If you walk in to the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, you will be met by two receptionists. Both speak English but neither is like any receptionist ...
Being able to read the atmosphere around you is a valuable and difficult skill to master, and this is doubly true when you're travelling abroad. Cultural norms are often subtle and slippery creatures, but as a traveller, your job is to suck it up and adapt.
Sri Lanka is completely unlike any other Asian country I've ever been to - the people, the food, the sights and the experiences are all truly incredible. If you're looking for a party and a fried English breakfast, this place is not for you: it's been largely untouched - and not yet ruined - by tourism, meaning there's a distinct lack of the seedy underside of mass visitation that's plaguing so many Asian countries these days. Long may it continue.
Merengue, unspoilt beaches, baseball and dominoes are some of the activities often associated with the Dominican Republic - a Caribbean, Spanish-speaking country that rubs shoulders with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola.
In 2013, my husband and I took a holiday in Southern Spain. It was a very belated 'cash-in' of a week in a timeshare that my sister had gifted us for our wedding.
We'd reduce our carbon footprint, we wouldn't damage these local communities and fragile environments BUT we wouldn't learn...we wouldn't be able to help...we wouldn't be able to contribute to their economy...and we wouldn't be able to make a difference!
A lot has changed since January 2014. Not just that I now live in London, have a stable job and most excellent workplace, but mainly for the reason that this time two years ago I was living in Palermo, Sicily. Yeah, I'm still trying to get used to the lack of good coffee.
When it comes to Belgium, the most common place to visit seems to be Brussels. I'm going to try and convince you to take a train 30min north of Brussels into Flanders to visit Mechelen for a day (or two) and fall in love with it like I did.
As I finish another mediocre London sushi lunch that I've grabbed from beside the sandwiches, I find my mind transported back to Tokyo where the freshest and tastiest sushi imaginable filled a hole in my stomach and cemented a place in my mind as the best sushi I've ever eaten. But it's more amazing than that because it's also the best and only sushi I've ever made.
I cannot believe it's almost March. This year is flying by. I've been feeling guilty for not writing to you more. However I've been hibernating, plann...
Moving abroad is an enriching and exciting experience: beautiful places to explore, interesting people to meet and a new community to become part of. But getting everything sorted before you make that leap of faith can be stressful and daunting.
As far back as I can remember, since my wanderlust surfaced, I've romanced of winding around hilly b-roads, stopping for some fabulously delicious lunch and returning to savour soft but stunning sundown vistas, from a large shuttered window in a large Tuscan villa.
We marvelled at the glorious Duomo in the central square, the second largest cathedral in Italy after St Peter's in Rome, galloped through as many museums as possible and admired the chic shops and their stylish Milanese clientele. Even the dogs were high fashion with brightly coloured jumpers, coats and matching backpacks.
For my most recent trip I vowed to avoid this push/pull entirely. This timezone hop would be different, I vowed, then set out to stack the deck a bit. I've tried all the basics and even some of the not-so-basics, but then I stumbled on Human Charger and its claims of massively curbing jet lag...
Flying pre-children was a much under-appreciated pleasure: a little solo packing, an amble around the airport shops, perhaps a little light dinner with a first holiday glass of wine and then a leisurely stroll to the gate.
Peace and tranquility embrace you as soon as you enter the opulent iron gates to Castell Son Claret. A serene tree lined drive leads to the stunning 18th Century castle set in 132 acres of woodland, manicured lavender gardens, olive and fruit groves.