I fell in love with South-east Asia aged 21 with nothing but a scruffy backpack on my shoulders, which seemed to be constantly filled with dirty laundry. From the first taste of Bun Cha (Vietnamese barbecued pork with noodles and broth) to my first glass of locally brewed Bia Hoi beer which I sipped whilst sitting on a miniature plastic chair in the streets of Hanoi, I was hooked. It was love at first bite.
I travelled Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand (read: ate my way around) for a few months before returning to the UK to get a “proper job” as a journalist. It was a few years later, when my longing to travel had only got stronger, that I realised I could combine this job malarkey with my greatest passion; travelling South-east Asia.
I packed my backpack once more, eight years after my first taste of Bun Cha, and returned to Vietnam. This time with a new mission; to set up Vietnam as a destination for the bespoke travel company whose website you are now on! Over the next three years I slowly expanded my project and went on to launch Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos for Fleewinter – which gave me the perfect excuse to spend most of that time working from South-east Asia.
My love of the Spanish language and South American culture has also more recently taken me to Peru, which I launched for Fleewinter alongside my colleague Jenna after weeks of eating delicious ceviche and trying to coax llamas into taxis!
Today I am in my element planning other people’s trips, just the way I would do them for myself, if I had that “first trip” again – with the benefit of hindsight. I’m rubbish at keeping secrets so I spill most of my favourite finds, haunts and adventures on my travel blog Luxury Travel in Asia. And the worst part of my job? Well that would definitely be testing out all those luxury boutique hotels I keep finding…!
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Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia & Myanmar
“My most special moments in South-east Asia have been when I’ve got off the tourist trail… whether it’s taking a different route through Halong Bay to avoid the other boats, eating in a family home on Inle Lake in Myanmar away from the touts or catching the sunset at my favourite lakeside spot in Siem Reap away from the throngs; it so much more precious than following the crowds. This is something I always try to pass on when planning trips for others.” – Delia, South East Asia Specialist