I’m a journalist, travel writer, editor and copywriter based in Melbourne, Australia. I write pacy travel features, edit edifying websites and fashion flamboyant copy. My articles and photographs have appeared in publications worldwide, from inflight to interior design: I’ve visited every continent, and have lived in three. Want to work together? Drop me a line… 

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Glamping in Saudi Arabia wins TravMedia’s Travel Writer of the Year award

 

I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment – this week, in Sydney, I took home a new award, the inaugural TravMedia Travel Writer of the Year! Gongs galore!

The award recognises the most read story on the TravMedia platform, and it was my story on glamping in Saudi Arabia, for the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald/The Age newspapers, which caught TravMedia users’ eye. It was a review of the gorgeous Habitas AlUla, hidden in a canyon in the Asher Valley, and the first five-star property to open in AlUla oasis, now the jewel of Saudi’s tourism offerings.

TravMedia is the global media network and the world’s largest online news portal for travel media and travel industry PR professionals, and holds an annual conference in Sydney, which we’ve just returned from this weekend. There was a strong Melbourne contingent, with writers from all over Australia and some international fly-ins from Bali and New Zealand. We were there to meet with tourism reps from around the world, from as far as Dubai and New York, Tokyo and the most distant islands of Australia.

A huge thanks to TravMedia founder Nick Wayland (that’s him in the photo with me) and his team, including Blake, Julie, Lauren and Gaynor!

If you’re keen to read my award-winning story, click on the url below 😀

https://www.smh.com.au/traveller/reviews-and-advice/this-amazing-glamping-resort-shows-saudi-arabia-can-be-fun-20230905-p5e21v.html


Saudi Arabia on a plate

Camel kebabs, gold-flecked savoury porridge, shakshuka, mint tea, green coffee and lots and lots of dates. Eating in Saudi Arabia is an adventure in its own right.

I recently wrote a story about food in Saudi Arabia for Gourmet Traveller magazine, detailing my delicious meanderings amongst oases, deserts and desserts.

Click to read
about street eats and Michelin-starred restaurants serving up food beneath the stars, on desert sands and in the mudbrick town of oasis AlUla and seaside city of Jeddah.

All this takes place as Saudi Arabia transforms from secretive kingdom to global leader of luxury travel, with the money and imagination to make even the most incredible projects manifest.

In a whiplash reversal of protocol that took place just before the global pandemic, non-religious tourists are now welcomed into the Kingdom.

Women don’t need to cover their hair and while I admire and covet Saudi women’s dramatic abayas – long, often beautifully embroidered cloaks – there is no requirement for me to be so covered; simply modest clothing is just fine.

What to learn more about travelling in Saudi Arabia? Click to read more of my stories, such as travelling solo as a woman in Saudi Arabia.


Women in Saudi Arabia

Until late 2019, I could not visit Saudi Arabia as a solo, female traveller. Only business visa holders and religious pilgrims could visit Saudi Arabia, and even then, as a woman, I would have needed to be accompanied by a male guardian. Living in Egypt in the late noughties, my father had passed away, I was unmarried and neither of my brothers wanted to visit Saudi Arabia. It remained one of a few countries I had not visited in the Middle East, yet with an all-pervasive influence in the region’s economy, politics and societal expectations, there was a Saudi-sized gap in my understanding of the region.

Then, just before COVID closed the world down, Saudi Arabia threw out its own rule book, and brought in e-visas for independent travellers, issued online and almost on the spot.

I am so proud of this story, published in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age (Melbourne) newspapers, about my adventures in the Saudi city of Jeddah and the AlUla oasis, up toward the Jordanian border. To read more about travelling as a woman, and meeting the women of Saudi Arabia, click on the link below.

https://www.traveller.com.au/visiting-saudia-arabia-as-a-woman-i-went-to-the-notoriously-sexist-country-as-a-solo-female-tourist-h24v9q

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 


Global Salsa

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