I’m not a cool traveller. I can’t spin perfectly tousled hair waves with a look of saltwater shimmer, and long flowingly effortless outfits that match the day perfectly. I can’t Instagram postcard-perfect views on the hop, don’t believe in footwear (or wearing stilettos to totter through a 2,000-year-old excavation site – true story) and a suitcase just of bikinis isn’t really my thing either (another true story I’ve witnessed lately). Researching fascinating secrets, quirky museums and experiencing life as a local (cue nibbles and canalside beers in Amsterdam) are pretty awesome though.
I don’t think I’m strictly a luxury traveller. Limo transfers from private jet* to 5-star hotels, exclusive behind the scenes private meals cooked by 3-Michelin star chefs and queue-skipping private entries to low-lit slick euro-beat clubs aren’t really my thing. Dancing really isn’t – you’ll all be grateful for that, trust me. In many of the upmarket hotels we’ve stayed in, whilst full of opulent textural wallpaper, it seems as though there can often be character missing that can make a hotel room change a quirky trip into a paint by numbers exercise. That said, I rather do appreciate a rainforest shower after a footsore day of getting lost, a fascinating movie to get lost in and concierges to help with first world problems like missing phone chargers…
*ok, a private jet I could live with…
I’m really not a camper. Oh boy, am I not a camper. My idea of communing with the great outdoors is satisfied with a few hours of forest walking, before drying our socks in front of a roaring fireside, pint in hand. Whilst I adore sitting around a campfire and admiring the stars from the warmth of an arctic sleeping bag, it turns out that communal concrete showers, the rustle of scrabbling animals in pastures near, dewy walks to the bathroom, smoothing a comfortable groove in the grass isn’t really my thing.
I’m not an adrenaline junkie. Living on the edge of their wits, other people’s couches, hopping from ski-slopes roaring surf, bungy jumping from the tallest bridges, base jumping from mountains and swimming down waterfalls. We’ve done a few crazy things; kayaked under the Pont du Gard, whizzed down a wire at 25km/h over Wembley Stadium Football pitch, almost hyperventilated queuing up a spiral staircase before being thrust by a stranger over Blarney Castle ramparts and driven Florida highways to Cape Canaveral (NASA) in a mini-monsoon but they definitely were all exceptions to the norm.
I’m definitely not a hostel addict. Living in a dorm for 3 months whilst I got my bearings in London meant that I more than experienced my fair share of late night snoggers, bag rustlers, shower hogs and the odd what-is-that-oh-my-lord-don’t-touch-it-oh,-it’s-a-jetlagged-person-sleeping situations, and an overly amorous pub-goer following me to my room, only to be politely warned off by a dorm-mate. Yep, been there. Yet, I’ve also met some of the kindest people over a hostel breakfast table, been given the best insider tips and bumped into the selfsame travellers 3 months and numerous facebook messages down the road.
If having to choose a style over the years, it would probably be an apartment kind of traveller. We’re never happier than when settled on a terrace, with a wee glass of vino in hand, watching the sunset over a new town to explore. The beauty of an apartment is the ability to truly tailor a holiday. Fancy a beautiful night out at a stunning restaurant? Sure. Want to explore the local market & bring back warm pastries and coffee for breakfast in bed? Sure. See a fantastic cut of beef at a local butchery that would make a perfect roast? Sure. After a day of footsore sightseeing, fancy a balcony picnic of local delicacies and sparkling wine? Sure. (Can’t bear the thought of organising anything and want to call a pizza? Sure – and you won’t have to tell anyone…)
How about you – are you a combination of travel styles or stick to a favourite?