Well, hello there. I’m Sophie (well, Anne-Sophie, really. And I really like my name – in every language but English. That particular combination of names, in that order, just doesn’t work. (‘Eh?’ I hear. ‘Aunt Sophie?’ ‘Reminds me of my 90-year-old aunt who smells of peppermints…’) So, Sophie it is.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve enjoyed writing. Every job I’ve had has included a fair share of it – from speech writing for government ministers to random scribbles. Now, I’m a bilingual freelance writer. My work has appeared in various Scandinavian and English print and online media, including British Airways’ Business Life, Qatar Airways’ Oryx Magazine, Thai Airways’ Sawasdee Magazine, the Matador Network, National Geographic Traveller and more. I’ve done my share of guidebook work as well, most recently for Fodor’s Travel Guides.
And travelling? There’s little I enjoy more than hopping off a train in a new city, not knowing what’s around the corner. I’ve lived in New Zealand, Norway and the USA and have visited 115 countries. Or 151, depending on how you count a country. Do I think that’s fun? I kinda do.
Others I’ve yet to experience. High on my travel wish list are Pitcairn, Afghanistan and Tristan da Cunha. We dream of taking the Royal Mail Ship to St Helena. Well…, I dream of that. The kids aren’t that thrilled about the prospect of the 31-day journey from Europe (or even the 10-day round trip from Cape Town). Antarctica is another dream – along with South Georgia and the mysterious Norwegian Bouvetøya, possibly the most remote place on Earth.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the world’s more familiar places. I love Singapore, San Francisco and Sydney. I adore London, Paris and Brussels, too. And whenever possible, I try to see these places with fresh eyes. A visit to London often includes a stroll through Hyde Park and seeing Big Ben. But even better is a thrilling historical walk through 700 years of murder and mayhem. You can travel in the Caribbean on a cruise ship. Or you can choose a deliciously slow sail among near-deserted islands in a 30 ft sailboat.
I was first on an airplane when I was 11 years old. In contrast, my oldest daughter took her first flight at 11 weeks. How things have changed! These days, things have changed even more. I didn’t see many families travelling with children outside of charter groups back in the early 90s. My then toddler raised curiosity everywhere; she is the strange foreign kid in at least 100 family photos around South-East Asia especially. Today, European children are no longer a rare sight in other corners of the world.
In 2002, I adopted my youngest daughter from China. Her first flight was on her first birthday, going from Fuzhou to Beijing; the first leg of her journey home. The memory of that trip still brings happy tears to my eyes. China – and most especially the province of Fujian – will forever hold a special place in my heart.
After high school, I turned down a job as a piano player on an Alaskan cruise ship. (Still haven’t made it to Alaska). I adore Black Adder and have had a crush on Michael Palin ever since I bumped into him in a book shop in Takapuna (New Zealand).