Hi and welcome to Suitcase & Sneakers. My name is Diana Watts, a beach girl from Sydney, Australia, who’s always had a thirst for adventure and an innate desire to take the road less travelled.
As a youngster I loved learning foreign languages and dreamed of exploring the world.
Growing up, international travel was very expensive and overseas trips rare. As a family we travelled to Norfolk Island, Fiji and New Caledonia. And as a sporty teenager I was lucky enough to visit the US, New Zealand and Japan to compete.
Instead of the now ritual Gap Year, after finishing high school I left suburban Sydney to study at university in Boston, did a 3-month stint in Paris at the Sorbonne and a 3-month stay with a family in Germany. It was my first taste of Europe and I was totally hooked on the excitement and challenge of discovering new places, new cultures and new communities.
Since then I’ve had some wonderful adventures – from trekking to Everest base camp, hiking to Machu Picchu, cycling through China and exploring the most exquisite place on earth, Antarctica. Like most travellers, there’s still a very long list of places I dream of exploring.
For me adventure is key. While I love visiting beaches around the world, it’s not because I want to plonk myself down, soak up the sun and chill, it’s because I want to go surfing! And I don’t just want to go look at mountains and admire their majesty, I want to climb them.
And that’s what I love about adventure travel: it combines my passion for health, fitness and wellbeing with my desire to explore the world.
I’ve done a lot of solo travelling over the years which I have found at times daunting, confronting, liberating and character building. Heading to Antarctica on my own to ‘get away from it all’ is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
These days I’m happy to have a new adventure partner and I’m really enjoying the shared travel experiences.
I met JJ on a trip to Vietnam with some mutual friends. It was a foodie and golfing holiday (JJ’s the golfer not me). Until we met JJ’s idea of travel was lobbing in a place for a couple of weeks, wandering around exploring a city, watching the locals and learning about their lifestyle. No lists to tick off, no must-dos, no must-sees.
He still loves doing that but I’ve lured him into the world of adventure travel. Not hard core rock climbing, extreme treks, base jumping or other crazy stuff but activities that take you out of your comfort zone and physically challenge you.
The first trip we did together was Hawaii, a holiday he now laughingly describes as boot camp. We surfed and hiked everyday, exploring the stunning, diverse terrain of Oahu and in 10 days he dropped 3 kilograms! Who needs a weight loss program when you can travel with me, he jokes?
Travel is a life-changer in so many ways. It’s incredibly liberating. It broadens your horizons, opens your heart and enriches your soul. This blog is designed to capture and share some of our life-enhancing adventures and hopefully inspire a few others to get out there and explore this amazing world we live in.