Travel Tales: Lisa Thomas, magazine journalist
Name: Lisa Thomas
Occupation: Magazine journalist
Favourite travel destination?: Europe. I love old-world, historical cities like Rome and Paris. Would also love to visit Barcelona, Athens, Istanbul and Budapest. I also love South East Asia for its chaos and charm, New York for its promise, and Japan for its peacefulness.
Why?: I like to be around people, more than I like to be in nature (although snowy mountain peaks works for me as a scenic backdrop!). For me, it’s the allure of different café societies.
Worst travel experience?: Bali, years ago. A friend pulled out so I went on my own – which made the touts and harrassment harder to bear. But that’s not so bad. I also sprained my ankle on a trip to Paris and London and had to get around on crutches…
Best tips for beating jetlag?: On the plane – stay moisturised! Drink lots of water (but only if you’re on an aisle seat) and moisturise your face (particularly your eyelids – I swear it makes you feel more awake) and hands. I’m not a fan of depriving yourself of sleep so you sleep better on the plane/at home. Get as much sleep as you can, particularly the night before you travel. On arrival, allow yourself to grab a couple of hours shut-eye before you go exploring.
What is the one thing you don’t leave home without?: A map!
Do you stay in touch with people while you’re travelling?: I stay in touch via text message – I usually buy a local SIM card with a new no. so I don’t come home to an exorbitant phone bill (you can also invest in a TravelSim card) and via facebook. Postcards still have their charm, too!
Best meal you’ve ever had while travelling?: The Peking Duck at Beijing’s Xiao Wang Restaurant in Ritan Park is pretty good…. I was also lucky enough to go to a traditional Sicilian New Year’s Eve family feast – where all the food is symbolic.
Best/scariest/funniest drive?: Driving along (thankfully, not over) the cliffs of Bali during a hair-raising bus trip to a neighbouring town. I had to shut my eyes. Also – but this wasn’t a drive – a boat ride at Iguacu Falls at the bottom tip of Brazil. It was supposed to be a gentle exploration of the waterfalls but a demonic driver laughing maniacally the entire time took us on a bit of a speed adventure. We got very wet.
What has been the big WOW moment of your travelling life? What has taken your breath away?: I’m an urban girl – for me it was the beautiful old rooftops of Paris. Parisian buildings make me weep. And the rest – I stayed inside Notre Dame for hours. I envy Parisians who live there, and don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of walking along those cobbled streets for just a few days.
What is your number one travel tip?: Plan ahead, just for peace of mind, even if it’s just the first night’s accommodation. And don’t go anywhere without travel insurance.