Where the Travel Experts Holiday: Amy Sharpe from eWaterways

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Amy Sharpe from eWaterways

Amy Sharpe from eWaterways

What do you like to do on holiday?
Travelling is one of life’s great rewards for working hard! On my holidays I like to make sure I do something or go somewhere that makes me shift my perspective out of a ‘London-centric’ view of the world! I did a 3 day paddle down the Amazon on a man made raft a couple of years ago for charity and it was an incredible experience. We saw pink dolphins, which were the strangest thing I have ever seen! Fortunately the piranhas and crocs stayed away!

Where did you last travel?
South Africa…I started in Pretoria and went to 2 different game parks and finished in Durban. I took over 1000 photos and am still going through them! I am a bit of a trigger happy photographer. I think perhaps I should add a ‘photographic holiday’ to learn how to take awesome pictures!

Do you know where you’re going next?
New York for a city break. I am contemplating doing the New York Marathon later this year – so want to go and check it out! I am running the London marathon for a charity called Shelterbox in April, so thought it would be a good way to continue my support for them. They are a disaster relief charity that provides aid in the form of survival equipment for seriously affected areas. Japan is currently receiving boxes to start to help people rebuild their lives.

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favourite and why?
Difficult choice – but it’s between South Africa and New Zealand! It was my first visit to South Africa at Christmas last year and it simply left me speechless, the animals, the scenery, the sky, the smells and the company I shared my trip with. My other favourite place has to be New Zealand – I spent a month travelling around the country and it’s an incredible place and the people are awesome. I spent a couple of days in the vineyards in Marlborough…and whilst some of the details are hazy (due to too much good wine!) it is etched on my brain forever! And if there is one tip I would give anyone travelling to NZ it’s to skydive over Lake Wanaka (AMAZING!)

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?
Himalayas. I want to see Mount Everest with my own eyes…just to see the highest natural thing on the planet and marvel at how magnificent it is! Perhaps if I win the lottery I will be able to fund a trip to actually climb it!

In your own area, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
Well, I used to row and so I would recommend the River Thames! London, like so many cities was built up along the river and so it’s a fantastic place to enjoy from the water! Take a rowing boat out from Richmond Bridge and pack a picnic and paddle up to a few of the pubs along the river. Better still – hire a rowing boat that has a canopy and go on a camping/rowing trip up the Thames to Henley and beyond…just like the Jerome K Jerome book ‘Three Men in a Boat’…it’s on my life’s ‘TO DO’ list!

How do you plan a vacation?
At the beginning of each year I write a ‘wish list’ of things and places that I would like to visit and see if any of them will work out. Personal recommendations are a great starting point, although I do get a lot of inspiration from the newspapers. Working in travel also means that lots of my colleagues have been to great places…so it’s a great way to share good ideas. I’ll only buy a guidebook if I have actually booked a trip to a specific destination! I tend to visit the Travel shows as well for inspiration. We are exhibiting at The Telegraph CRUISE Show this weekend and the event is a brilliant way to see lots of different opportunities to cruise.

Where do you see tourism in your destination/attraction in 10 years time?
eWaterways offer small ship cruises around the world, and it’s a niche in travel that is expanding rapidly. I think the authentic travel experiences are always better done ‘away from the crowds’ and small ships allow you to do that. So over the next 10 years I would expect to see younger and more adventurous people getting into small ship cruise holidays. The beauty of cruising also means that you get the benefit of seeing more of one place…why stay in one place for a whole week when you can see so much more by boat! The planet is covered in water – which means there are thousands of small ship cruise experiences around the world to be enjoyed!

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