Joanne Saunderson of Silverdale initially went travelling to find out where she fitted in the world.
Born in the UK, she has also lived in Australia and New Zealand and says she first went overseas looking for answers about her life.
What she found was a yearning to travel more and more. Joanne has worked in the travel business, both retail and wholesale, for 25 years and recently celebrated this with an exhibition of her photographs at Estuary Arts Centre.
In that time she has visited 50 countries, several more than once – for work, independently and with her family.
She enjoys adventure travel and says she is happiest off the beaten track. In particular, Joanne says she ‘has a thing’ for mountains – her honeymoon with husband Wade was spent in a tent in Nepal, and she loves other destinations that have mountainous regions such as Borneo and South America.
In 2016, the whole family spent almost four months in Egypt and Europe.
“Travel to me is about creating experiences – definitely not just ticking a box,” Joanne says. “It’s about making connections with those people and places.”
More importantly perhaps, travelling has given her a strong sense of who she is, and what happiness is.
“So many cultures have very little and yet they seem content with what they do have, while others are very materialistic,” Joanne says. “It’s very grounding and makes you want to come home and clear out your cupboards of things that you really don’t need.”
Joanne’s travel exhibition at Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa closes this weekend, on May 26.