Graham's passion for travel was instilled in him from a very young age. Every year his parents would take him to a new place in Europe and teach him how travel broadens the mind. Therefore once he had finished his degree he decided to move to Hong Kong where he then lived and worked for five years. During this time he did a great amount of travelling around the Asia region. Everywhere from Japan to Indonesia and most countries in between.
However, it wasn't until he began to explore deep into China and Japan that he realised where his true passion lay. Graham explored China and Japan extensively whilst living in Hong Kong and since joining Audley he has ventured into the more rural side of these countries, which amazed him even further. Graham's interests include most outdoor activities, reading and photography.
My Most Memorable Experience
"One of my most memorable experiences in China was when I hiked from Guilin for 6 hours in the rain to the "Dragon's Backbone" rice terraces of Longji. At first it seemed like a daunting task considering the length of the hike but I was so excited that it didn't matter.
As I walked further and further and the rain lashed down, (followed by brief periods of sunshine) I really started to appreciate life here. I could see the local people working come rain or shine. They were always the most polite people and it was a delight to watch them in action.
I finally finished the gruelling hike to reach the village of Pingan and was rewarded by the most breath-taking sight I had ever seen. After everything that I had just been through I had no words to describe the beauty of the reflections on the water of the rice terraces. Amazing!
Of course then it was time to rest and enjoy a well-deserved drink whilst watching the sun go down over the mountains."
My Favourite Destination
"My favourite destination would have to be Taketomi - a very small island in Okinawa Japan. There is something about this welcoming place in the way it seems to merge Japanese culture with that of somewhere in South East Asia. It is so relaxed and slow paced with no cars on the Island.
I remember waking up to the most amazing local food. Following this I hired a bike and cycled across the island (which took roughly 10 minutes) and then relaxed in a hammock after some time on the beach. As if things needed to get any better, I was then convinced to head to western wharf. This is a small wharf where the locals gather to watch the sun drop under the horizon. Absolutely stunning! Later that evening I saw stars so bright - unlike anything I'd seen in my life. An amazing place to finish up a trip to Japan!."
My Favourite Accommodation
The Blossom Hill Boutique in Lijiang is the most beautiful and relaxed hotel I have stayed at. It feels more like a family run chain where everyone knows everyone and you find yourself getting invited to interesting BBQs or evenings of Mahjong, (yet without the pressure of having to do so should you just want time to yourself).
Also the layout is fantastic and blends modern facilities seamlessly with old fashioned and traditional Chinese room design. In the evenings they light red lanterns in the courtyard and you can go and sit peacefully and read while enjoying the soothing ambiance.
You could easily believe that you were living in another era. Escapism at its best!