Annie’s first experience of travel was back in 2004 during her university summer holidays; equipped with a backpack, she travelled through Thailand and quickly fell in love with everything it had to offer, especially the food.
Returning to university to finish her degree, the passion for travel was at the forefront of her mind. After graduating she started dreaming of having a year away, so began saving hard and making plans. The reward for her hard year of work was a trip including New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
After her year away, the ‘travel bug’ was set and instead of returning home she went back to New Zealand on a working holiday visa for two years before heading over to Australia to do the same.
‘There is just so much to experience when you step away from the comforts of home and explore new places. It’s exciting, challenging and exceptionally rewarding’
After four years away it was time to head home, but not before a stop in Indonesia to see what was on offer. Since returning, Annie has worked in the travel industry helping to organise other people's dream trips. Although she has now firmly planted her roots, she makes the most of her holidays and continues to travel, most recently with trips to South America, Canada, Japan, and return trips to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
‘It doesn’t matter how many times you visit Asia, there is always something new to discover. It really is the perfect holiday destination - all interests are catered for and on a 2 week trip you end up feeling like you have been away for much longer, returning home with a new perspective and a desire to return.’
Countries of expertise: Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malay-Borneo
Other Asian destinations visited: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK IN THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
I returned from travelling and it was a very easy decision. I wanted other people to experience what I had. By working in travel I get to work every day in an area that I am passionate about. The occasional work trip helps as well!
Every time I have a meal in Asia I decide it is my new favourite, there are so many great meals that stand out, a firm favourite though is starting the day with a steaming bowl of spicy noodle soup. Most recently I went on the Saigon After Dark vespa tour, not only was this a highlight of my trip in Vietnam the food was some of the best I have tried, I can’t recommend this tour enough.
Travelling by boat from Siem Reap to Battambang, the journey is long but it is well worth it. I loved getting a glimpse into the lives of the local people passing through the floating villages. This journey is not recommended during the dry season as the water levels become too low.
FAVOURITE ASPECT OF TRAVEL
I love the sense of adventure you get from visiting somewhere so different from home. Food is a real highlight of my trips, especially being amongst the markets and street food stalls in Asia, it is a great place to people watch.
60 second interview
What essential item is always on your packing list?
"Hiking boots, even though they are a little bulky to pack, I am always so grateful I did. I have used them on every trip I have been on."
Best holiday read?
"Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, it is so beautifully written and transports you into a different world."
Who is the person you would most like to sit next to on a flight?
"Michael Palin. I remember watching his show 'Around the world in 80 days' when I was younger. He travelled back in the 1980s and I bet he has some great stories, he would certainly add some fun to the flight."
"Don’t over pack, you just won’t use half the things you think you will need, plus it’s always good to have the extra room to buy some local souvenirs."