Back in our December 24 Days of Prizes competition, we gave away a pair of round-the-world flights on December 24th. We took five minutes to chat with our star winner Esther Gallois to see how she’s going to cover those air miles…
Hi Esther! Where do you live and work at the moment?
My home is in Brisbane, Australia but I have actually been quite spoilt winning this prize because I am currently on the road and have been for seven months now. I have been travelling Europe and China and just finished an exchange at a journalism school in London. Thanks to HostelBookers, it will be a long time until I stay put.
What was your first thought when you heard you’d won?
I got the email saying I won while on a bus through Poland with awful Wi-Fi. All I could read was the subject line and my boyfriend had to come over and calm me down as I frantically considered which prize might be mine. I think the squeals when I found out I had won the big one woke the whole bus.
What’s been your best travel experience so far?
My best travel experience was with my friend Caris and is probably the coolest thing I have ever done. We hiked up a Volcano just outside of Ubud in Bali. We left the hostel at 3am and we were just reaching the summit by sunrise. There was hot steam coming out from the vents in the earth that we could warm our hands over. It was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen.
Who will you be taking with you?
I wish I could take everyone with me. One of my best friends from India would love to show me the country. I am hoping to bring my mum along for a leg of the trip as she has been almost everywhere in the world in her 20s but now has not been on a plane in years.
Have you decided what countries you want to visit?
So many countries, so little time. This really depends on where the good deals are. In the next few years I want to go to San Francisco and around the south, Burma and India so hopefully I can tick at least one of those off this year.
What the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
There have been so many places that have taken my breath away. But the best place I have probably travelled to is Marseille in the south of France. My friend and I had found good company in Kiran and Jeremy from Paris who really knew good wine and how to do a picnic.
Their friend Jojo was a local and jumped around the rocks of Les Calanques like it was his playground and we sat under the stars eating baguettes, drinking wine and playing music. I don’t know what it is about Marseille but it is like a time warp. I remember meeting a ‘goth/country’ band there from New Orleans who said ‘We came here about two weeks ago. We were only supposed to be here a few days but we just can’t seem to leave.’ The same thing happened to us.
Are there any new things you really want to try while travelling?
I really want to ride a horse. This sounds very minor but I have never ridden one. I think I rode a donkey once on the beach in Blackpool but that doesn’t count. I also love trying the local food when travelling, especially when it sounds really gross.
Some of the best things I have ever eaten were a frog’s leg curry in Vietnam and a tongue in Slovakia. A part of me also really wants to go skydiving or hang gliding but I am afraid I may chicken out.