From a very early age I wanted to travel and explore. The journey is as important as the destination. When I’m not at my desk writing, I try to be outside. If I can see the horizon I instantly feel better. This is a reason I love to swim in natural settings – I can always look out at the horizon.
I grew up in North Wales. From our kitchen window you could see the hills. Every single day the view would be subtly different.
I studied English and Comparative Literature at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and completed my Masters in Islamic Societies and Cultures at SOAS, London. I worked for a year as a trainee journalist at the North Wales Weekly News, after which I desperately wanted to live and work abroad. I lived in Riga, Latvia, for a year, working as Features Editor for the Baltic Times in Latvia, then moved to Vilnius as Editor-in-Chief of the city guide brand In Your Pocket. I travelled far and wide, covering the entire Baltic region as well as Ukraine, Belarus, Kaliningrad, Moldova and pockets of Russia. It was while I was in there that I began my work as a travel writer for Lonely Planet, a global travel publication.
I met my husband in Vilnius and we moved together to France. I didn’t speak French at the time. Once we had children I began working closer to home, always travel writing.
My fundamentals are to always learn, move, never stay still. I’m an active, energetic person and really have to make a conscious effort to find stillness. I get up very early to write. I enjoy the freedom to do what I want when I want.
I am acutely aware of my need for nature – I need natural beauty and space to be my true self.
I have been practicing cold-water swimming for three years. Initially I dipped for the mind challenge – I was such a water wimp. Cold-water swimming gives you an inner strength, an ability to override the physical, a knowledge that this can be transferred to anything if you put your mind to it. I love the immersive thrill of cold water.
Running is part of my ongoing lifestyle. I enjoy trail running more than road running. It connects you with nature. I am there, in the raw elements.
I feel strongly about women and girls in sport. I do much of what I do – running, tennis, netball, ski touring, hiking, yoga – to be the best example I can to my pre-teen daughter. We cannot expect our daughters to be active, bold, confident team players – precious values sport brings – if we as mothers are not.