“Travel is the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer”
Discovering all the wonderful new experiences, cultures, meeting interesting people, delicious food and super stunning landscapes…. almost everyone loves travelling. How can you not.
I personally just can’t go a year without scratching the wanderlust itch.
Four months ago I was at a tech event and from out of nowhere a lady grabbed my shoulder and asked “are you Aisha, Katrina’s Aisha?” Just so you know, Katrina is one of my closest friends, and I discovered this lady was Leanne, Katrina’s cousin. Over the next month I continued to bump into Leanne at numerous events (it was a heavy networking month) and we became great friends.
As Leanne told me about her passion project, Getaway Guru, I knew I wanted to share her story.
I had so many questions about how she started the business, the different places she covered, the stories behind the villa owners and her own experiences, I knew others would be interested to.
Following is a little insight into the glorious world of Getaway Guru.
“I want to experience life and the sense of freedom and the continual learning that travel brings.”
Where is all began…
In what’s probably common for businesses, Getaway Guru grew out of trying to solve a problem for myself and when I thought of a solution, I wondered if other people would benefit from it too, and well, here we are.
It was when I was trying to organise a special trip away to France for my birthday and if you’ve ever typed to words ‘villa in France’ into a search engine – then you’ll understand the pain. I was overwhelmed! How could I choose – which one was right – did the villa of my dreams actually exist? And then I came across a small advertisement in a magazine for an Australian couple renting out their home in France and off we went. I chatted with Jenny, the Australian owner over the phone to sort things out and it was all so easy. A few years later I was trying to organise a holiday in Italy and thought, hang on, I wonder if I can find an Australian owned villa. I found one and then realised that there might be other Australians who were interested in renting villas and apartments in France and Italy from Australian owners and voila – Getaway Guru was born.
And no I’m not a travel agent or a real estate agent in my past or current life – I’m actually a HR consultant – but I love to travel so Getaway Guru aligns with my passion.
My ‘why’ is really about my passion for travel and probably deeper than that, a desire to keep the sense of adventure and wanderlust in my life. It is all too easy to fall into the trappings of a modern life – working hard to pay the mortgage and then not enjoying any other part of the 24hours, 7 days, 365 days, all those years we have. I don’t want to accumulate stuff and have to work to buy more stuff – I want to experience life and the sense of freedom and the continual learning that travel brings. Getaway Guru helps me to help people experience France and Italy; I get to help other people ‘experience’ and in turn I can experience it with them.
The people behind the villas
This is one of my favourite parts of Getaway Guru – it’s the people behind the properties and there are such amazing people who are doing amazing things. Like, the couple who sold their restaurant on Bondi Beach and now live and rent out their villa in Tuscany. The couple who bought a run down group of properties in Umbria, renovated them, offer them to rent and have received world wide media on their amazing hospitality. And connecting with a couple who are renovating a property in France, chatting over skype and will be listing their renovated property with me when it’s all done and ready for visitors.
3 most popular destinations
Australians love Paris, Provence and Tuscany and I’ve seen Umbria become increasingly popular over the last few years so I get a lot of enquiries for properties in those regions (I know, more than 3 but I couldn’t narrow it down!).
And I’ve recently started listings of Australian owned villas in Bali as Australians love Bali – it’s the 2nd most popular destination for O/S bound travellers!
Oh it’s so hard to narrow down to one story. But I do love the fact that in one of the properties in Dordogne, France – La Vieille Grange you’ll be staying in the villa that Stephanie Alexander used as her summer base while researching her book Cooking and Travelling in South-West France.
It may sound funny but I want to take GG off-line in 2016 to connect with even more people. I’m about to launch a series of workshops – 1) planning a trip to France and 2) Planning a trip to Italy (and I’m contemplating running a Planning a trip to Paris workshop) to help people plan their dream holiday.
