When you were a child did you travel much with your parents?
No, I didn’t, my parents had a cottage on the south coast of Norway, so we went there every weekend!
Where did you first travel by yourself and how old were you?
I was 17 years old the first time I traveled with 8 friends to the French Alps. I celebrated my 18th birthday while on the trip.
When I was 19 I went to the US for a year.
At 23 I went on my own to Thailand, to visit a Thai friend who I had become friends with in England two years earlier.
Who or what inspired you to travel?
That´s a tricky one, I really don´t remember how it started. I visited a few places, got badly infected by the travel bug and the rest is history. There is so much to see and learn out there, I just can´t stop.
Many people say they want to travel but they are hesitant to travel by themselves. What would you say to these people?
It´s much better to travel on your own, than not to travel at all. Pack your bag and get out there. There is so much to explore,you are never alone. When you are on your own it´s so easy to meet other travelers.
What is your favorite country that you have been to?
It is impossible to pick just one country.
My trip to Peru was amazing, the country is so diverse. It has the Coast, ocean, mountains, lakes, ruins, history, culture and above all, Machu Pichu. Magical
Sri Lanka is another beautiful country. Wonderful people, interesting history ,culture and lovely food.
Southern Africa is one of my favorites too. There are no other places with wildlife like this region. There is nothing better than to sit on the savanna watching the sunset while lion cubs are playing in front of you.
Is there a country you keep returning to ?
Yes, I keep returning to Japan. It´s magical! Fascinating culture and great food. Japan is a very easy country to travel in. There are buses, trains and boats going to every corner of the country. And it´s very safe. It´s the country I have felt safest in, while traveling as a single woman.
Is there a place that you have been to that needs more recognition as a tourist destination?
I found Djibouti to be a wonderful place, but it is for people who are particularly interested in diving or snorkeling. If you are not into these activities, then it´s not worth going, but if you are, it´s an underwater heaven for snorkeling.
Djibouti is located at the end of the Red Sea and has all it offers in underwater diversity. With hardly any tourists visiting the country it´s still very untouched.
Another amazing place is Bhutan, very interesting. It’s been isolated for centuries. It’s so full of culture, history and old traditions. Stunning mountains and fantastic scenery, such a Beautiful place!
You’re on holidays do you go to a city, the beach or the mountains?
A city I would only visit on a weekend trip, but not a longer holiday during the heat of summer. A mix of a relaxing beach and a good hike in the mountains is the best.
What do you like to do on your holiday?
I like a mix, but I love sun and warm climate. Being on a boat is a favorite pastime and snorkeling a great activity. I also love safaris. Staying on the savannahs of Africa is magical.
You have had some amazing experiences, climbed Kilimanjaro, dived with whale sharks, been gorilla trekking in Uganda and lots more share a brief experience with us
The travel experience that has made the deepest impression, on me was my latest stay in Koya-san. Staying with the monks in a temple and being accepted into Buddhism in a ceremony was very special.
Where do you plan to go next?
I hope that my next big trip will be to Rwanda. A few years ago I went on a gorilla trekking trip in Uganda. Now I would like to do the same in Rwanda.
What’s the best meal that you have had while travelling?
Grilled lobster on the beach in one of the Marquesas islands. We picked it up straight from the BBQ and ate it with our fingers.
Recently there has been some controversy over a tiger mauling a tourist at the tiger temple in Kachanabari in Thailand. Tell us about your experience and would you return now?
I visited the Tiger temple in 2002, before it had been advertised on the TV channel Animal Planet. Back then it was very simple. There were a few cages where the tigers lived. They were fed in the morning and then taken for a walk in the afternoon. I visited at both times. We walked the tigers to an area where they could play and sniff the flowers and grass.. The tigers seemed healthy , they had a shiny coat.
Unfortunately, the publicity has made the monks think more about the money they can make rather than on the well being of the tigers. When I read about drugged tigers, it makes me both sad and very angry. So, no I would not return today! I will not support that kind of animal treatment.
You support Lion ALERT tell us a bit about the organization and the amazing experience you had with them?
One of my most memorable moments was the Lion Encounter with ALERT you can do the lion walk safari as well as interact with these wonderful big cats. I met two 18 month old brothers, quite a couple of rascals.
The African Lion & Environmental Reaserch Trust (ALERT) was founded in 2005 to support the four-stage African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program and is a non-profit organization. ALERT promotes community action by raising awareness, motivating and empovering people to protect and restore their environment and improve livelihoods.
In 1975, there were 200,000 lions roaming around on the African savanna. In 2002, the population was estimated to be somewhere between 23,000 and 39,000 animals. It is believed that the decline in the lion population is doing so in an even faster rate. This makes ALERTS program so important.
The African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program consists of 4 stages. For more information about ALERT www.lionalert.org