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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?
There are so many amazing places to choose from, and all have their own unique reasons! Though staying with an Indonesian family, sharing their home right on Balangan beach has to be one of my favourites. They were just the kindest most humble people you could ever meet and the setting was something out of a dream, to hear the waves rolling over the reef, dappled in moonlight and sharing some smiles and stories over a few Bintangs.
What's your oddest travel moment?
It's close between the bargaining monkeys of Uluwatu temple (smart enough to know a camera is higher value than a sandal and therefore worth more bags of nuts), getting roped into milking over 100 cows in Rotorua, New Zealand, and driving for over 4 hours without passing another soul on the road wondering if I'd taken a wrong turn whilst on a solo road trip around the North Island. However, the moment that tops it for me was again in New Zealand after sailing over to Matakana Island from Mount Maunganui for the afternoon and sunset. After a beautiful fun filled day, we all attempted to make the return journey with our friends' two small yachts and jet-ski. The other yacht and jet ski shot on ahead as I started to realise we were not making much progress, only to discover the owner and skipper had had a little too much to drink whilst we'd all been out swimming and wake-surfing and had at this point completely given up attempting any return journey. With only one other on the boat, neither of us had any sailing experience and the depth sounder showing we were dangerously close to running aground on the sandbank I had to try to steer us to safety - with some not so helpful guidance from our dear drunk skipper. I felt a very brief-lived sigh of relief when the sounder suddenly showed we were in much deeper waters only for an exclamation of "Ahhh we must be in the shipping channel!" with just enough time to pull around in a circle and avoid the outgoing cargo ship. A journey that should have taken 30mins ended up being over 2 nail-biting hours with not much wind, a flooded engine, and a first time sailor at the helm! I'm still not quite sure how we managed it but it sure is an experience I'll never forget!
Have you had a perfect travel moment?
I've been lucky enough to experience some truly incredible sunsets around the world that just remind you how beautiful life is, but the most perfect moment would have to be during a PADI open water diver course in Nusa Lembongan, Bali. On my third day, third ever dive, they took us out on the boat to Manta Point, where several other dive schools and day trips had also headed. Our small group of 3 plus the instructor split off to find a quieter spot only to be excitedly tapped on the shoulders 10 minutes into the dive by the instructor to point out 2 magnificent Manta rays whom decided to circle round us, gracefully dancing and observing. Truly a heart stopping moment!
What are your suitcase essentials?
I always travel quite light, but definitely cannot have too many bikinis!
Where's next on your wishlist?
The list is ever growing! I'd love to head over to Costa Rica, Nicaragua in search of some adventure, some good waves and appreciate life's simple treasures - really experience that "Pura Vida". South America has always beckoned as well, I'd love to take a trip round several different countries here and really go off the beaten track. And a road trip around the coastline of South Africa, perhaps with a Safari added in sounds like a dream!