In a career spanning 23-years in the pool, she represented Australia at two World Championships, three Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games; during which time she was consistently ranked as one of the top 25 swimmers in the world.
Now, as the world gears up for Rio 2016, homegrown Olympian, Lisa Curry, reflects on her favourite Olympic city and lists the destinations left on her travel bucket list.
My best holiday ever:
A mixture of work and play. A few years back I did a trip around Australia in a motorhome, which took just over two years. It was my ‘One Life, Once Chance’ road trip where I visited regional and rural towns towns to give locals a chance to talk with me and work with me one-on-one.
In 2008, after suffering my heart surgery during which I had a defibrillator implanted, a gentleman in hospital with me passed away from heart disease. I started doing work with the Heart Foundation to find out more about the disease and realised that simple lifestyle changes can prevent it. This led to me wanting to work with rural Aussies on fitness bootcamps and wellness workshops. I visited more than 100 towns and met so many amazing people.
Good work aside, I got to see so much of Australia – places most of us don’t get to see. I can’t recommend it enough – just getting into a motorhome or caravan and exploring your own country.
I never travel without:
A camera – just a small one, I find DSLR’s are far too bulky – a credit card and a backpack. I like to have my hands free, though I did get robbed once when I was wearing a backpack, which was very upsetting.
A relaxing trip for me:
Doesn't involve beaches! I don’t like sunbathing when on holiday, I can do that at home. Relaxing for me is going somewhere where there’s fantastic shopping. I can easily spend 12 hours in a shopping centre. I also love buying quaint, local things from small towns – especially ones in Italy.
My favourite Olympics destination:
They were all very different. I’d say that Moscow was perhaps the most interesting, because at the time it was a communist country, so being there was very interesting.
Our interpreter from that trip still talks to me on Facebook to this day, though he doesn’t have a profile picture because I think he was also working for the KGB back then! Culturally it was so different – a real moment in history.
Another famous flyer: What Kind Of Traveller Is Julia Zemiro?
A perfect 24 hours: On The Sunshine Coast
How I survive long haul flights:
Watching movies until I fall asleep, but I’m a really bad sleeper on planes, so much so that I usually take a muscle relaxant. I also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, which means going to the toilet often so I always like to be in an aisle seat.
My favourite city:
Venice – I love it. The vibe in the city and all the beautiful waterways. I hired a one-man canoe and just paddled around all the little canals. The water-level is so high, you look into peoples lounges as you paddle past! I just love getting lost there and discovering quirky little shops.
Best hotel I've stayed in:
Like I said, staying in a motorhome was an amazing experience for me. I don’t mind luxury, but I prefer the lifestyle that comes with camping. Life is meant to be an adventure. I say, why stay in five-star accommodation when you can stay in million star accommodation, under the stars and open skies?
My favourite gourmet experience:
Crossing the boarder into Tijuana to get Mexican food. It was so good, though I know – from past experience – that Mexican food from the wrong place can lead to trouble. Also, I can’t fault the bread in Italy. So good.
My best piece of travel advice:
Maintain a sense of adventure no matter where you go. I’ve been to so many places; from Agra and New Delhi, to Spain and South America and in each destination I’ve had adventures, some not always so great at the time!
I remember in Italy I got on a train, which I thought was going to Sorrento, but ended up in the middle of suburbia at a total dead end. I was travelling on my own and had no idea on how to get back, it was dark and a few men on the platform were leering at me. Plus, I was busting to go to the toilet and there with no toilets around. Not pleasant at the time, but it’s a story and an authentic travel experience nonetheless.
The next place on my list:
I have a pretty extensive travel hit-list. At the top there’s: Antarctica, Alaska, Mumbai, Everest base camp, South Africa, Cambodia and Vietnam.
For more information on Lisa and her current projects visit her official website.