Expert Spotlight: Jessica
Born, lived, studied, guided, trekked, researched, eaten, taught and volunteered in more than 90 countries worldwide, Kensington’s award-winning team of Destination Experts are bounded by passion and drive to discover the new and unknown. We could go on forever about how awesome our team is, but we’d rather let them speak for themselves. Check out our quick-fire round of questions and answers – dealing with travel and beyond – with Australia/Pacific and Southeast Asia Destination Expert, Jessica V.
What has been your favorite travel moment?
It’s hard to pick, but arguably my favorite travel day of all time was exploring the network of caves in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in Northern Vietnam. We were able to travel through the countless limestone karsts on the back of motor-bikes and even zip-line to the mouth of a cave – it was absolutely spectacular!
What’s the first thing you do when you land in a new country?
I drop my bags and ask a local (employee or someone I met en route) where a great place is to grab a bite/drink. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample local delicacies, re-charge, take in your surroundings, and get a feel for the culture. Most recently this took me to Nyhavn in Copenhagen, where I enjoyed a fresh Danish pastry along the canal.
If you could only eat three foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Again, a tricky question! I would have to say tacos (with lots of guac!), butter tarts (have to represent my Canadian heritage), and Southern BBQ.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve ever had while traveling?
As a tall blonde, I stood out quite a bit while traveling through South-East Asia. In a number of busy areas, I found myself immobilized by mobs of locals taking my picture (often without asking). On a specific occasion, I found myself in a collection of family portraits being taught to stand appropriately to fit in with their choreographed poses. I’m curious to know if I ended up on the mantelpiece.
What’s the single must-must-must-do experience in your sales region?
For the adventurous, I highly recommend a visit to Tasmania – specifically a self-drive. A few days on the road will showcase Australia’s diverse wildlife (all in their natural environment), idyllic white sand beaches (Wineglass Bay left me speechless), and phenomenal opportunities for hiking. From rugged mountains to secluded beaches, Tasmania is the perfect summary of Australia’s variant landscape!
What’s the last thing you binged on Netflix?
Not Netflix and not a binge, but on a recent flight I watched the Zookeeper’s Wife, which was absolutely spectacular. Worth a watch on your next long-haul flight!
What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
Two – people and nature. I have always loved getting to know locals and their culture. Whether it’s a country-wide sense of humor (Australia/New Zealand) or their welcoming approach (Thailand – the Land of Smiles!), the memories I most often recall are those associated with the people I meet. Secondly, as a self-proclaimed outdoor enthusiast, I tend to focus my trips around active adventure and natural wonders! For example, diving the Great Barrier Reef, waterfall chasing around Iceland, or snowboarding the Andes in Chile.
Where are you headed next?
I plan to head to Greece or Italy in mid-September! The plan is a little bit of active adventure with a whole of eating – Souvlaki or Pizza, here I come!
To learn more about traveling to Southeast Asia or Australia/Pacific with Kensington Tours, email Jessica at email@example.com
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