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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Travelling in Oman: chat with 2GB Sydney radio

I’m recently back from travelling in Oman, the quietest little country in the Middle East. So quiet, you may never have thought of it, or thought to visit.

You’re missing out.

Today, I chatted with radio 2GB Sydney host Michael McLaren about Oman. About walking through the narrow streets of a mudbrick town, where you’ll pass men in the classic Omani dishdasha, a long, white robe topped with a kumar, an embroidered cap worn nowhere else but Oman. It is unmistakably different. It is unmistakably Omani.

Travelling in Oman is easy, safe and the people are welcoming – and this is the most fragrant country, the land of frankincense, myrrh, of cardamon-scented coffee and pure rosewater, which I watched distilled in the hill towns of Al Jabal Al Akhdar.

To listen to my chat with Michael McLaren, click here.

Otherwise, you can tune into my podcast, The World Awaits, where I caught up with co-host Kirstie Bedford on my return, to talk about travelling from Muscat to Nizwa to the mountains and the fjords of the Musandam peninsula as well as the deserts – the lovely, lonely, great sand deserts of Arabia.

2GB interview https://omny.fm/shows/2gb-afternoons/travel-oman

The World Awaits podcast https://open.spotify.com/episode/4yGJB2Gu4axrPJJhWgDlhw


Rebuilding Maui & Life in Bhutan

This week on The World Awaits podcast… rebuilding Maui and life in Bhutan.

Click here to listen to the latest episode of our travel podcast.

Did you know there are only 45 foreigners living in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan? One is Carissa Nimah, an Australian responsible for marketing the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Surrounded by snowy peaks and temples, I caught up with Carissa to talk about about the hiking trails, homestays and spirituality of Bhutan, bhutan.travel⁠

Also on the podcast this week, Lianne Driessen from Sail Trilogy, talks to Kirstie about the fires that recently devastated Maui. The a 50-year-old tourism business is integral in helping rebuild Maui and Lianne – who lost her own home 12 weeks ago – shares what you can do to help in its recovery, sailtrilogy.com⁠ 

We’re announcing the winners of our giveaway, Lonely Planet’s new book, Best in Travel 2024, hack claiming insurance if monkeys steal your gear, and cover Fodor’s 2024 No List; travel list of places to avoid.


Mindful travel in Nepal & Hiking with refugees

Walking slowly in silence in the Nepalese Himalayas is just one of the ways travel writer Nina Karnikowski says we can embrace mindful travel. Belle talks to Nina about taking the time to travel, and taking in the world around us on a more acute level.

“We can travel at a pace so fast, we actually miss all the wonder around us as we tick our boxes and return home exhausted,” she says. You can see more about Nina’s work, including her latest book, The Mindful Traveller, at ⁠ninakarnikowski.com, and for more about her tour to the Nepalese Himalayas, visit worldexpeditions.com

For many refugees from war-torn countries, settling into Australian life can be daunting. Especially for those who have suffered trauma most of us can’t even imagine. Finding solace in nature himself, Neil McCulloch decided to start a charity where he could help new refugees in Australia settle into life here, and experience an Aussie pastime, camping and hiking – and First Hike Project was born, firsthikeproject.org.au

Neil talks to Kirstie about how the transformative effect of nature on many of the refugees he takes into the Aussie bush, and why it’s so life-changing.

We also reveal the world’s most loved landmarks, including which Australian landmark makes the list (it might just surprise you), share tips on the best ways to save money when you’re travelling in Europe, and take a little ride down the Great Victorian Rail Trail, see greatvictorianrailtrail.com.au

Visit our podcast at https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theworldawaits


Hunting Australia’s alternative wines & softcore wellness in south-east Asia

 

Where do you go to step off the beaten track of wine – away from the unholy trinity of chardonnay, shiraz and sauvignon blanc? Author and wine writer Max Allen talks to Belle about his new book, Alternative Reality: How Australian wine changed course.

The book includes the best cellar doors in Australia where you can explore the exciting alternative grape varieties we’re drinking (or should be drinking) now. Keep listening to the end to hear his hot tip of the next big grape varietal… See melbournebooks.com.au

Also on this issue, Mat Lewis, of hand-picked luxury resorts group View Retreats, talks to Kirstie about their new wellness escapes, which he dubs ‘discovery and recovery’. He talks about View’s favourite south-east Asian wellness destinations – Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bali, Vietnam and Cambodia. People want to step away, to have downtime, to get away from endless scrolling and to live a more simple, holistic life, says Mat, who is also a qualified life coach practicing for the past decade. See viewretreats.com

We’re also talking about using AI to plan your travel adventures, courtesy of new research from Euromonitor and our top inflight peeves according to Agoda’s Travel Bugbears Survey 2023 (hint: they all smell or sound bad, and don’t get us started on the armrest wars!) A big shout out to our audio producer Alaisdair Leith.

