Fran

“I want to fly somewhere for a holiday!” That is what I told my parents at the age of eleven, inspired by all my friends who went with their families to exotic places by PLANE, as Tunisia, Egypt or Spain. I think already at this age the connotation of all the possibilities included in the simple word “flying” gave me wings.

But family holidays abroad didn’t happen often, as my dad didn’t like flying. So as soon as I got the opportunity to partake in school exchanges I went for it. Living with a foreign family and living in another country fascinated me from the moment I knew that possibility existed, culminating in a three months high school experience in New Zealand. From that time on I wanted to integrate travel into my live, not only travelling myself, but also learning about what happens backstage. Studying Tourism Management was the logical conclusion. Although I am now at a point in my live when I fancy settling down, I get itchy feet quickly and always need to have a holiday planned that I can look forward to. My credo is that every year you need to go a place you have never been to before. You come back richer, wiser and inspired.

The second thread running through my live is an interest in sustainability. I was raised almost vegetarian and my mum, a former health food store owner just bought organic produce. I always say to her that I was raised on tofu and bran, which is true to some extent and makes her smirk. I have been vegetarian for a wee while and tried vegan as well, but never converted completely. I still love to cook vegan. All the herbs, different smells and tastes make me content and happy. I think the key lies in valuing and savouring what we have, enjoying quality and not quantity. After my Bachelor I moved to the beautiful city of Edinburgh to study Ecotourism. Ecotourism focuses on “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015). Do it, but do it responsibly! I think a change in perception concerning the whole tourism industry is vital and I want to contribute as much as possible to that necessary change.

When Eva asked me if I wanted to share my knowledge and experiences I couldn’t say no. Responsible travel in every aspect is such an important issue as the world we are living in is getting smaller and smaller and thus our impact as individuals increases.

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Floral wildlife watching in Tobago

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