and work in Thailand. I am so happy under the water – this blue planet offers me total immersion into another world, it reminds me how absolutely awesome nature is. There is nothing like diving with sharks to give you perspective on life. I learnt scuba on the Malaysian Perhentian Islands and the crystalline blue of that water is still up there for me as some of the best, alongside the Similans in Thailand and much of Indonesia. I would love to do the sardine run in South Africa, dive with orcas in Norway, blue whales in Sri Lanka and mantas in the Maldives.
Not just under water but on land too. Africa blew my mind with its raw beauty and the sheer diversity of flora and fauna across its stunning landscapes. Watching wild dogs play, leopards lounge, a cheetah mum and her cubs, a million flamingos on a lake, the wildebeest migration. I feel so privileged to see wild animals in their natural environment. I believe travellers have an enormous responsibility to preserve not exploit animals and remember to treat their habitat with respect. Big bears and the primates of Uganda and Borneo are high on my wildlife bucket list.
The weird and the wonderful
Snake wine in Vietnam, bug kebabs in Thailand, full moon rituals and plant medicine in South America, tribal dances in Africa, sleeping underground in the Australian desert (actually almost anywhere in the Oz outback!), ‘happy’ pizza in Cambodia, hang gliding over Copacabana beach, hearing a hippo snuffle around your tent. You know, the stuff that really makes you feel alive! For me, the best bits of travel offers a wonderland of new and unusual discoveries that really get the adrenalin pumping.
Shirley MacLaine said “the more I travelled the more I realised that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” Travel exposes you to many kinds of people and sometimes that feels daunting, especially language barriers. But when you understand that alongside the fascinating differences seen in people across the globe, that we all have many things in common, the fear can melt away and the opportunities to learn and to share are amazing. Never underestimate the universal communication of a smile, or that kids love to play, or the role of an elder in a village, or how far manners can take you! For me, some of my best travel experiences and memories have come from the people I’ve connected with.