Analytical, creative, and far, far too energetic Sara is happiest brainstorming and researching at work. She is always finding new and innovative ways of doing things. Her down time is usually spent out in the hills or down by the coast, where there is always a dog following close at her heels
Tell us your version of the Epic Minds story?
I love exploring and discovering everywhere and everything. Before I travel I read as much of the history of that place and dip in to as many travel books as possible. I noticed though that once I got out of the cities and larger towns you end up journeying through blank and anonymous landscapes. Landscapes that you know have history, meaning, connections, and present-day relevance. With the pace of life today it became apparent to me that not everyone has the time or inclination to read all the guide books. I began researching my own village and that turned in to my own area, and then in to a whole route. Then one day it just struck me that you could digitalise all of this and put it on an app. In fact, you could digitalise every route and put it on to an app. A couple of long winters evenings round the kitchen table with Sarah and Callum and we were off.
Where have you travelled and which memory stands out most?
I come from a family of expats and travellers. My grandfather was probably the best well-travelled of us all. I have a great picture of him partying in Havana, and another great photo of my parents in a dance competition on a boat that was crossing the international Date line on the way to India. What it must have been like to travel the world by ship. I still haven’t answered the question. Well, most of Western Europe, America, NZ, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Middle East, most of Africa, bits of South America, India, PNG, the States, and the Caribbean. There are still plenty of places to see and I intended to see them all.
I love Africa, especially Kenya. I love PNG. I walked my first volcano in PNG and saw my first seahorse. I went on my first safari in Botswana and saw lions mating, a leopard and its cubs, and a cheetah. I bogie boarded down the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Don’t make me choose. Have you seen this great big world of ours? How could anyone choose?
What is your favourite place in the UK?
The coastline between Garlieston in D&G and the Isle of Whithorn. The walk takes you past Rigg bay that saw the first prototype of Mulberry Harbour (the artificial harbours used during WW2), through the most beautiful woods teaming with bluebells and the white spherical flowers of wild garlic, up on to the rocky Cornish-like cliff tops where the last remains of a castle that has been inhabited from the 12 century onwards still stand in the form of a huge arch. What a place? Breathtaking. A fascinating, wild and craggy coastline on one side and endless fields of wheat and grassy meadows on the other, all the way to the Isle Whithorn. There you are greeted by the white tower, and the 13 century St. Ninians chapel, and mostly importantly The Steampacket Inn that sits right on the harbour and serves a very decent pint. It has a great smuggling history and in more modern times, some of the scenes for the movie, ‘The Wickerman’ were filmed here. One of my most favourite things about Whithorn, hardly ever to be found amongst small remote Scottish villages is a taxi service that will take you all the way back to the car in Garlieston. Being from another small Galloway village where the nearest taxi service is 27 miles away I regard it as a minor miracle, and the Isle of Whithorn as one of my favourite places of worship on a sunny, summers day.
What’s your idea of a holiday?
I just want to explore. Any excuse and I am off. I love hiking, running and swimming and all I want to do when I have time off is combine exploration, adventure and sport. It doesn’t matter whether I am at home in Galloway, Africa, or PNG. This summer I hiked the Mull of Galloway and the Fife coastal route. I have seen seals and castles and swum across some stunning and rather chilly lochs. I love meeting all sorts of interesting people that travel brings you in to contact with and the lessons you learn from them. Strangest sight this year was a bride in full bridal gown walking along the Fife coastal path. It must be part of a local path to the church or something similar.
Give us your best road trip?
I love road trips. My Father used to take my sister and I on the most amazing road trips. We spent two weeks driving from Switzerland through the Burgundy region of France. He made everything so much fun. My sister and I carry on the family road trip tradition. We often drive in convoy all over the world. The best though was from Nairobi, Kenya to Malindi, a town that sits on the mouth of the Galana River just as it enters the Indian ocean. Boyfriends, children, dogs, mates, and music. We saw an elephant having the time of it’s life next to a broken water pipe, saw groups of elegant ladies swishing across the terrain to collect water with containers atop their heads, and stopped off at a local village en route for a tyre change. I have also driven from Cape town to Harare and back all on my own. Endless, beautiful, and great fun stopping off at the local B&Bs.