(This appears in the anniversary issue of Asiaspa magazine. I was the guest editor of the travel section)
I have always had a never-ending thirst for seeing new places. It’s something I have inherited from my father who in the 70s hitched hiked and back-packed his way from Kabul through the Middle East, Eastern Europe to finally end up in England 6 months later. It’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish, but given the current geo political climate, hardly likely to. Less so, with me being a woman. I have of course done something similar, when as a 20 yr old I went about my way from Austria to Germany to Holand to Belgium and finally France. That entire trip was on a shoestring budget. It involved staying in Youth Hostels( dad’s recommendation) , taking trains and buses and walking whenever possible. And what an experience it was! I came back thinking I’d seen the world. I continued to travel at regular intervals and began to slowly evolve into a discerning traveller. I began researching more before my trips, did homework and got smarter with things. One of the earlier lessons I learnt was to always secure an Internet booking for hotels, car rentals, museum entry’s, bus tours, etc( and this when the Internet was NOT the primary booking medium) prior to arrival in a new destination. Picking a lodging walking distance from the city center of a city i was another one.
One discovers a lot about oneself as one travels. I realized I wasn’t cut out to go to places everyone went to, very early on. I didn’t want to be a “me too” traveler. I consciously chose places that were off the beaten path, where I was unlikey to bump to any one other than the seasoned traveller. Nerja, on the Costa Del Sol in the Spanish Riviera was one such town. Small and quaint it was breathtaking! The average traveller would of course have picked Marbella. I truly love places that offer the extraordinary . Finland is one such destination. I have always been a big fan of the outdoors . To be able to ski, sleigh, trek, go on a husky or a reindeer safari is truly my cup of tea. My trip to the Arctic region Finland (Lapland)was out of the world. And I can’t wait to go back for more!!
Another one of my favourite places is the continent of Africa. It’s has the most beautiful landscapes and exquisite wildlife. I had the good fortune of living in Zambia when my father was posted there, and having visited many countries on the continent, I fell in love with the African way of life. From Kenya to Tanzania to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi , Namibia to South Africa -it is vivid and it varies. If there is the savannah in Kenya, there are rolling Highlands in Nyanga(Zimbabwe) and then there are stunning Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa.All unique, all beautiful. Africa has deserts, rain forests, beaches and mountains. I can’t ever plan a year of travel that doesn’t feature an African destination.
I hope I can continue to travel and experience and discover all the world has to offer. Next on the agenda is diving in Phuket and perhaps a trip to Petra, Jordan. And South America. And Tibet. And Russia once again. Here I go!