My Travel CV: What a life of travel has taught me

I got my first passport when… I was about to travel abroad for the first time – I may have been 19 or 20.

My first holiday memory is… oh, I have a terrible memory so this is a hard one. I’m going to say a family holiday to either Arkansas or Florida or to visit relatives in NY.

I have been to 62 countries.

My favourite place in Australia is… Melbourne. I love our adopted city – it is hip but also relaxed. We have bicycle and running paths connecting the entire city. There’s also a great art and food scene. Traffic is minimal especially compared with the nightmare that is Sydney and the public transportation is great!

The place I’d love to visit in Australia is… Well if I had to pick one place, out of my list of “still-to-do” here, it would be Broome. Picture perfect beaches and the glorious Indian Ocean.

The thing about travel I missed during self-isolation… That excitement when landing has begun – the thrill of a new country and so much possibility. The fatigue from travel quickly dissipates as excitement sets in. I never want to waste a minute when I could be out discovering – There’s nothing quite like it.

If there was a COVID-19 vaccine and all the international borders lifted tomorrow, the first place I’d want to go is… We were supposed to be in Japan while I sit at home writing this so that is the obvious choice. Although, if I could pick anywhere in the world it would be a couple of weeks in Greenland, finally doing a Trans-Mongolian rail journey or working my way through Nepal and Bhutan. So many choices!

The place I’ve visited most often is… Probably France and England. After living in London for 6 years we travelled across the channel often plus tons of exploration throughout the UK.

The place that most surprised me… Kuala Lumpur. I guess I expected it to be a business city with not a lot of character but was pleasantly surprised by its wonderful cultural amalgamation, the fabulous street food, the kindness of the people, the pleasant tropical climate and the affordability. I would definitely go back.

The place that didn’t live up to expectations… Mexico. To be fair, I’ve only been to Cancun but I really didn’t enjoy being in a tourist only destination. I travel to learn and be immersed in a new culture. Mexico for me was a strip of beach with an abundance of my fellow Americans. No thank you.

The advice I would give to young travellers is… Just say yes. Say yes to going somewhere new, to being uncomfortable, to trying new foods or experiences, to communicate in a different language, to get lost, to being patient and rolling with the punches.

My holidays are mostly devoted to… Seeing as much as I can, trying new foods, some sort of physical activity daily, some down time, and meeting new people.

The sickest I’ve been on holiday… Luckily, it’s down to a bad cold while travelling. Which is unfortunate but not the worst thing to happen. It does suck when flying and your ears won’t pop with the pressure. Ouch! There was that one time at the Great Barrier Reef, a few days after I tore three ankle ligaments, and I was attempting to snorkel. The water felt amazing actually but it was a pretty shitty thing to happen right before flying up there.

The souvenir I always buy is… Oh probably something food related – like local spices or home made syrups. Something unique from each place – tea and cinnamon from Sri Lanka, curry spice mix from Mauritius, sesame massage oils from India, saffron from Morocco, eucalyptus crystals in Turkey, etc.

The worst thing that happened to me while travelling… While in Egypt, our home in London was being burgled. I left my wedding rings in a safe at home thinking that was the best place for them. Everything was gone. It’s still sad to talk about it but I suppose things could be worse. As a second runner up, I would have to say a 12-hour Ukrainian border crossing comes to mind. And for good measure, that time I forgot my passport at home before an international flight. Mishaps happen.

The most interesting person I’ve met on a plane is… My favourite people to chat with on the plane are locals flying home who are a fountain of information. So much knowledge that you can’t gain from your touristy guide book.

The best/weirdest things I’ve eaten while travelling was… We typically adhere to a vegetarian diet while travelling so not too many oddities there. Best is pretty easy – anything in India (pure heaven for me), street food in KL was so, so good, weird – probably pigeon pie in Morocco.

My go-to dish for room service is… This depends on the country as I would be down for anything ethnic like Thai or Indian. To be safe a salad or fruit plate or French fries.

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed in… We have been fortunate to stay in so many wonderful places over the years. There was the one time we were upgraded to the presidential suite at the Gresham in Dublin. It came with a secret entrance located behind a bookshelf, its own gym and sauna, a living room, dining to accomodate a group and a butler’s kitchen. It was over the top. More recently, we really enjoyed the Renaissance Hotel in Minsk and Hotel Miramar in Barcelona. Our favourite places to stay have been smaller guest houses where you can mingle with the owners or the times we’ve rented a private home. I also have to add camping in a VW California as one of my all time favourite way to sleep while we travel.

The travel tips I’d like to share are… Never forget your passport, clothes and toiletries you can buy wherever you may roam but the passport is important. Just say yes to new things, be patient and have a sense of humour because things will not always go as planned.

Travel has taught me… That people around the world are more similar than you would think. We all have family, we have struggles, we work, we laugh, we love and we hurt all the same. Travel makes the world feel more connected, smaller, familiar.

*We came up with the Travel CV idea after reading about it in Escape Magazine. The author, a travel journalist, was sharing his thoughts on his past travel experiences during the corona virus lockdown. We thought it sounded like fun and created our own.

6 thoughts on “My Travel CV: What a life of travel has taught me

  1. I have really enjoyed hearing all of your travel blogs. I share your intoxication with travelling!! Thanks kfor sharing a more personal side of travel adventures!

  2. LOVE reading this…. so well thought out. Love how you say that travel makes the world feel more connected, smaller, familiar…. You are a fab author my dear and what a great idea!!

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