I grew up in the South West in a tiny village near Southampton, but I caught the travel bug young. When I was 6 my parents carted us all off to Australia for a few years and then spent 3 months travelling around New Zealand and Canada on the way home. From then I’ve taken every chance I’ve had to run off again with trips all over the world. When I left university, I decided to find a way to make a living from my wanderlust and did various internships before falling into my first travel consultant job.
Mostly I spent my time nurturing a new-found love of Rugby at Cardiff University, but I was also lucky enough to spend a year at University of Catania (Sicily). I’m forever grateful to my Italian flatmates for curing my addiction to chicken nugget sandwiches. Who wants chicken nuggets when you can have Arrancini?
I joined Travel Nation in 2017 but before that I worked at Kuoni Travel for 18 months.
Helen has visited:
Travelling the world - as long as someone else is paying!
I live out of my backpack. Why waste time unpacking?
The moment that stands out most for me was when I was on safari in Kenya. We’d been driving around for 2 hours in the sun without much luck, but late in the afternoon we chanced upon a mother cheetah and her 3, 1-month old cubs. As a self-confessed ‘crazy cat lady’ this pretty much made my life.
1) The Amazon. Seeing spider monkeys in the trees directly above me and being within inches of touching them was pretty special. Also anywhere I can legitimately pretend to be David Attenborough will always be on my list of favourites.
2) Sicily. I’m biased because some of my family are Sicilian but I completely fell in love with the island when I lived here. The food, the people and the landscape are all amazing and I’ve been back almost every year since I lived here.
3) Peru. I spent a month in Peru and I still feel like I barely scratched the surface. There are so many mountains to explore, stunning lakes and the people are so generous and friendly. I loved it.
The Viceroy in Ubud, Bali, is hands down the best hotel I have ever stayed in. It’s a family-run paradise. The owners take the time to chat to each guest so despite the high-end luxury you always feel welcomed and at home. It also helps that the views, the room and the food are all sublime- I’ve never felt so spoilt or so relaxed in my entire life.
My Machu Picchu stamp! It’s not an official stamp but it represents the finish line of my first proper 3-day trek. It was definitely worth the pain to get up there.
The people that listen to music loudly or talk on the phone at am on an overnight bus.
I would really like to go trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal. I caught the trekking bug whilst in South America and now I’m desperate to do more.
I have eaten guinea pig in Peru. Whilst I have a ‘try anything once’ mentality with food, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. It’s expensive, doesn’t taste that great and really, really looks like a guinea pig; they still had all their teeth and claws!
I spent 24 hours in Singapore on my way to Bali last year and would do it again no question. I love that Singapore is so small but so busy with so much to do. Watching the sun set with cocktails at Marina Bay Sands bar is definitely the best way to spend an evening. The view is incredible, and the laser shows they do across the bay are a fun bonus.
Heinz Ketchup, salt and vinegar Walkers crisps and a decent cup of tea.