Travel has, and always will be in my blood and I have worked constantly in this exciting industry since leaving university – where unsurprisingly I studied Tourism Management. I was raised up in the beautiful university city of Cambridge, UK. Due to the nature of my father’s work, as a child we travelled extensively and spent periods of time in far flung parts of the world, such as India, Singapore, and Malaysia. I obtained the travel bug at a young age, I guess!
I spent 2 incredible summers working on Kibbutzim in Israel as a student picking grapes and farm work, 2 more summers teaching water sports to children in the south of France and then 7 memorable years working for a large travel firm in Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Spain and the Gambia in West Africa. Now that was an experience! I also fondly reminisce the 5 winters as a ski guide in the French Alps, living the high life. After relocating to London in more recent years, I have visited most of Europe and other parts of the world, but there are still many countries that are on my radar.
Q&A with Julian our Middle East Specialist
What is your favourite travel memory?
Traversing the streets of Singapore on a rickshaw with my 2 brothers as an 8-year old, is probably my favourite childhood travel memory. I also recall the excitement of a plane landing in Israel as a 3-year-old (Yes, I really do remember this!) as my earliest childhood memory.
Your most annoying travelling habit?
My wife says that as soon as we arrive in a hotel room, I unpack my luggage before her and use up all the wardrobe space, stealing all the hangers and cupboard space!
What 5 things do you always travel with?
Adapters for my mobile phone charger. I got caught out in Australia a few years ago as it took me 2 days to locate a compatible adapter!
A credit card with zero or low charges for foreign transactions.
Small containers with liquids – I try to travel lightly so will always re-arrange my various toiletries into smaller containers of 100 millilitres.
Good quality tea bags – it is difficult to find a decent cup of tea in most other parts of the world.
Earplugs. I am a light sleeper!
What is on your bucket list?
Colombia – South America is one continent that I have still not visited and is on my long ‘to do’ list. Some of my wife’s family in fact originate from Colombia so we are planning to visit in the not too distant future. The Amazon jungle, Andean mountains and diverse landscapes sound extremely appealing and I would preferably plan to tour around Brazil, Peru, and Argentina too, time-permitting!
You are stranded on a desert island with 2 famous people, who are they?
The great foodie, British celebrity-chef Jamie Oliver and the well-known British comedian, Ricky Gervais. Jamie would ensure that we are well fed if we have the means to cook and some provisions on the island! Ricky is simply a naturally funny and entertaining man, who I am sure would be great company, with many hilarious stories to tell. Whether these two guys get along themselves, would remain to be seen!
My Favourite Destination
I can think of no better place than the Seychelles – 115 gorgeous islands in the archipelago of the Indian Ocean. We went on an amazing island-hopping adventure on our ‘second honeymoon’ in 2019, visiting 5 or 6 main islands. The trip to this piece of heaven, was invigorating as well as relaxing, and the islands are simply stunning, with lush vegetation, glorious white sandy beaches and incredibly diverse marine life.
The best way to do such a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, is on a small ship where we had only 30 guests and 15 very welcoming crew. The service received was simply outstanding, from the restaurant staff, the chefs, the cruise manager to the captain himself. The local people that we met on shore, were particularly hospitable, as well as entertaining – and the giant tortoises roaming some of the islands, were also ever so friendly!
Throughout my travels there are some experiences and memories which stand out. I would like to share these recommendations with you for some travel inspiration..
Recommendation - Eat where the locals eat
I would always recommend that visitors select restaurants, tavernas or konobas (as they say in Croatia) frequented by the locals and away from the main tourist areas wherever possible. It is normally the mealtime experiences that are the most memorable and I am a passionate foodie.
My main meal is normally at lunchtime with BBQs and Greek salads in beach front tavernas and lighter meals in the evenings. Most importantly, I would normally plan and do a bit of food research on the various review websites now available, before entering a restaurant, whichever country I am visiting.
Favourite Island - Kefalonia, Greece
My favourite island is undoubtedly spectacular Kefalonia in the Ionian, which I can only describe as pure paradise. I was first inspired to visit this island after watching the hit movie ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.’
My most enjoyable moments were spent in a charming, secluded village called Assos, eating traditional Greek cuisine amongst the shade of the cypress trees, aside the sparkling turquoise-blue sea. Just reminiscing, brings back such fond memories. Personally, I find nothing better than sitting on the waterfront in a small fishing village, enjoying an authentic Greek salad with a glass of cold Mythos beer.
Favourite City - Budapest
This entire city is completely inspiring and intoxicating in every way. The Buda side of the river is calmer and more romantic than Pest and I loved the unique Funicular, and the walk up the Castle Hill for the outstanding panoramas of the city and the Danube. Built with impressive Art Nouveau architecture, we also enjoyed a dip in the Gellért thermal baths.
In Pest we viewed some of most iconic landmarks in central Europe, the fascinating Jewish quarter and St. Stephen’s Basilica. We took in romantic strolls along the Danube Promenade to the Parliament Building, where we learned the moving story of the Shoe Memorial at the river.
If you’re in Europe in December, head over to Budapest, as the Christmas markets are fantastic!
Favourite Hotel – Maritim Crystals Beach Hotel, Mauritius
This resort-hotel on the eastern coast of the beautiful and tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, holds fond memories, as we stayed here on honeymoon in 2016. The hotel is situated directly on one of the best beaches in the world – the Belle Mar. We were upgraded to a luxurious and charming Junior Suite on arrival, with a jacuzzi bath in the room. The trip was pure bliss and the hotel provided absolutely everything that we could have possibly imagined and much more.
All the staff provided an impeccable service, from the chambermaid to the hotel manager. The nightly entertainment was of an extremely high quality and we had a choice of eight a la carte restaurants to choose from each evening, serving a variety of different delicious international delicacies. The sunsets over the ocean from the bar area, were truly spectacular too!
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