One of the things I love about travel is the research and planning stage. Building on an idea and creating either a short-haul mini break or stepping out of the country for some long haul travel, fills me with a joie de vivre. It also brings alive my freedom in a way nothing else does.
When I visit a location I don’t always want to stay at a hotel – normally around three days is enough for me. I usually prefer to be out and about meeting new people, buying food from the local supermarket and cooking a meal in the evening but some places allow you to find out about the locale and its people, culture and history in a different way during your stay.
On our short break at Sandos, San Blas Eco Resort on the volcanic island of Tenerife, it turned out to be a hotel with both heart and soul. I enjoyed languishing in our hydro massage bath – was thrilled to watch the pink hued sunrise gloriously appear from behind its terracotta exterior, whilst sitting on our balcony and delighted to share in a private tour of both the Historical Experience Tunnel and the Interactive Museum with the local Guide Arturo – whose charm and passion for his home country, rubbed off onto us, before stepping out alone into the environmental reserve.
When we last visited Australia, we decided to try out a couple of different types of accommodation as published on AirBnB. We ended up staying with a family of 5 in Earlwood – around a twenty minute drive from Sydney CBD. As their first visitors, it felt an honour to share their home. We ate on the balcony overlooking the pool in the mornings and I even listened to one of the little girl’s read. It was a pleasure. They made us so welcome and we were able to enjoy playing in the pool with the kids. It provided us with a taste of what Sydneysider living is like and allowed us to get to know a little about the kind of adventures to be had in the surrounding area. The family lent us a SatNav – a must in the Sydney burbs, if you’re travelling.
In Switzerland the joy came from the simplicity of stepping from airplane – to train – to local bus – to destination, in a matter of hours. A journey through the Swiss countryside is well worth the cost of a train ticket. Although we discovered a little more research needed to be done, to ensure value for money. Our accommodation – a little chalet with mountain views attached to a swiss home. Once again we booked through AirBnB. Here we were presented with freshly laid eggs from the family hens and ate biscuits made by the daughter of the owner, on her afternoon off school. It is these sort of personal touches, which makes our stay, wherever we travel. Finding out a little about the lives of the locals is important to me.
Our most recent trip has been to the island of Ibiza – we enjoyed an agrotourism stay in a local finca towards the top of the island. Only 35 minutes drive away from the airport. This little island has a strong beating agricultural heart, as did Can Pujolet in its rural surroundings – the happiness I felt whilst staring up at an in-fruit orange tree, has only been surpassed when my eyes first landed on a Grapefruit tree in Hervey Bay. The staff here personable and friendly – nothing is too much trouble and they shared with us, the favourite places they enjoyed on the days off. It gave us quite a different insight into Ibiza life!
The web has made it so easy to explore different locations around the world – I enjoy starting out thinking of where I would like to visit next, then with a few presses of a button discovering roughly what I like before delving a little deeper. Exploring and ignoring opinions. Knowing and looking for the signs which tell me, the place is right for me and what I want to be experiencing from my trip abroad.
Recently I have become an Aussie Specialist with Tourism Australia and am awaiting confirmation of the last stage of my assignment to become a 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist, so that I can delve a little deeper into the two countries – from both an internal and external perspective.
So, if you need any help, ideas, advice or are looking for a slice of inspiration. Take a gander around my blog or even contact me in the comment box or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The world is just a fingertip away!
I’d love to know your thoughts…