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Carmen grew up in Hong Kong and it was a minor in Japanese Studies at university, followed by a study programme to the Netherlands that opened her up to travel. While in Europe she took part in the Maastricht Carnaval and developed a strong interest in different cultures. Suddenly travel became not just about food and scenery, but also about history, art, traditions and people.

Carmen’s first job was working for a travel business in Hong Kong which gave her the opportunity to explore further. Local life really drew her in, leading her to witness fireworks at Tanabata Festival in Sendai, Japan; attend the last Queen’s Day (“while dressing in orange with all the Dutch people”) in Amsterdam; and join carnival celebrations in Viareggio, Italy.

She took a year out to explore Germany before returning home to Asia and exploring Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and China. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of museums, galleries and festivals, alongside preparing holidays for guests to destinations that she loves.

Next on her wish list is to climb Mount Fuji in Japan.

Carmen 's Picks

  • Best way to travel: By train - I love the efficiency and comfort, and that you can combine a few countries in one trip. Also, themed trains make the journey extra enjoyable.
  • Favourite country for food: Japan - My favourite dish is Tsukemen, a ramen dish consisting of noodles which are eaten after being dipped in a separate bowl of soup or broth.
  • Travel must-do: Get cultural - Visit a cathedral or church, especially when in Europe. My favourites are the Pantheon in Italy, Kilkenny Cathedral in Ireland, and St. Vitus Cathedral in the Czech Republic.