And if you love all things travel, subscribe wherever you listen to your favourite pods, and please give us a rating or review 🙂

https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theworldawaits/episodes/Ep-16-Hunting-Australias-alternative-wines–softcore-wellness-in-south-east-Asia-e2aejh0/a-aafck12

(00:00:31) Top inflight peeves – they all smell bad (00:05:31) Alternative wine varietals (00:30:07) Using AI to plan your travel adventures (00:33:46) New wellness journeys

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The World Awaits: Bali and memorable wildlife encounters

On this week’s episode of my travel podcast The World Awaits, we discover how to have the best wildlife encounter (best for you, best for the wildlife), and is Bali really all it’s cracked up to be? Also, sip your way around the world at these leading wine destinations and find out how you can while away your time (for free!) at the airport. What an episode!

My co-host Kirstie catches up with award-winning wildlife photographer and journalist Rachelle Mackintosh to chat about the powerful impact of seeing wildlife in their domain. She shares hair-raising tiger encounters, talks of her obsession with sighting whales, and explains how you can ensure you’re doing the right thing by the wildlife experience you book, ⁠https://faunographic.com/⁠

I chatted with Bali-based author and travel writer Penny Watson, who moved to the Island of the Gods in the midst of the pandemic. Penny talks about how not to be an absolute loser when you visit Bali, and how to spread the love. We’re talking Kintamani, the waterfalls of Munduk, Amed on the east coast and Lovina in the north – basically anywhere beyond Ubud, Kuta and Canggu – for access to local businesses, ceremonies, and a connection to the Balinese people. She’s also just released her new book, Wilderness, which you can order here⁠ pennywatson.com.au/books⁠

Also, here’s the link to Alex the Flemish Giant bunny at San Francisco’s airport,  take a listen to Belle’s chat with ABC radio Melbourne, talking about how to while away the time in airports around the world,

And a big shout out to our producer ⁠Alaisdair Leith⁠ for his zen-like patience, and to you for listening! Don’t be afraid to subscribe to The World Awaits via your favourite podcast wrangler or at ⁠theworldawaits.au⁠

https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theworldawaits/episodes/Episode-12–Bali-and-memorable-wildlife-encounters-e28n42p


The World Awaits podcast goes to Spain and Nauru

It’s been a big couple of weeks in GlobalSalsa World – Turkiye, Australia’s Northern Territory and I’ve also also refreshed my podcast, with a fresh new name and a little nipping and tucking at the format. It’s now The World Awaits podcast, and you can listen to the latest edition here .

This week, fellow travel writer Kirstie Bedford and I take you to Spain and Nauru – at opposite ends of the tourism spectrum. I interviewed one of Australia’s best known travel writers, Ben Groundwater, who is a Spain aficionado and total foodie. Ben invited me on his Flights of Fancy podcast, with Nine Media, a few times – sadly now defunct (but still live if you’d like to take a listen), so I asked him to return the favour.

After embedding himself in San Sebastian in the Basque country, for a year, Ben is a great one to chat about how overlooked Spain is outside the major hotspots such as Barcelona. You know I”m a lover of this country as well, especially after my train adventure in Andalucia last year, which started in (very touristy) Seville, but pushed on through to Jerez, Cadiz and then I ended up in Spain’s most beautiful pueblo blanco, Vejer de la Frontera. If the chat makes you hungry, you can join Ben on one of his foodie tours to San Sebastian with World Expeditions, next year.

You’ll also hear from Lisa Pagotto, founder of Crooked Compass tours. Lisa goes seriously off track in her travels – she’s talking to Kirstie about travelling in the beautiful island of Nauru, best known for its role as the host site of Australia’s detention centre for refugees (please don’t go there, a particularly ugly part of Australia’s foreign policies). I travelled with Crooked Compass on a week-long hike in Palestine a few years ago. How’s that for off-beat travel?

Anyway, tune in, I hope you enjoy the show, and let us know what you think, or where you’d like us to go next on the podcast.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!

You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever else you get good ear candy.


Global Salsa

Well, you’ve scrolled this far. What do you think? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

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