I'm a photographer, single, with two grown up sons. I'm based in Nelson NZ for the majority of the time but have been a great traveller over the years, usually in Asia and in particularly in India and Nepal.
I try to spend time every year in Nepal and/or Northern India where I catch up with my various sponsored children (mainly Tibetan) and see the projects of First Steps HImalaya, a NZ charity that works with poor rural Himalayan communities providing early childhood education and community health programs. I've just stepped down as Chair of the charity, but like to keep up to date with what is going on. I work for the charity on a voluntary basis as well which I love doing. I also provide photos for a few other charities that I'm connected with on an ad hoc basis.
Another passion is working with Tibetans and helping in different ways. I've sponsored children since 1989, and am still sponsoring them. The newest member of my ever increasing family is two years old. I have an interest in Tibetan Buddhism but win no prizes as a practitioner. My only claim to fame is as the official photographer of His Holiness Dalai Lama when he comes to NZ. He was here in June last year. (2013)
Favourite places of all time - Pagan, Burma, (but haven't been since 1987 so it is probably rather different now) Sapa Vietnam, Pangon Tso Ladakh & Nelson NZ!
Favourite places for a holiday - Turkey and Vietnam.
Places yet to visit - top of the list: Bolivia, Namibia and Ethiopia.
I backpack but have no problem travelling business class!! I seem to have a pretty strong constitution when travelling which is fortunate and eat from street stalls.
I love yoga - but don't do it enough, despite Nelson having 7 yoga centres!
I love sailing but don't do as much as I would like now, used to own a 30ft Gary Mull designed yacht. Last few trips off the south coast of Turkey. Last year I went to the Lofoten Islands (68ºN) in July, one of the best trips ever and with endless daylight! Such a beautiful place. I'm looking at going back and even further north with the same charter company…. I published a book on 'Blurb' of the trip.
I'm a mad keen Jane Austen fan, but also love Dickens and Scott - and what I call industrial revolution literature - Gaskell, Zola, Gissing. I always try and read books from the country I'm in at the time. Three recent books that have stayed with me are "Nothing to Envy" by Barbara Demmick (2009) about North Korea - couldn't put it down; "The Gate" by Francoise Bizot (2003) about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and "The Snow Geese" by William Fiennes. Fiennes writes brilliant prose - not many young people can do that.
Essentially I'm a creative - quilting, embroidery, gardening, some writing, websites but I'm not scatty. I'm pretty good on order and structure.
I'm used to travelling so know what people want when they are away from home. I like to think that friends and guests feel comfortable enough while staying with me to feel at home and relaxed and are not on their 'best behaviour' - but I don't tolerate drunkenness. I'm a non smoker. Well behaved pets are welcome. I grew up on a farm and was surrounded by animals so feel very happy on dry land as well as on the sea!