I grew up in Nottingham and my childhood holidays were mainly spent crabbing off the quay in Poole, Dorset. I got the travel bug after going Interrailing before university, so after studying in London for three years, I headed off again to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I met my husband on my tour of New Zealand and - by chance - we were on the same flight home. I moved to Brighton later that year and thought I’d get a job as a travel agent for a year or so while I worked out what to do with my life. More than a decade later, I still love working in travel and I enjoy creating the perfect trip for people!
Claire has visited:
Cooking and eating. Food (and wine) is a huge part of my life and travel. I love pottering away in the kitchen, having friends round for dinner or heading out and trying new foods and restaurants. I also have a little girl who keeps me on my toes.
The Yucatan in Mexico. I thought it would be full of all-inclusive resorts with a few Mayan ruins, but I was so wrong. The architecture is fascinating, the people are so friendly, the food is out of this world (who knew corn on the cob smothered in cream cheese would be so tasty), and there is so much to see. Everyone knows about Chichen Itza and that the beaches are great, but on top of that the cenotes are beautiful, and swimming alone in one was one of my travel highlights. On Sundays, the town squares come alive with people dancing, and I loved sitting with a drink and watching for hours. It was a different pace of life.
Camera, a great book, a game or a pack of cards for long journeys, big scarf for fashion/weather/covering up at temples, notebook and pen.
A few years ago, I lived out of my backpack but now travelling with little one, I like everything unpacked so I can find things easily!
Cape Town. The drive in via Chapman’s Peak always makes my heart skip a beat. The steak and seafood are hard to beat, the wines are tremendous and afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson hotel might just be my favourite in the world (and I have a LOT of afternoon teas!) There really is something for everyone from whale watching to cycling Cape Peninsular, visiting the penguins at Boulders Bay to taking in the views from Table Mountain. Despite such a turbulent history, the city has such a buzz.
Interrailing around Europe with my best friend at 17 years old. We had two months, no plans and very little money and nearly 20 years on we still laugh about what we got up to.
I’m not a beach person at all thanks to my English complexion, however, the beaches at Cape Le Grand National Park in Australia took my breath away. We walked part of the Cape Le Grand Coastal Trail and it’s still one of my favourite walks ever. We had Hellfire Bay and Thistle Cove all to ourselves, I could never imagine getting a beach in Australia to myself, but Lucky Bay with its Kangaroos was my favourite, you really can’t get more Aussie than roos on a beautiful beach!
Myanmar. It was my first backpacking trip around Asia 16 years ago and it wasn’t in the original plan. It felt so different from the places we’d already been like Thailand and Cambodia; we honestly thought we were the most intrepid travellers. We had to leave our passports at the border and were given a piece of paper with our name and passport number written to carry with us. On our return, the border guard just took our passports out of a filing cabinet next to him, which didn’t feel the most secure place to have kept them.
People who judge other people's travel choices as if there is a “right way” to experience somewhere. Okay I’m in Asia but maybe I just really want a pizza, I might have been eating rice and noodles for weeks now, don’t judge me! If someone wants to go camping, that’s cool, equally if they want to stay in a 5-star hotel that’s awesome too. No two trips will be the same and that’s fine.
The list just seems to get longer but Sri Lanka, Argentina and Japan are all high on the list at the moment.
Too many amazing things but the worst was a dinner in Seoul, South Korea, which just wouldn’t end. It was about ten courses and while some things were yummy, there were a lot of fermented vegetables and fish. The worst was these tiny crabs that had no meat on and we had no idea how to eat them (apparently you suck their legs!).
Brindisi ferry port after getting the ferry from Greece, myself and a friend found ourselves stuck there for about 8 hours until the next train. We played cards, had an argument, made up and could only find a 7/11 style shop to get food from, not the best first impression of Italy. It was nearly 20 years ago, so I’m sure it’s much nicer now.
Not very far from home but I honestly don’t think you can beat London. I love how history mixes with the ultra-modern, the fashion, the food, the galleries and museums, the fact there’s always something different happening, how international and accepting it is, the markets, the ridiculously expensive houses I like to try and sneak a peek through the windows of. The list is endless.
Chinese New Year in Hoi An. We met up, by chance, with quite a few people we’d met travelling around Asia so it turned into a big reunion. In the town, there was a music stage with lots of dancing, fairground and copious amounts of Whiskey. The next day the lovely man who ran our hotel bought me a big bowl of his mum’s homemade Pho to help with the hangover and it’s still one of the best things I have ever eaten.
My kitchen, sometimes I just want to make something myself rather than eating out.