Charlotte got the travel bug as soon as she started earning enough to get away.
I started off probably how most young people do, travelling to places where English is the first language. Then I did a few trips into Europe and stayed in little boutique hotels and explored. But over the last two or three years I’ve improved my travel style: meeting people and learning their experiences.
I took this philosophy into my travels in Thailand, where a motorbike accident prompted me to put it into action; we found ourselves involved with local people and village life in ways I hadn’t expected.
Travelling across Thailand
My partner Alex and I went to Thailand a couple of years ago. We did some island-hopping, and on Koh Lanta we hired a scooter. It was a beautiful place and the morning was idyllic, and we were taking pictures of the sea and from a school that was at break time – all the children came running to see us, and we had a chat with the teacher.
Coming back, we came down a hill and because it was the rainy season there was a load of silt that had come down from the mountains, settling on the road, and as we went around a corner the bike went one way and the two of us went in different directions and were injured. So, our plans had to change.
We asked the staff at our hotel if there was anything we could do apart from just being in this beautiful place? The people there were amazing; they spoke to their friends and one day a guy came and picked us up and took us back to his family home: it was this little homestead out of the way of anywhere, and they taught us how to weave traditional baskets and the toys that they make for children.
And that was how I’d wanted to travel: just learning, meeting the people, learning from the people, learning their language. After this, we asked them if they had any other friends that could help us out and they said, “Oh yes, there’s another resort up the road and it’s closed at the moment for refurbishments, but they’ve got a really good chef up there, so if you want she said you can go there and learn to cook some Thai food”, so she took us up there. When we pulled up, there were macaques just sitting around. The monkeys were obviously in crazed state smelling the food. This was an entirely different experience and something that was phenomenal for me, because I was meeting people and learning about their lives.