Although I’m now a Sandal Artisan, in my early days I was a big traveller. For 7 years I was an international Ski Instructor which allowed me to travel and backpack in between the Northern Hemisphere Winters and the Southern Hemisphere Winters. Then in my corporate days I worked globally for a top 100 ASX listed company and this enabled me to work and travel in a 5-star capacity.
I Got My First Passport……. when I was 18. At 17 I did my first overseas trip to New Zealand and a passport wasn’t required. I left the day after my HSC Speech Night because I was desperate to travel independently and go overseas. I think as a teenager I asked my parents to go overseas desperately but my Dad was always working and my parents certainly didn’t have the travel bug like me. Since then, I have travelled to about 32 countries.
My First Holiday Memory. As a little kid, my earliest holiday memories are of camping on the Murray River, where we would water ski and go fishing every day. I have beautiful memories of my dogs then as well.
First Overseas Trip. Not counting New Zealand, I went to Canada at 18 for a ski season. I worked as a cocktail waitress and skied as much as possible. I made really good money in tips due to my Australian accent. After the ski season I travelled through the USA, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean before returning home for the next ski season at Mt Buller.
My Favourite Type of Holiday. I love adventure holidays that are physically challenging and that take me out of my comfort zone. For example, I’ve done a handful of major hikes around the world including Machu Picchu, Mt Everest Base Camp and The Kokoda Track. After trips like this I then like to have a 5-star stopover on the way home.
I Keep Going Back To. Well to me holidays are about always going to new places and experiencing new things, however, I tend to go to Noosa about once every 5 years and every year I visit my local, which is Rottnest Island.
Places that Have Most Surprised Me. India. It’s absolutely fascinating in so many ways. I sailed on the Ganges River from Delhi to Varanasi. Varanasi has pyres burning corpses 24 x 7, sacred farm animals roaming the streets and so many scenes that pulled at my heart strings.
Sickest I’ve Been on a Holiday. One of my best friends calls me “Iron Gut Botha” but I did projectile vomit over some other people and all over the surrounding walls on my rush to the bathroom in Delhi. I instantly felt better after the big vomit and was able to back out sightseeing again, straight away.
My Advice to Other Travellers. Go somewhere new every year. Pack lightly because too much luggage can literally ruin your holiday. Open your mind to other cultures, meet the locals, try the local food, travel on the local transport and get yourself out of your usual comfort zone.
Most Interesting Person I’ve Met Overseas Nobody stands out in my mind but I did meet one of the oldest living “Fuzzy Wuzzies” on the Kokoda. I believe he was over 100 but we couldn’t communicate so we just held hands and looked into each other’s eyes.
The Souvenir I Always Buy. Nothing. A lot of souvenirs can become junk after a few years and I live a fairly minimalist lifestyle. I do buy the occasional fridge magnet though and sometimes a baseball cap, out of necessity.
Favourite Room Service Meal. After a major hike or travel in a third world country I love to stay in a 5-star hotel, watch a movie in bed and order a hamburger, French fries and a strawberry milkshake for dinner.
Weirdest Thing I’ve Ever Eaten Overseas. If I’m doubtful about the food I tend to go vegetarian. You can’t go wrong with rice and vegetables. On my Mt Everest Base Camp hike, the boys all ate Yak hamburgers and in China I’ve had a sizzling Eel platter served to me.
Best Upgrade I’ve Ever Had. A big corner suite at the Crown Hotel in Melbourne and the “Flight Deck” which is the seat behind the pilot on flights from London to Sydney and Christchurch to Sydney.
Favourite Place I’ve Travelled To. Every place I’ve ever been to has been great in some way. I can’t pick one as an absolute favourite but I did have the best ski holiday of my life in Vail, Colorado recently. It was my best ski holiday due to the friends I went with. They were all good skiers, we had fantastic snow, we stayed in stunning accommodation and dined at great restaurants every night. Heaven!
Scariest Thing I’ve Done on a Holiday. Definitely Sledging (yes that’s what it’s called) down the river rapids in Queenstown, New Zealand. Sledging is an adventure activity where you ride a type of purpose-built boogie board down the rapids of a fast-moving river. I was afraid I’d get bashed against rocks or get my teeth knocked out but I made it down unscathed and then went back again for more. It was sooooo scary but that’s what made it so exhilarating.
Next Trip. I’m planning to walk the Camino which is a 5-6-week Pilgrims walk across the top of Spain. I’ll have not much more than just the clothes on my back and a few things in a small backpack. I’ll definitely need a 5-star hotel and a shopping fix in Paris after the Camino and of course I'll be doing a Sandal photoshoot afterwards in Paris as well.
Lots of love,