I collaborated with Suburban Gypsy last year to sponsor the launch of their travel pod-casts (giving inspiration to suburban gypsy’s fitted so well with my ethos!) and in 2016 I’m looking for more collaborations – partnering with like minded people and businesses who want to run tours/events/workshops whilst basing themselves and their guests in Getaway Guru properties (I have some amazing properties that can host/sleep up to 14 people!)
Ahhh…so hard to narrow it down to one favourite destination but if I have to, then I’d have to say Paris. I love wandering, sitting at cafes and watching the passing parade; gazing in awe at the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower at night, the wonderful food – both in restaurants and markets and the absolutely incredible museums and art that can be enjoyed. And I love that you can enjoy Paris whatever your budget – it’s free to picnic on the lawns of the Eiffel Tower and wander the streets, soaking up the atmosphere and joie de vivre!
One of my favourite restaurants/meals was during a trip to Burgundy France, when the Australian owner of our accommodation recommended we dine Lameliose in Chagny, Burgundy, a Michelin starred restaurant. We got a last minute booking and enjoyed our 1st degustation dining experience with matching French wines, all of which blew our tastebuds. It was such an incredible taste experience. And in one of those amazing coincidences, our waiter was an Australian who spoke impeccable French so he really helped us enjoy the experience even more!
1. Travel to South America – I want to spend lots of time exploring and experience and of course trekking up to Macchu Pichu
2. Go back to Positano (I love it!) – spending time soaking up the beauty and simplicity of the Amalfi Coast
3. Spend 6 or 12months living and travelling in France or Italy
4. I’d love to go on the tea trail trek (staying at the gorgeous lodges along the way) in Sri Lanka
5. And somewhere, somehow – I will stay in an over water bungalow (Maldives or Bora Bora I’m looking at you!)
Your favourite wanderlusters
· @chateaugudanes – this instagram account of an Australian family currently restoring a chateau in the south of France is so dreamy.
· @singaporeair – I am a collecter of Singapore Air frequent flyer miles so I love being inspired on destinations I can get to with our collection of points!
· @atasteoftravel – I love Jenny’s instagram feed. She’s a foodie who loves to travel and I always feel inspired when I peruse her posts
· @stylingyou – I love Nikki and her blog for so many reasons. 1 – she’s built an incredible online business and 2) I love her practical approach to styling (and packing for travel!)
· carlacoulson.com – I love Carla’s blog and photographs. She’s an amazing Aussie who left Sydney, jumped on a plane to Italy, fell in love with an Italian and now lives in Paris with Mr Right. She has published 3 beautiful books and takes the most incredible photos. Follow her on instagram @carlalovesphotography for a daily dose of gorgeousness!
5 items can’t you live without.
1. A good travel handbag/backpack and it just so happens that the Hills and West Morgan 3 in 1 backpack is just perfect! (I could not have said that better myself 🙂
2. A scarf or 2 – great for jazzing up the travel outfits, using as another layer of warmth when needed and great for covering up when visiting Cathedrals and churches in Italy when you won’t be allowed in if your shoulders are bare!
3. My phone – to keep in touch and snap lots of holiday memories (of course being careful not to be caught out with data usage!)
4. My travel companion – my now husband who was formerly my backpacking boyfriend. We travel so well together (and when you travel in a van in Europe for 6 months you just know that your marriage will be OK!)
5. Comfortable and stylish shoes! If you’ve wandered the cobblestoned streets of Rome or Paris, you’ll know why you need comfortable shoes and they must be stylish – hello….I’m in Italy or France…of course they need to be stylish!
And of course… what’s your favourite Hills & West?
My favourite Hills and West accessory is the 3 in 1 backpack- it’s the perfect travel companion. Keeps you hands free and more importantly it helps you look like a stylish traveller!
Travel has always played a very dominant role in my life and I hope it continues to. Hopefully soon I will be able to tell you about one of my adventures in Italy or France.
I am dreaming already…
Getaway Guru – for places you’d rather be.
Australian and NZ owned holiday rentals in Bali, France, Italy and Monaco