Selene Brophy is the former Editor of Traveller24 – the lifestyle site of News24.
She is skilled in Digital Content Management Strategy, Journalism and putting the User Experience at the centre of what she does. Recognised as a strong media and communications professional and post-graduate from the University of Stellenbosch Business School, digital is in her blood, while travel and tourism is her daily passion.
How did you fall in love with travelling? As a child, through the many family road trips we took. But also, as an adult, with the rise of social media and the ease of access to information from destinations across the world. I think I honestly fell in love with adventure travel during a trip to Reunion Island in 2013. We pushed our limits by hiking the volcano, caving inside it’s lava tubes as well as micro-lighting to see the active eye. I also formed some lasting memories and friendships on that trip – which is the real value of travel at the end of the day.
What kind of traveller are you? I’d describe myself as an adventure, micro-itinerary traveller – instead of trudging all over the place trying to see everything in one destination. I also prefer clean and stylish accommodation – and will not necessarily opt for the cheapest rate in this regard. I prefer the type of experience that offers good value for money, as well as leaving me with the sense of having tapped into something unusual.
What’s your travel philosophy? I’ve formed several special bonds with some of the people I’ve travelled with or met along my travels and it’s lovely to keep in contact with them via WhatsApp and social media.
What are your top travel essentials? My absolute essentials are a universal plug adapter and power bank, a comfortable wrap for unexpected chilly conditions or to make a drab outfit easily stylish, a good hydrating cream and comfortable, smart walking shoes.
Where was your most memorable trip? Singapore! It is an utterly fascinating destination. And overwhelming. But mostly it’s exhilarating. Coming from a country like South Africa where wild, open spaces form such a naturally broad part of daily life, it struck me front and centre how this city-country, smarting for space, is so future-focused in its architecture and design. At 50 kms long and just 28 kms wide (quite literally my daily commute to work), they are rising higher and higher in their buildings but are ever mindful of the need for eco-spaces, green spaces – to ensure the very well-being of its people. Read more here.
How has travelling changed your life? It has made me realise how small the world is, and how complex the human race is. There is always something new and interesting to learn from other far-flung destinations – but even more so, right in our own backyard.
When borders open again and the world starts to return to ‘a new normal’ what’s your first travel destination on your list? If things ease regarding local travel restrictions in South Africa first, I’m definitely heading back to the Garden Route or to Durban – my two sons absolutely love it there, especially the warm India Ocean waters. We had to put a multi-generational Europe trip on hold due to COVID-19. We had planned to visit the Netherlands, France, with a stop-over in Lisbon during the June School Holidays. So it will definitely be that for an international adventure. My sons are very excited about visiting Disney World in Paris and taking the high-speed Thalys train.
Best travel advice you can share? No matter how many trips I’ve taken – I always tend to over-pack. Admittedly, I’ve gotten better over the years. But I always try and pack at least a week before my departure date. My advice is to check the weather and go over your itinerary with a fine-tooth combine to consider a combination of items you’ll need. Once you’ve put aside what you want to take – you simply must half it, obviously excluding essentials like a swimming costume for warm destinations or thermals and warm jacket for winter destinations. You will be grateful for the spare space when you do find a few bargains or exciting mementos you’d like to bring home.