As a travel writer and co-founder of a travel e-magazine Carol West is often asked “Which is your favourite place in the world?”
"It has to be the most frequently asked question from friends and acquaintances alike," she says.
"Yes, we love renting a Paris apartment in the Marais, think Italy is bellissimo and find Spain endlessly fascinating. Yet, like most people we are all looking for something unique when we travel. Sometimes, unlikely places can deliver the most unforgettable experiences."
For Cultural Immersion we’ve stayed with 60 traditional Iban families in their wooden longhouse perched on the banks of a river in Sarawak. Pressed to the edge of the jungle, we ate by kerosene lamplight, were entertained with traditional dances and bathed under a waterfall – an intimate insight into a life richly embroidered by family heritage.
Being Cast Adrift is a cherished dream for many. Aitutaki is a tiny gem encircled by the Cook Islands’ most beautiful lagoon and while the island’s resorts deliver chic sand-between-the-toes romantic memories, we rent a cottage. Where could be more idyllic to write articles about Paradise?
Go Celebrity Stalking and stay in Frank Sinatra’s Palm Springs’ home before visiting the real stars of Palm Springs, the city’s stunning collection of mid-20th century desert modernist architecture particularly during February when Palm Springs Modernism Week is in full swing.
When Timing is Everything – to witness the thrilling re-enactment of Custer’s Last Stand on the Indian ground where the great battle took place by the flowing waters of the Little Bighorn River in Montana. To hunter/gather in the Dordogne’s spectacular food markets. There’s nothing more appetizing than exploring medieval villages, shopping locally grown produce and bringing home a tin of fois gras. To be in the picturesque white village of Ronda in Andalucia during September when the Goyesca takes place, a fiery fiesta of song, dance, wild banditos and beautiful senoritas and the only time handsome matadors wear the Suit of Lights as depicted by Goya.
Hidden Spot – Koh Lanta is a small island south of Phuket. Riddled with exquisite bays, Pimalai Resort & Spa is my favourite, unashamedly luxurious, go-to Thai getaway. Occupying almost 1 km of pristine beachfront along Ba Kantiang Bay, swing right off the narrow road and you enter the pretty main resort. Turn left, ascend a steep spiralling roadway and you reach the pool villa estate snuggled into a luxuriantly tangled hillside with panoramic vistas over the bay. At pool villa 601, we’re checked in and soon joined by a chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc and platter of canapés. With its expansive beachfront, secluded pool villas, spacious restaurant and spa sanctuary, A-list celebs easily fly under the radar here. We love exploring the quaint port town of Saladan and Lanta Old Town’s charming timber shop houses. After a simple dinner of barbecue fish and salad at a beachfront restaurant, we drop into the Why Not Bar, a quintessential beach bar that looks as though it’s grown organically from the sand. Artfully constructed from bits of driftwood, the vibe is laid-back 1960s with a live band rocking out covers and visitors lining-up to sing them.
Carol's Favourite Travel tip:
Don’t do bucket lists, you’ll just run into everybody else. Make your own dream list and take your time. Sometimes, the most memorable things happen when you’re standing still.
Final words – I’ll leave those to American writer Henry Miller. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
For more of Carol's travel inspirations visit www.2onthewing.com