Talking Travel

Meet Janet Mactavish, a passionate solo traveller who’s now using her knowledge and experience to design luxury personalised travel services for her clients. Here she tells us a little about how she got started, why she always packs a door wedge and why we should all think about a certain poem. Read on to find out why.

Tell us a little about yourself and your mission?

At the grand age of 23, I jacked in my job in the City (London) and moved to Bahrain to become a flight attendant with Gulf Air. The plan (as I told my then boyfriend), was to go for 6 months but, I loved the experience, the freedom, and the lifestyle so much that I stayed, for 12 years! From Bahrain, I moved to Saudi Arabia and worked for a Saudi family on their Private Jet, which was an incredible experience and I met some interesting people, including Hassan Bin Laden. Sadly though, it did not end well and I ran away in the middle of the night… a story for another day I think!

I am now a Private Travel Designer and the owner of Travel Magellan, which I set up in early 2012 to provide a truly personalised travel service.

Why are you passionate about this?

I feel that there are few people out there who care as much about your holiday as you do, so one aim was to change that. Also, something that drives me mad, is being passed around an office to speak to different people because the person you spoke to the first time is not in/on holiday/gone on maternity leave/sick leave.

Tell us about your solo travel adventures and how you got started travelling solo.

Because of the nature of my work, I was single for a long time and decided that if I did not do things on my own, I would never do anything.

What do you like about solo travel? Dislike? Read more

Caught up in a caiman face off

Think a canoe trip in the Pantanal region on Brazil is a quiet affair? Think again!

(Visiting the Brazil stand at the World Travel Market yesterday made me think back to this most memorable of days during my solo trip to this incredible country)  

Today we’re talking reptiles and mammals and despite the night safari being cancelled due to high winds, the 7am 4km walk through the neighbouring area showed up a whole array of strange and exotic creatures. That may sound like an early start to some of you, but believe me, it’s impossible to sleep past 5am as a cacophony of birds, ably led by the extremely loud and ubiquitous chaco chachalaca, shake you out of your bed whether you’re ready or not. (Side note here – I am awarding the chaco chachalaca my ‘how to big yourself up’ award as it has a fabulous name that sounds like a samba step and a call like nothing you’ve ever heard before yet it is the dullest and most boring looking thing you’ve ever seen. The thing is, everyone knows it and it is completely unforgettable  – a great job of self-publicity that we could all learn from!)

Back to the morning walk and it wasn’t long until we came across howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, yellow armadillo, marsh deer, and South American coati.

 

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Sri Lanka Hill Country – go for the tea, stay for the curries​

Sri Lanka is foodie heaven and a vegan paradise

It’s mid-morning and the train to Nuwara Eliya is climbing through the lush, green countryside on its way to the hills of Sri Lanka’s tea country. Since I boarded at Haputale the scenery has changed completely and I find myself jostling with other passengers, hanging precariously out of the open carriage door as we wind our way through the undulating, rough country risking my life to get the perfect photo. Yes, the tea plantations are impressive and that is why I’m making the journey, but it’s the manicured terraces brimmed to capacity with vegetable plots that are really getting my attention. I had no idea that Sri Lanka produced such an abundance of fresh produce but then I suppose there’s a reason why the national dish is rice and curry and most of those curries are made from vegetables.

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Clapham traveller advises how to go solo in style later in life – read the interview

So thrilled to be interviewed by South West Londoner all about my solo trips – how I came to love it so much and why I think it’s so important to keep flying the flag for us solo ladies who are discovering solo travel later in life.

You can read the article here. Enjoy!

 

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