The Travel Gauntlet: Flora vs Colleen

The Travel Gauntlet is back for another week of thrilling travel tales as one of our trusty STA Travel front line staffers and one of our well travelled blog readers share experiences from their own journeys.

So who’s stepping into the spotlight this week?

In the red corner it’s…

Travel Expert and host of our weekly #AskSTA Twitter Q&A session (3-4pm Fridays people!), Flora Moffat from our London Goodge Street store. Here she is at the legendary Machu Picchu, Peru.

A breathtaking view of Machu Picchu, Peru

In the blue corner it’s…

Travel blogger and big travel fan Colleen. Here she is at the Namuang Safari Park in Koh Samui.

Cute beyond words, but a little to big to fit in your suitcase maybe? Here's Colleen in Koh Samui

Here we go! prepare to ride the gauntlet on a trip around Vietnam, Argentina, Jamaica and Morocco amongst others…

Where in the world have you found the tastiest food?
This is an easy one, the tastiest food I have found is definitely in Argentina. The most mouth watering, tender, juicy cut of steak in the whole world! Cooked to perfection, served with delicious fresh sides and choice of chips or mash. All this is washed down with a glass of Malbec, one of the best wines found in Argentina or a cold Quilmes beer.
Jamaica. Spicy, delicious and the street food can be amazingly fresh. I love finding places that sell amazing Jerk Chicken, the best so far has to be the birthplace – Boston Bay, Portland.

What’s your weirdest travel experience?
I was in Pho Quoc island in Vietnam with my friends shopping at the night markets, and we got talking to a guy who barely spoke any English, before we knew it, he was picking us up in his fishing boat from the beach. He took us out, then back to his mum’s house who prepared the fish for a gorgeous feast in a real local house! Having to watch them eat the whole fish was pretty intense, including the fish eye!
I’ve been pretty lucky so far, the only weird experience that comes to mind was visiting Fantasia in Marrakech. It’s a cultural show and dinner that was described to me as a ‘Moroccan Disneyland’, the folklore dancers seemed disengaged and I was forced into joining them to dance when I just wanted to eat dinner. It was all just very strange and didn’t seem to fit in at all with the actual feel of the city.

Urban hunter, or rural explorer?
This is a tricky one! Being a London girl I love the cities, Rio blew my mind. But at the same time there is nothing better than camping in Africa, the outback of Australia and the mountains of New Zealand with nothing but a tiny head torch to cook and go to the toilet with!
Rural explorer. I love the city and always include this in my trips, but escaping to somewhere less familiar gives me a much greater feel for a place. It’s usually the best place for me to experience the culture of a country and it’s people. Nothing beats the natural and untouched environment of a country.

Guidebook, app’d up, or travelling blind?
There is nothing more rewarding than stumbling upon a great cafe, bar, restaurant or waterfall that you would not of found normally. But at the same time, it’s nice to have the security of the old guide book in case you do get lost or are really dying for a lovely lunch recommended by a local from your guidebook.
It’s a mix – research online beforehand to get a feel for the country, it’s culture and any expectations that I should be aware of as a tourist. I like to arrive and then begin to wander to find new places.

Before I’d gone travelling, I wish someone had told me…
To take ear plugs! Blokes snoring in hostels, night buses, trains is a nightmare! If you want any sleep take a travel pillow as well, it is the small things that make a big difference.
To put the camera down! I’m always happy-snappy with the camera and have thousands of photos, but I’m learning to put it aside and enjoy the experience of the destination instead.

Thanks ladies! If you want to pit your own travel tales against those of one of our Travel Experts, just send me an email and you could be sharing your travel experiences right here on the blog.