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"Unlike my Mum and sister, travel wasn’t always my first priority. Fast-forward a few years though and when I finally got on that plane I didn’t just catch the travel bug – I was struck down with a raging travel fever! I love the thrill of getting somewhere new, of wandering the back streets, shopping for trinkets and finding a bargain (though I do hold the much-disputed title of worst haggler on the planet!). I think though that it is meeting the locals and getting ‘inside’ a culture that appeals to me the most. Turkey and the Middle East are so family and community orientated. There’s nothing like being able to wander the streets at night for an ice-cream or a glass of cay (Turkish tea) and everybody is still out and about. The last time I was in Istanbul it was during the Feast (‘Bayram’ in Turkish) that comes at the end of Ramadan (the month of fasting in Islam). At 11pm at night there are families and food stalls and children everywhere. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere but it’s just fantastic! I also love being able to put back into these communities and staying in locally owned hotels. There is nothing like chatting to your hosts over a homemade breakfast or getting insider knowledge about the area you’re staying."
"As with many Australians of my vintage the 70’s saw London screaming my name, promising freedom, excitement and a chance to experience different people, countries and cultures. It didn’t let me down! Trips to the continent were par for the course and within a few short years I’d seen much of the UK and Europe. Looking for something different a friend and I decided to head to Morocco for a month. Well, what can I say? To arrive in country that is so totally different to what you know was overwhelming to say the least. From the snake charmers of Marrakesh to sipping mint tea on the beach in Essaouira, Morocco certainly made an impression. Years passed and our kids grew up to the stories of my youth. When they were off on their own adventures I’d always ask them the same questions: "Tell me what you see. What you smell. What you hear and feel". Back in the 70’s, as a result of their conflict with Greece, a trip to Turkey had been cancelled at the last minute. It was more than 30 years later that my husband and I finally made it back. I don’t think I have ever been so profoundly affected by a city in all my life as I was by Istanbul. To sit in front of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia as the call to prayer rings out across the city is truly a privilege. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to leave. Fast forward several more trips to Turkey as well as trips to South East Asia and Malaysia and I feel as though my passion for travel has been reawakened. So often as the years roll by we are convinced of the fact that we are somehow passed it, but as I say to my husband "we’re not dead yet!" I believe that we are a group that is largely un-catered to. I still want adventure – all be it with a little more comfort this time round! There’s certainly a lot of tread left on these feet!"
"It may sound a bit naff, but travel has always been my passion. I grew up listening to Mum’s stories of exotic destinations and exciting adventures – in fact my late teens were consumed with planning for the adventures I’d take once I’d graduated. First came the UK, then Europe, followed shortly by parts of South East Asia as well as the Arabian Gulf States. But it wasn’t until I went to Turkey and Morocco and from there Egypt, Jordan and Syria that I realized I’d found my second ‘home’. The Middle East is like nothing I’d ever experienced – I love the people, the culture, the food (oh, the food!) and yes, I even love the craziness (wait till Cairo and you’ll see what I mean!). Initially, I started tour leading to travel the world, meet new people and experience new cultures but before long I realized that I love showing people parts of the places that I know and love. My friends laugh at me and call me corny, but I really do love seeing people enjoying their holidays. With Gypsian Boutique Tours I hope to extend this further. Come on one of our tours and see for yourself what an exciting, intoxicating and above all, welcoming place the world can be!"