Published on February 18th, 2005 | by Ann Rickard2
About Ann Rickard
You’re an Aussie right?
I’m actually English although I’ve lived most of my life in Australia. My parents were ten-pound Poms and came to Australia in the 50s and settled in Sunshine a suburb in Melbourne. There wasn’t anything sunny about Sunshine in the 50s and 60s when I grew up. It was a melting pot of confused and frightened immigrants.
What was your first travel experience?
I left Sunshine in 1967 to do the working holiday thing in the UK. I lived in London during the swinging sixties but completely missed them due to my passion for spotted dick (a pudding!). I lived with an aunt in London who was an outstanding cook, and instead of racing out each night for swinging sex, I raced home to eat toad in the hole and suet puddings.
Sounds silly, what happened then?
After a couple of years of that I looked like suet pudding. When I returned to Australia on a ship called the Southern Cross – you had to travel by sea in those days, air travel was far too expensive – I met my Geoffrey. He was a dashing engineer officer who somehow saw through the layers of blubber and fell in love with me. I was hopelessly in love with him after 24 hours of meeting him. We married shortly after and I spent nine years travelling the world with him on board cargo ships and massively big oil tankers with him.
Sounds very exciting. Why did you both give up that life?
We settled in Melbourne in suburbia – as far away from Sunshine as possible – brought up three fabulous kids, moved to Queensland in 1992, and when the kids all left home, we started travelling again.
When did you start writing?
Shortly after arriving in Queensland, in Noosa actually darlings, very posh, I got a job at the local paper, the Sunshine Coast Daily and began writing little advertorial pieces. Then I went on to feature writing and doing dining reviews and started writing about travel.
In 2000 after a long trip to Italy where I kept an extensive journal, I decided to pull that journal together and write a book. While I was writing it, I thought ‘no publisher is going to look at this, they’ll take one look at the manuscript and say “not another book about Italy’. Then I thought, ‘hey, that’s a good title for a book, so I threw the title on and what would you know? The publisher liked it, as well as the manuscript, and decided to publish it.
So, how many books later?
Six published books
All about travel?
Yes, all humorous travel narratives. All true, all about my travels with the faithful husband Geoffrey.
How did you become a tour guide?
After visiting Provence so often I felt I knew it really well and loved it so much I wanted to share it with others. We found the charming village of Vers Pont du Gard where an 18th century mas had been refurbished to impeccable standards while retaining is old charm.
It’s absolutely gorgeous and so well located to take guests to all the Provencal icons such as Avignon, Les Baux de Provence, Roussillon. And it’s just five minutes from the beautiful town of Uzes with its bustling Saturday markets.
Who knows? I run these great tours, have a full time job as a feature writer with the Sunshine Coast Daily, live in beautiful Noosa, write travel stories about some of the world’s most gorgeous locations and now am a successful blogger.