G’day! I’m Tash and yes, that is a real snake – a spur of the moment thing… I’m generally not a thrill seeker. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I like to plan things carefully, with a lot of thought. I’m not a fan of roller coasters – but I do occasionally like a challenge! Always on the go, I get bored easily and like to explore new places, to experience different cultures and adventures.
I live in Sydney, Australia. I’m a wife and mum to two children (boy aged 13 and girl aged 10) and I work full-time in insurance and risk management. (Hence the careful planning and reluctance to take risks)
My background – where I have lived and visited
I have been travelling my whole life. I grew up in Sydney, but my dad is originally from Bournemouth in England so since I was a baby our family went to England every 2 years or so to visit dad’s family. Dad always took the opportunity to take us to see old castles and other historic sites from around the area he grew up in. I remember being dragged around the Dorset countryside for plenty of pub lunches (I hated ‘ploughmans’ with a passion). We also went across to France once or twice to experience the french culture and cuisine. On one trip, I unsuccessfully tried to bring some Camembert cheese back – stinking out the suitcase in the process!
When I was 8, dad got a job transfer to Connecticut, USA, for a year, so our family had the opportunity during this time to see some of the United States – mainly east coast. I still have memories of trips to Maine, Vermont and Miami.
At age 14, mum reluctantly agreed to allow my younger sister and I to travel on a plane from Sydney as unaccompanied minors, destined for Club Med in Malaysia. Our dad was supposed to meet us in Kuala Lumpur, coming off a business trip in Europe. Unfortunately he was delayed, missed a connecting flight and failed to meet us. So I found myself taking charge in a foreign speaking country. I somehow managed to get my sister and I through customs and immigration, onto another flight to Kuantan, then a small bus through the jungle where we eventually found our way to our room in Club Med. I was very brave! Surprisingly there was little help from anyone. My prior travel experience was what got us through the nightmare. Mum was furious when she found out later. She also wasn’t impressed I got dysentery and came back thin as a rake!
After finishing school at 18, I continued to travel with friends whenever I could during University breaks. Memorable holidays included a road trip to the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland and a trip to Bali.
At 21 after graduating from University, I did the traditional Aussie backpacking trip around Europe. For 3 weeks during winter of Jan 1992, I travelled with a friend and my sister on EuroRail passes. We experienced the cities of Paris, Amsterdam, Nice, Monte Carlo, Rome, Florence, Venice, Saltzberg and Vienna. I kept a travel diary for this trip and have these memories for a lifetime.
I ended up staying in the UK and working in Bournemouth for the next 4 years (thanks to dad for the dual citizenship). There I met my now husband, Steve. This is how I have come to call England my second home. During this time I visited many places around England, ventured to Dublin in Ireland and also to Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland. We hopped across the English channel on a few occasions too, visiting France, Switzerland, Holland and Prague.
Both Steve and myself have also been competitive athletes, so this enabled us to travel to some destinations we may not have otherwise visited: Graz, Austria (1994), Columbus, Ohio, USA (1995) and Durban, South Africa (1996) for Powerlifting Championships. I became an Olympic Weightlifter (representing Australia at Sydney 2000 Olympics) and during the period 1998-2006, I travelled to New Zealand and several Pacific islands (Nauru, Tonga, Fiji) for Oceania and Commonwealth championships; to Manchester in England for 2002 Commonwealth Games; and to Athens, Greece in 1999 and Warsaw, Poland in 2002 for World Weightlifting Championships. You can read all about my Olympic Journey here.
Where I am in life now
Now I am a retired athlete, having just hit “middle-age”, I have my own family and work full-time. I try to arrange a trip or two each year, whether it be a weekend somewhere not far from Sydney, such as the Blue Mountains or Jenolan Caves; or further overseas, like the USA. We go back to England every 2 years to visit family. On some of these long haul trips I have organised a stop over with the family in Asia or side trip with hubby, Steve, somewhere in Europe. I am also lucky that my work involves some inter-state travel, so I always try to squeeze in some time to see something while I am visiting other cities in Australia, at worst from a cab or during a client lunch.
So, it seems travelling has been in my blood since I was a baby … and whilst I love my home town of Sydney, I can’t wait for the next trip and opportunity to explore somewhere new.