Sara’s eyes were opened to travel when she joined a couple of friends on a month-long ‘inter-rail’ trip around Europe aged 20, and she never looked back.
Heading off to Israel on kibbutz a year later with dreams of reaching Asia in the near future, she spent the next few years backpacking and working intermittently to fund her travels, taking her from Delhi, travelling through India and Nepal, on to Bangkok to travel down through Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and finally on to Australia and New Zealand. Landing back in the UK after an absence of nearly 3 years, her own father barely recognised her!
Her aim then was to earn a living where her passion lay and tucking a degree in tourism management under her belt, Sara set out to work in the travel industry. Spending the next few years leading overland group tours in South-East Asia, helping manage a chalet in the Swiss Alps, and working in a kids’ outdoor activity centre, she finally got a foot in the door with the office of a Worldwide adventure tour operator. Gaining well over a decade of experience planning and operating small group tours, Sara is delighted to join the Selective Asia team to help develop our product and return focus to her first love, Asia.
Sara continues to travel at every opportunity, be it on holidays or for work, and has been lucky enough to see a huge chunk of Asia, as well as venturing into Africa, Latin America and the Middle East over the years. ‘I still haven’t made it to Borneo, one of Selective Asia’s favourite destinations, so I suspect it won’t be long until I’m tempted into planning my trip…’
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Countries of expertise: India, Japan, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Cambodia
Other Asian destinations visited: Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, China
I’m a walker, be it in the mountains, through gentle countryside or in cities, I find it’s the best way to take in the scenery and soak up the atmosphere.
Penang Laksa – from my first taste encompassing the coconut milk, chilli and seafood, I was hooked. But to be honest, I love most Asian food!
As a tour leader back in 2002 I made my first visit to Laos and completely fell in love with this unassuming but beautiful country. Crossing over the river border from Thailand, near Chiang Rai, and then spending the next two days cruising down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang, taking in the scenic limestone hills and lush forest was such an iconic experience.
It’s really hard to pick but I’d have to say India, because it holds the most variety. I’ve travelled there around 6 or 7 times so far, to different regions each time and there’s always something new to discover. Ladakh in the north is like a completely different country when comparing it to Tamil Nadu in the far south.
60 second interview
Most likely to say
'Relax and go with the flow! I find the best way to enjoy Asia is by trying to get into the different mindset and pace of life as quickly as you can, i.e. slow down and lose our Western obsession with time.'
Who is the person you'd most like to sit next to on a flight?
'Joanna Lumley. I think she’d have some fascinating stories to tell from modelling in the 60s, to her acting and then recent travel programmes. And of course, we’d be sitting in First Class drinking champers, darling!'
What is your favourite aspect of travel?
'Interaction with local people. Regardless of language barriers, I find you can always communicate with a smile and a bit of gesturing, leading to some rewarding experiences. Oh, and food, like most of us in the office! I love to try the local specialties and am always very open to trying anything new to me. This doesn’t always work out well, however, like when I tried some sticky rice with pork barbecued in bamboo when at the Nagaland Hornbill Festival a couple of years ago – it just had the weirdest smoky, sour flavour that I couldn’t get on with!'
'Always build in some down time to your holiday so that as well as seeing some amazing sights, you actually come back feeling relaxed and refreshed… advice I’ve never managed to follow myself!'