Our Story

Who doesn’t love to travel? Whether it’s your annual road trip or country hopping with no fixed address, travel is good for the soul.

Travel opens our minds and our hearts. It makes us more aware, more tolerant, whether we travel together or go it alone.

Hi, I’m Shona and welcome to paraphernalia.co, a world travel guide where we share the things we love….

The Early Years

My travel story began as a toddler, with family road trips to country towns in my home state of South Australia. At 5, we drove across the Nullabor – Adelaide to Perth,  my brother and I separated by an esky in the backseat.

Our school holidays were full of road trips; Adelaide to Sydney, Adelaide to Brisbane; long weekends in Melbourne. However, our parents knew better than to take us the 3,000-kilometres to Darwin in case world war 3 broke out in the back seat. We road tripped almost everywhere else!

Working it out

My 20-year fashion career began in the buying office of John Martins, an iconic South Australian department store chain, adding interstate air travel to my back seat road trips.

By this stage, I had been well and truly bitten.

While Australia “abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare’, I was acutely aware of the distance between “our land girt by sea” and the rest of the world. A few offshore sojourns while on annual leave followed, only fueling my urge for more travel.

The first move

A move to Sydney became a natural progression for, not only my career but also my #travelgoals.

International travel commenced 5 days after joining the menswear buying division of another Australian retail institution, David Jones. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Cologne, Munich, Milan, Florence, Amsterdam and Hong Kong became quite familiar.

As time wore on and my career advanced, Miami, Minneapolis, Dallas, Stockholm, Lyon, Dusseldorf, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Tianjin became regulars.

Moving on

Needing a change, I moved from fashion retail to wholesale and manufacturing, partnering with an old mate. With factories in southern China, we developed and produced for retailers in Australia, New Zealand, France, South America and the UK.

It was at this time I met a like-minded partner in crime who eventually became my husband (and still is). Tales of his family holidays in a campervan crossing Europe are fascinating and fostered his travel addiction.

Our careers (his in aviation) differed greatly, but there was one obvious similarity; travel. A long-distance relationship ensued when he joined a Taiwanese airline. A move to Beijing followed with one of China’s largest carriers. Beijing’s close proximity to Guangzhou (and my office at the time) had me packing my bags and we spent two entertaining years in China’s capital.

A new opportunity resulted in four years residing in Shenzhen, with Hong Kong across the bridge, Macau a short ferry ride away and only a couple of hours drive to Guangzhou.

My business partner and I shook hands and parted company at the same time as the airline employing my husband decided to shut shop. He joined a Thai airline contracted to Saudi Arabian Airlines based in Jeddah while I had all intentions of repatriating to Sydney.

With his four-month on, two-month off Jeddah roster and my online consultancy gig we found ourselves in Bangkok together for what began as a two-month stint.

You could say I fell hard for Bangkok. Two months turned into three before I returned to Sydney, packed a few things and moved permanently, or so I thought. After 18 months the universe had other plans.

We are now firmly ensconced in Dubai, fortunate to be based in a busy transit hub with easy access to the rest of the world. That kid from Adelaide is still inside and she’s thrilled to be within a few hours of Europe, a few more to Asia and a few more again to Australia and USA.

40 countries & counting

I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to see so much of the world, but even more so to experience cultures other than my own.

paraphernalia.co was conceived in Bangkok but came to life in Dubai. It combines my love of travel with my rediscovered love of writing. When you visit paraphernalia.co, I can assure you, all you read has been experienced by us and you can trust the opinions are ours alone.

You’ll only read about the things we love because we will only recommend places and experiences worthy of sharing. If it’s here it’s good, you can count on it.

What you’ll find

Expect recommendations on what and where to #eat from street food to Michelin stars. Bars, wineries distilleries and local libations are covered in #drink. #explore shares guides you can springboard your own itineraries from. When the retail bug bites #shop helps you find therapy and #stay reviews accommodation from clean local lodgings to 5-star luxury.

At paraphernalia.co you can travel with us from your armchair, use the site to research your own adventures, or collaborate with us and we’ll share your escapades.

The recipient of two blogging awards (Versatile Blogger and Liebster awards), I’m proud to say these were issued by my peers. Some highly successful, others, like me, just emerging. You’ll meet some of these guys over time when they share their experiences at paraphernalia.co. 

In the stars

Do you want to know something odd?

I visited an astrologist with a friend many years ago. She told me I would spend much of my life moving around. I laughed and said I was about to move to Sydney. She smiled, shook her head, and replied, “no Shona, I see you crossing many seas”.

Whether it was written in the stars or self-manifested is not important, travel has been, and always will be, a thing I love….

Our Story

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