Jess_Backback-5I'm Jess - aged 42 (and I wont update this each year - that's old enough!). I'm a wife and mother, and a person with umph, who likes to travel, and write and who is always looking for the next challenge.  The perfect combination for a new blog!

I don't have a string of qualifications or impressive job titles behind me; this is mainly because I couldn't stand still long enough to acquire them!  From ages 18 - 28 I travelled pretty much non-stop, on a very low budget, and mostly alone (or more often with changing companions - friendships made in a day - many of which continue now).

Turkey, Nepal, Cambodia, Sumatra, Guatamala, Columbia ....I didn't like to make things easy for myself - I would walk long distances with my overstuffed rucksack digging into my shoulders, and sleep on the roof of a hostel or on a beach, and at times my diet consisted largely of bread (with pepper for flavour) and beer!

I always felt luck was with me - especially after particularly hazardous cliff-top bus journeys, or waking having been robbed of my last £20 to find 2 friends had arrived at my Amsterdam hostel, without any pre-arranging. Plus I'm happy to relay that after all my time away I haven't any personal horror stories to tell - or none that were bad enough to remember anyway!

I always found work when I needed it too - doing an array of jobs to keep the travel fund topped up.  I washed windscreens with a beautiful french girl whose calls of 'ooh la la' as she leaned forward to froth the glass substantially upped our income. I poured beers in a bar where the stools were nailed to the floor on Thursday Island and served duck stomach to high-tipping finger-clicking business men in Hong Kong.

When I returned to the UK I began to work in the travel industry.  While selling round-the-world trips (always easier to sell something you want yourself!) I managed to go on several excursions through the job. Brazil, Maldives, Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, the Indian Golden Triangle staying in palaces, Mauritius...

I fell in love, luckily with someone who has the same passion for travel as I do. We had 2 children and took them around the world, getting married along the way.   The lively ones are of school age now, and we are delighted to be living in Spain. Really settled this time, with pets and a veg patch, and tri-lingual kids and being part of a village with seemingly constant fiestas - and the mountains and sea surrounding us.  Life is good.  Now of course we are more limited in our movements and recklessness, but still look for every opportunity to see new places, and old friends.

One recent trip, which included staying in a tipi and cave in the middle of a strikingly empty bit of Spain, (what was Altiplano Tipis, Baza) made it clear to me what I will always look for in a holiday. Choosing unusual accommodation can really bring a place to life.  Getting a real feel for your environment by staying somewhere that will enhance it and make it more memorable, and where you may even beable to get involved in local activities, fiestas or sports.

A standard hotel room seems to hardly alter from one country to the next.  I've always thought them very uninspiring! Why stay anywhere ordinary when there are so many other options out there?

As I listened to the flap of tipi canvas in the breeze, I decided I wanted to create a website.  And there began, with a lot of help from a techie husband and our friend Ed, and fun filled hours of research for me.  I aim to bring thousands of great properties together in one place so people can choose amongst them with ease.

Here on my QA blog I will bring my love of travel to you - fiestas and festivals, hikes and challenges, quirky places to visit and things to do, trinkets of fascinating culture, must reads, and more.  Please add your comments or any interesting travellers finds on our Facebook or Twitter pages too.

Many thanks!