I grew up in a small town in West Yorkshire called Boston Spa, before heading to university in Liverpool. Whilst I was there, I spent a semester abroad in China, living in a city called Suzhou, near Shanghai, for six months. I spent time exploring rural China, including the Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Avatar fans will recognise the floating mountains), as well as venturing out to Southeast Asia to experience Vietnamese, Cambodian and Filipino cultures.
Growing up with a keen sailor for a dad, I spent many summers skipping around the Mediterranean Sea, snorkelling in tiny bays, sailing into Barcelona harbour, and gawping at the super yachts in Fiskardo. A particularly memorable moment was doing a “man overboard!” call in the British Virgin Islands to save our escaped dinghy.
I have bungee jumped in Zambia, hiked Table Mountain, zip-lined past Arenal Volcano and performed in a choir on Liberty Island. Having just joined the travel industry, I am excited to explore and learn more about cultures around the world.
A few years ago, I was sailing along the English south coast with my family, stopping off at towns in Devon and Cornwall along the way. One day, we anchored in a peaceful bay in Cornwall, with not much more than a couple of houses and a beach. We got our wetsuits on, went for a swim and a snorkel. We were enjoying a cup of tea on deck when another family swam across the bay in their swimsuits and came to say hello. We offered them a brew and a biscuit and welcomed the swimming strangers on board. While it may not have been in an exotic location (although, for a Yorkshire girl, Cornwall is!), it was a wholesome and spontaneous moment, meeting and chatting to strangers. After they got back into the sea and swam away, we never saw them again.
A trip that will forever stick out in my mind was when I spent three weeks travelling north through Vietnam. Whilst there, we stopped at a city called Dalat in the highlands surrounded by hills, forests, and waterfalls. Although it was rainy and wet when I was there, I had the most fun abseiling down cliffs and through waterfalls, rock jumping into small pools and springs, floating down the river and having a picnic on a rock by the riverside.
We stayed at a small family hostel, which provided dinner for the 30 guests. We were all cramped round a large table together, getting to know strangers from all over the world. After dinner, the hosts performed for us, playing the piano and violin.
One of my favourite hotels is the Coral Reef Club in Holetown, Barbados. I was lucky enough to visit this hotel in November 2021 and spend a week there, lazing in the sun, drinking piña coladas. The hotel is sat a few steps from the beach, so you’re never more than twenty metres from your sunbed and the bar. In the evening you can enjoy a sundowner (my favourite had to be the rum punch), while observing the most astonishing sunset.
The owners of Coral Reef take a very hands-on approach and are often around the hotel, always up for a chat and genuinely interested in how your holiday is going. At the main reception desk, you can book boat excursions to see turtles and to swim in other bays; my favourite was visiting a shipwreck in a nearby bay – while enjoying the complimentary rum punch on board.