Although Amanda currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her American husband and two daughters, she is a New Zealander by birth and proudly maintains the Kiwi accent and an addiction to travel. She’s spent much of her time in the developing world doing humanitarian and adventure travel stories. “Although I love exotic and luxurious hotels from time to time” she admits, “I am perhaps happiest when sleeping under the wing of a small plane in a remote part of Africa.” Her idea of a dream trip is twofold: either to go somewhere few foreigners have been before where the locals are tribal, or to hike into a backcountry hut on top of a New Zealand mountain, watching the sun go down while sipping a glass of Seresin Sauvignon Blanc.
Most Memorable Trip: “When I was in my twenties I was working for Vogue magazine. I was not terribly good at my job, so decided to quit and travel to India. I had never been to a Third World country before, and I was given an assignment to do a six-day camel trek in the Thar Desert. I was terrified, convinced that after two years of being surrounded by women in Chanel suits and flawless nails I would not cope well with being in such extreme conditions as India. But I found my calling on that trip. Those six days meandering through the tiny villages of India’s great desert on an uncomfortable prehistoric beast showed me what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I left the world of fashion and set out to get the dirt of the world under my fingernails. (I have a tremendously robust immune system as a result.)”
Most Harrowing Travel Experience: “A drunk (and getting drunker) taxi driver on the road to Simla in northern India—one of the narrowest, most serpentine and dangerous roads in the world—is definitely up there. However, I would say that the most dangerous experience was being shot at by a stark naked tribal guy wielding an AK47 in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia.”
Most Memorable Meal: “In Santa Margarita on the Italian Riveria. My husband and I were in our very early twenties and had no money and were traveling for a year. We went to a restaurant and spent $100 (a week’s rations!) on the best meal we had ever had, and which remains unrivaled to this day.”
Most Questionable Meal: “Probably the horse head stew washed down with rancid mare’s milk and butter that I had in Uzbekistan.”
Favorite Destination for Food: “Italy (like everyone else). Although New Zealand’s food is now spectacular. There’s something to be said for being that close to market.”
Favorite Hotel: “Well, it would have the be either the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, or there’s a reed hut at the Mwaleshi Camp on the banks of a river in North Luangwa National Park in Zambia…”
Most Stunning Hotel View: “It’s kind of difficult to beat the view at the Whare Kea Alpine Chalet in the South Island of New Zealand. Think Lord of the Rings, without the ugly brutes and with much better food.”
Favorite travel film: The English Patient
Favorite travel book: The Oblivion Seekers—Isabelle Eberhardt
Favorite travel quotes: Here are some I have stuck to my office wall: “Travel isn’t a reward for working, it’s homework for living.” -Unknown “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.”-Mark Twain “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilization, and find the globe, granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints.”-Robert Louis Stevenson
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