The last 18 months have been tough for us all, in different ways, but I think one thing we have all missed a lot is travelling near or far. Apart from anything else, it gives us something new to talk about! So instead of feeling bored or frustrated about staying put, we asked our members to complete a travel interests and experiences survey to gain some insight into their travelling history. This was then the starting point for our new Travel Junkie event series in which we ask members to share their stories and memories, as well as tips and advice for our future adventures.

Borneo and Vietnam

At the end of May, one of our well-travelled members and organiser of the IWA Modena Book Club; Sam Frearson-Tubito, presented our first event in the Travel Junkie series. She told us all about her experience taking us from northern Borneo to northern Vietnam including her itinerary, tips, advice and photographs. As you’ll see below, she is also a talented photographer and has been fortunate enough to have not only travelled often, but has also lived in an incredible number of countries as well as different cities. I think it’s fair to say that she has had more than enough time to practice her photography skills with beautiful environments to do it in! She also writes a blog and has her own website (Wandering Identity) where she talks about her travelling experiences as well as other interests (including the IWA Modena Book Club).

Photos courtesy of Sam Frearson-Tubito. Here is what Sam has to say briefly about the trips:

“Borneo: I took my family of 6, kids ages 6, 8, 10 and 12 to Borneo for a 10-day trip. We visited the Orangutan Sanctuary, even adopted a baby one and named her Chiquita! In addition, we explored the rainforest, stayed in a rainforest hut in the jungle for a few days and then traveled to a small island called Lankayan to snorkel, scuba dive and watch baby turtles being born. All in all a very special and welcoming place to visit which we highly recommend.”

“Vietnam: I took my family of 6 to Vietnam. We visited the city HaNoi, the beautiful UNESCO heritage site of Halong Bay and HoiAn the seaside village. We loved everything about Vietnam, the people, the food, the culture. Our four young kids, aged between 7 and 13 also really enjoyed it. The chaotic city of HaNoi was an eye opener to them with colorful street vendors on every corner, Halong Bay’s breathtaking scenery was everything and more than we expected, and the calm seaside resort of HoiAn was just what we needed to relax before heading back home.”

The recorded event, which took place on 19 May 2021, can be viewed by current subscribed members on our members-only page of the website; Recorded Events and the event name is Travel Junkie: Borneo and Vietnam. Feel free to catch up if you missed it.


The following month we held our second Travel Junkie event on 10 June 2021, this time presented by the Travel Junkie IWAM volunteer team. We came together as a group following the analysis of the IWAM Travel Survey results in which we received feedback from around 35 current members on their travelling interests and experiences as well as gained insights into where they have previously lived. We’re certainly an international group with a wide variety of countries, cultures and languages in our history. This group already had an interest in travel and many happened to already have experience with either living in, or travelling around Canada, and therefore they presented two different regions in Canada; Québec and Alberta. The event kicked off with an interactive quiz using Kahoot! which Kelly Rooker, the Team organiser hosted with questions created by the team. Everyone enjoyed it and learnt some general facts about Canada. We then heard from Caroline Mallet and Stephanie Stadler representing the Québec team, and they shared wonderful photographs and stories from different perspectives, including travelling with kids.

Caroline recommends that we visit Montréal. She says:

Montréal is a lively city; big, yet small, thanks to the friendliness of its people. Be prepared to enjoy urban architecture where Old France meets skyscrapers, and a lot of greenery in the many gorgeous parks. Montréal is a great destination for all ages. Bienvenue!”

Photos courtesy of Caroline Mallet:

Next up was Pam Merkley; a Canadian who loves to help people plan their trips there, who told us about the province of Alberta. Of course, we saw more photographs of gorgeous landscapes from this nature-lover and also heard about her experiences working in the region too. Pam suggests that Alberta is a place you must visit at some point:

“Alberta boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. Wide open prairies where both dinosaurs and buffalo used to roam, the majestic rocky maintains, crystal clear glacial fed lakes and an abundance of wildlife to see. All of these invite nature lovers to get outside and explore the environment at leisure. As a nature lover and outdoor enthusiast, I highly recommend adding Canada and in particular Alberta to your travel list.”

Photos courtesy of Pam Merkley:

The recorded event, which took place on 10 June 2021, can be viewed by current subscribed members on our members-only page of the website; Recorded Events and the event name is Travel Junkie: Canada. Be sure to check it out when you can! We hope to return in the Autumn with a Canada part two event… there is too much to see and talk about for just one event!

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