Every month, we delve into the travel experiences of people in the extended WHL Group network. This month we talk to Cindy Nehme of Lebanon.travel, the whl.travel local connection based in Beirut, Lebanon.
Cindy is native to Lebanon. She started working with Lebanon.travel in 2008 as a reservations agent, recommending off-the-beaten-track spots for travellers who wanted something a bit more spicy than shopping in downtown Beirut. Then in September 2010, she took on a new role as marketing and communications manager.
Lebanon.travel has a team of knowledgeable, energetic tourism professionals. The group’s expertise in e-commerce and online travel makes it a valuable part of the whl.travel family. When not online, the staff – Ron, Pia and Cindy – are out enjoying the amazing skiing and snowboarding in their own backyard and exploring the rest of the world whenever they get the chance.
WHL Group: Which is your favourite WHL Group destination and which would you most like to visit?
Cindy: I would very much like to visit Thailand, particularly Phuket. The closest I’ve been to Thailand is eating Thai food in an Abu Dhabi mall. I have heard a lot about the beautiful landscapes, motorcycle rides and Full Moon Parties.
WHLG: What would you never travel without?
Cindy: A camera, my Converse shoes and a big, fat smile!
WHLG: What do you miss most about home when travelling?
Cindy: The 24-hour dine-ins!
WHLG: What’s the most adventurous trip you’ve ever taken?
Cindy: The first summer Euro-trip I took with my friends. We visited Amsterdam, Paris, Venice and Rome. We travelled by trains, water ferries, cars, planes, you name it! We interacted with locals and fellow travellers, ate with them and partied with them. It was so amazing the first time that it became an annual thing.
WHLG: What is your funniest travel experience?
Cindy: I once worked as an animatrice (play coordinator) for kids in Qatar and had to put on these fluffy mascot costumes. The funny part is that the majority of the audience was adults!
WHLG: What is your scariest travel experience?
Cindy: On a recent trip to Jordan, the plane was on vibration mode throughout the flight!
WHLG: If you could go on holiday with anyone famous – living or dead – who would you take?
Cindy: Thom Yorke of Radiohead and his guitar!
WHLG: Describe the best and worst accommodation you’ve ever stayed in.
Cindy: I’ve stayed in both hotels and hostels. The best hostel I have stayed in is the Bull Dog in Amsterdam. Great vibes, amazing location, very neat and clean, and surprisingly comfortable bunk beds. Plus, you meet travellers and backpackers from around the world. As opposed to the Yellow Hostel in Paris, which was not comfortable at all and not a pleasant atmosphere.
WHLG: Describe your earliest travel memory.
Cindy: The first time I travelled, I went to Paris with my family. It was Christmastime, with beautiful decorations across the Champs-Elysées and lots of snow. I must have been five years old at the time and I was really overwhelmed by the beauty of this city.
WHLG: Please briefly explain what you think local travel is.
Cindy: Local travel is being in a relationship with the new destination. Have its breakfast, walk its streets, discover its corners, celebrate its own uniqueness. It’s a more personal approach than just reading about it in a travel guide.
WHLG: In what ways do you see local travel benefiting the country in which you live?
Cindy: Lebanon is very rich, culturally and historically. Unfortunately, the best parts of it are overshadowed by the commercial touristic sites. Local travel will allow the discovery of these untainted spots, while also encouraging interaction and cultural exchange with the locals. It simply enriches your travel experience.