Lives: Los Angeles (“or on a plane”)
Favourite holiday places: St Tropez; any Australian country destination; Whale Beach, NSW
Favourite TV shows: Australian Story, Oprah, 20 to 1.
Best advice you’ve been given: “My Dad said to me: ‘There are two people in life: the gonnas and the do-ers. Those who are always ‘gonna’ do this, and those who actually do it. Always aim to belong in the latter’.”
As a child, I had an interesting time with my health.
Since the age of three I’ve had chronic asthma, so memories of my youth include many trips to the hospital, or waking up in the middle of the night not being able to breathe. And then when I was about five or six I came down with a mystery illness that saw me in the children’s hospital. That’s given me a close affinity both to parents and children in hospital, and certainly with the charity work that I do now young people are a focus.
The thing that really defined me as I was growing up was being the youngest of four children.
I always thought that I had to yell to be heard, and because my parents were overwhelmed with the workload of four children, my grandmother really took me under her wing. I spent a lot of time with my Nan, and I suppose it was really her that filled me with a sense that I could achieve anything in life.
I was constantly in trouble for talking at school.
I had one teacher after another predict I’d never amount to anything, until I finally went to a school that encouraged my quirks and elements of my personality that others tried to sweep under the carpet. Having been told I’d amount to nothing has made me work harder.
Nothing seems to come easily to me.
I look at others who, for example, say they want to become a travel reporter and then, boom, they’re a travel reporter and it’s something that I can’t relate to. It seems that I’ve always had to work doubly hard for most things in my life. However, that means I treasure it that much more. And I also think that having to work a little bit harder actually creates a good work ethic. I’m a bit of a workhorse, I’ll admit. I don’t think I’ve spent one day where I haven’t thought it’s my last professionally.
I’m just about to release my first book.
It’s about travel, of course, and really, for me, it’s a way of honouring my 10 years on Getaway. It made me realise that everyone has a book in them, that everyone has a story to tell … Writing the book brought up a lot of the doubts I had about myself during my school days.
The only goal I had with the book was to be able to tell my Dad at Christmas that at least I tried.
It turned out to be the worst goal I had ever set myself, because it meant I couldn’t give up but it was a pretty good driving force.
My job is possibly the worst ingredient you can have for a productive personal life but, right now, my personal life is fantastic.
You’ve got to find someone who is patient and understanding. I appreciate every day and I love every element of being out on the road. A lot of time is spent on your own. It can get very lonely at times. And I don’t always travel with people I know.
The greatest gift that travel has given me is that you tend to be non-judgemental of other people, cultures and religion.
My best stories aren’t so much about the locations, but about the characters I’ve met along the way. My heartfelt wish is for every individual to be able to travel as much and as broadly as they can, because the gift that travelling gives you is not something that can be seen. Travel really does enrich your personality. It’s not about the shopping or the great hotels you stay in during your trips, it’s more the important lessons you learn along the way.
I’ve been travelling for 10 years now, and I’m still going to new destinations.
Travel is infinite. I think that’s one reason why Getaway is such a success. Places like Bhutan and Libya are just opening up to tourism, while traditional holiday spots are updating themselves. I’d love to go to Cuba, and I’ve never been to Japan or Germany.