On the couch with Amy Heague

Ellery Creek on the Larapinta Trail
Ellery Creek on the Larapinta Trail
We sat down with Amy Heague, Chief Editor and Creative Director of Australia's leading women's adventure magazine, Travel Play Live. Amy escorted our Women's Larapinta Trek -  a 7 day journey in the heart of central Australia. From her favourite moments travelling around the world, as well as what she gets most out of embarking on an active adventure, Amy reveals all!
The Travel Play Live Larapinta Trail is exploring the high ridgelines of the West MacDonnell Ranges, descending into narrow canyons and swimming in freshwater waterholes along the way, this exceptional trip stays in award-winning exclusive semi-permanent campsites that are comfortable, spacious and perfectly themed to match the desert outback.

Tell us about yourself? What does your day job entail?

I’m Amy, the Founder & Chief Editor of Travel Play Live. It is my job to make sure that our magazine (and website) comes to you filled with inspiring stories, beautiful images and is filled to the brim with all the Travel Play Live goodness our community has come to expect.

You work for one of Australia's leading travel magazines for women, can you tell us what your favourite travel moment is and why?

Travel is filled with moments that take your breath away, and I never want to be in so much of a rush that I miss those moments. Gelato in a piazza in Rome, exploring castle ruins on the south-west coast of Ireland, watching the full moon rise over the temple complex at Angkor Wat, eating tarantulas in Phnom Penh, pausing to allow a koala to cross my path on the Great Ocean Road, laughing and sharing stories with new friends at the end of a long day exploring a new location. The smells, sounds and tastes you savour and the people you meet when you get off the beaten path or dare to ‘get lost’ somewhere new all make travel an invaluable part of who I am.

Why do you think travel is such an empowering activity for women? 

Travel - and in particular travel that challenges you physically and mentally (aka Adventure Travel) is a brilliant way to uncover your inner strength, resilience, grit and determination.
When it is just you and the trail or the mountain or the village where no one speaks your language or a menu with no recognisable ingredients, and you find yourself at breaking point you can do one of two things - throw a hissy fit or dig deep and relish the experience knowing you will come away stronger. In a world that places so many demands and expectations on us - travel is a great equaliser and teacher - and boy is that empowering.

What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming Larapinta Trail trip?

I’m a little ashamed to say, but the last time I was in our ‘red centre’ my parents were driving us cross country in a combi, and I was in nappies, so I can't wait to experience everything this Larapinta Trek has to offer.
I am particularly keen to meet with the local indigenous community and learn from them; I am very much looking forward to gazing at the desert stars and soaking in the sheer scale of our ancient land. Sleeping at the beautiful campsite in the safari tents and of course getting to know the team of women who join me on this adventure.

What are your top tips for travellers preparing for a trip?

  • Be prepared for anything & remain flexible. Sometimes what seems to be an obstacle ends up being a fantastic opportunity for adventure
  • If you are going on a trip where there is a physical challenge like through hiking, trekking, biking etc. and you are with a group of people remember:
  • It is NOT a race, and you do not need to compare your skill or ability to anyone else in the group. Just enjoy yourself
  • You are NOT holding others up if you happen to be at the back - these kind of trips are planned to cater for a range of speeds and abilities.
  • Begin preparing or training a few weeks out - there is nothing worse than really struggling through your first few days and missing out on looking up and enjoying the scenery.
  • Never wear shoes or clothing that you haven’t worn before or broken in
  • Learn to be a packing ninja and don’t take too much - I’m a reduce reuse & recycle kinda gal when I travel.

What keeps you going when you experience challenging times on an active adventure?

A few years ago I was cycling through Cambodia, and a series of ‘mishaps’ meant that I got separated from my group, so I didn’t have a support network riding with me. Fortunately, I knew where I was going, but I hadn’t been clocking my distance, so I had no idea how much further I had to go. The temperature on the road was hitting the 40’s, and I was starting to feel the effects of heat stroke. I turned the corner to where I thought the end was, and no one was in sight, and I lost it. I got off my bike and threw it into the dust and had a full-on toddler tantrum. (like seriously) I was done. I was never riding again, blah, blah, blah. (insert lots of swearing here) Just then I looked up, and from out of the dust I saw our team leader riding towards me. “Amy! What are you doing? The finish line is just 50m up the road!” “It better be 50m up the road” I huffed back
I got back on my bike, and sure enough, a few final pedal strokes and the leg was finished. I sat in the dust and cried. Poured a bucket of water over my head, sucked down some electrolytes and all was well again in the world. (eventually)
So what did I learn?
  • Make sure you always have a support team around you. Cheering you on, watching your back and keeping you safe
  • When you hit rock bottom, look up. Help is on its way - ready to give you direction & spur you on to the finish
  • Don’t quit. The finish is just up ahead
  • It’s ok not to finish in the way you had planned. It’s ok to cry.
  • Rest up and get back to it.
Traveller Stories

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