I have always been fascinated by far-flung places. Studying for an MA in Geography and Spanish at the University of Glasgow gave me the opportunity to fulfil my urge to travel and I spent an unforgettable year living in Buenos Aires and exploring the rest of South America independently. Becoming fluent in Spanish while in Argentina gave me the desire and confidence to discover a new language and region.
After completing my studies, I moved to Beijing to work as an English teacher and then as a journalist for a Chinese government magazine. It proved to be an eye-opening experience at such a pivotal moment in the country's history and also offered opportunities to travel all over the Middle Kingdom, while my love of hiking took me to the Great Wall ten times. I became fluent in Mandarin during those two years as I fell in love with the country and its culture.
I'll never forget when…
I was in Yunnan in southwest China, a region known for its ethnic minorities, in time for the 60th anniversary of the prefecture gaining autonomy. My Tibetan guide insisted I should wear her husband's traditional clothes for the celebrations. As we entered the local stadium everyone's eyes seemed to focus on me, the only foreigner. I later found out that most people were laughing because I was wearing shorts which made the outfit look like a dress. My error helped introduce me to people from all of Yunnan's 20 ethnic minorities. I don't know if I was taking more photos of them or them of me.