A proud kiwi, born and raised

Kia Ora I’m Lydia and I work here at TravelEssence, in the Marketing Team. I am lucky enough to be a New Zealander, a proud Aucklander in fact, who is now living in the Netherlands sharing my country’s outstanding landscape and local tips with TravelEssence clients.

Growing up in New Zealand was a child’s dream, spending long summer days with friends and siblings, exploring the native bush, climbing trees, playing backyard cricket, and having the best water fights EVER! When the sun started to set over the hill, we knew it was nearly time for dinner, our parents would shout from the deck, and soon enough we would arrive at the dinner table, out of breath from sprinting down the driveway as fast as we could!

New Zealanders are sports mad, keen on the outdoors and generally laid-back people. My family fits this description perfectly. Aotearoa - the Maori name for New Zealand, is full of hidden gems, and Auckland is no different - within an hour’s drive, you have an abundance of golden beaches to discover. As a family, we would load into our classic 7-seater Chariot or “people mover” as we would call it, jam-packed with boogie boards, fishing gear, bikes, and don’t forget the surfboards on the roof rack! Spending our holidays amongst nature - hiking, surfing, cycling, camping, swimming and exploring. Often we would be the only people on the beach!

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Trying to keep up with my older brother, I played every sport possible during my school years. Football was a big favourite until I was old enough to follow in the footsteps of my brother and start sailing. Living five minutes from the beach, the glistening Hauraki Gulf was our playground and with New Zealand hosting The America’s Cup, it was easy to fall in love with the sport. Darting down to the sailing club after school, and spending every possible minute on the water during the weekend - that feeling of a salty water spray hitting your face as you cruise past a pod of playful dolphins never gets old.

At the age of 13, I became obsessed with beach volleyball too. Travelling the length of the country, playing tournaments on the best beaches in the world. Mount Maunganui is still one of my all-time favourites! I was lucky enough to travel the world with volleyball and meet people from all walks of life, I would always invite my international friends to visit my special country, making sure I made the time to show them the local spots, as I believe that’s the best way to travel - do as the locals do! I am proud to be working for TravelEssence who share this exact philosophy, encouraging our clients to get “off the beaten track” and discover the secret spots, only locals know about. You can’t beat that local experience and you will remember it for a lifetime!

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