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5 minutes with …. Sarah Burgess

June 2, 2023

Introducing …. Sarah Burgess, Director, Planning & Operations

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

Sarah burgessI’ve always had an intense love of travel – as a teenage my bedroom floor was stacked high with travel brochures, and I spent hours planning both real and imaginary trips for my friends and family! A family holiday (designed by me, obviously) to Hong Kong, Singapore and Bali when I was 16 fuelled my love of the region, and I ended up studying South East Asian studies at University (due, in no small part, to the third year being spent in Malaysia!).

After graduating I continued my love of travel with an early career teaching English as Foreign Language, with time working in both Egypt and Malaysia, until the time came to return home. Being unable to contemplate only 4 weeks of holiday a year, a job in travel seemed the obvious solution, and so I embarked on my first job in the travel industry! A happy 8 years were spent working for a small expedition cruise company before Different Travel came into being, and the rest is history!

18 years on and my passion for travel hasn’t diminished – When I turned 40 I set myself a goal of visiting at least one new country a year, something I have so far successfully managed (with the exception of the ‘covid years’), and have no intention of stopping any time soon!

How long have you been with Different Travel? How did you get involved?

I was one of the founders, back in 2005 after the devastating Boxing Day tsunami. Having worked in travel for several years, and knowing so many people who were affected by it, it was a logical step to get involved and try to help. One thing lead to another, and here we are almost 20 years later! Still helping local communities across the globe, as well as UK charities, with lots of adventures along the way!

What was your first Different Travel trip? What made it special?

I went out to Sri Lanka in April 2005 on the very first trip, just 4 months after the tsunami. We were made to feel so welcome, and the group got involved with various different projects, all helping the local communities to get back on their feet. These ranged from helping with clearing the beach, to rebuilding houses and helping with repairs at an orphanage and a home for the elderly, which has both suffered substantial structural damage.

What has been your most memorable Different Travel adventure to date?

It’s a close call, but other than the above, I’d have to say canoeing down the Zambezi, something I have now been lucky enough to do several times. Setting up camp on the river banks after a hard day of paddling, listening to the sounds of the wildlife all around and the amazing stars up above – it really is a unique adventure!

If you could go on an adventure with three people (past or present, real or fictional) who would they be and why?

Anyone with a magic carpet! This was my favourite game as a child, and I still long to fly away over enchanting lands, leaning over the edge watching the landscape below whizz past!

Mr Benn – I’d love to just walk into a little room and exit into a brand new world – all the adventure, but none of the hassle!
And I suppose I’d better choose a ‘real’ person too, so probably David Attenborough, so he could tell me all about the wildlife and the adventures he’s had over the years!

What is your ultimate dream destination?

There are still so many places on my list! I’m intrigued by Central Asia and the ‘Stans’, and would also love to visit Papua New Guinea. After a stint living there in the 90s, my heart remains firmly in South East Asia and I always take any opportunity to return!

Which Different Travel adventure appeals to you, and why?

I’d love to do our Trek to Petra in Jordan! I visited Petra many years ago, but would love to go back and this seems the perfect way of reaching there, via 5 days of trekking through stunning mountains and desert! I remember it being such a friendly country, and the food was fab too!

What do you love about working with Different Travel

The team, the adventures, our customers – so much! Mainly though, I love planning trips to exciting new destinations (the more unusual the better!) , and seeing them come to fruition.

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