On The Couch with Mary Moody

This month in our Q&A with Mary Moody, we find all about her thoughts on the importance of the younger generation and interacting with locals, some of her favourite botanical highlights and her affinity with France.

Mary Moody France

You’ve led trips to Nepal, China, Mongolia, India and France with WE – have you a favourite destination?
Like so many people, I fell in love with Himalayas at first sight. That was in northern India trekking in the Harki Dun Valley which is superb. To me, all the countries that run along these ranges are incredible (I haven't been to Tibet or Pakistan but would LOVE to).

What is it that you love about travelling?
Travelling opens my eyes and my heart to other cultures. It gives me an opportunity to connect with the natural world at a deeper level, and there is nothing like walking from town to town or village to village to really gain an insight into how other people live and work.

Mary Moody LunchWith your background, you often lead trips with a botanical slant. What  has been your most unusual botanical discovery?
In Yunnan in southwest China we were hunting for the famed but rather shy blue poppy (Meconopsis sp.). We heard that a documentary film crew from the UK were also looking for it and this intensified our efforts. I am thrilled to say we spotted it first!

You have a natural passion and affinity with the locals wherever you travel. What is your secret to getting to know the locals?
I find connecting with children opens the way to establishing an affinity. I always carry picture books with photographs of Australian animals and stop whenever I see groups of children - sit down in the dirt and share with them. The wonder in their eyes - their joyful response - is magic. Their parents are always just as fascinated.

You have now been leading a series of Yoga & trekking trips with yoga teacher Jan Green. What can people expect to gain from these trips?
Combining yoga and trekking is a perfect fit. We get up early and salute the rising sun, with stretches and flowing movement before breakfast. It sets us up physically and mentally for the trek, then at the end of the day we wind down with some deep breathing and relaxation. Beneficial on every level.

You have also led ‘intergenerational’ trips and taken your grandsons trekking with you in Nepal. What do you love about these trips?
Often children in the first world countries have sedentary and over-protected lives. Taking them into another culture, walking with them in the mountains and seeing their horizons open up, is just amazing. It's a life-changing experience and it also helps grandparents and their grandchildren to forge a special bond that would be difficult to achieve in any other setting.

Mary Moody tripYour trips to France are quite different again – comfortable hotels, chateaux, rural villages, walking country trails and of course the delicious regional food. What do you love most about showing people around this corner of France?
Rural France is glorious, and the region where I take my tour is like stepping back in time - with medieval villages and historic chateaux. I like to explore history and culture with some gentle walks between villages and some outstanding private gardens. It goes without saying that the food and wine are superb, and we sample the very best of regional cuisine.

You have a fantastic sense of discovery Mary. What are your top tips to travelers to get the most out of their travels
I tell my group to relax and go with the flow, and let go of 'pampered' expectations. It's healthy for us to occasionally step a little outside our comfort zone and to challenge ourselves. I believe trekking not just physical - our mental strength is what will get us into the camp site every afternoon. I also tell them to stop and look around as often as possible - it's not a race and if you try and be the first to arrive in camp you probably have seen very little along the way.

What trips can people look forward to with you in 2016?
I am planning a wonderful yoga trek in Bhutan next April, can't wait.


Find out more about her upcoming gourmet trip to South West France here.


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