Those prone to jealousy should look away now, because this high-flyer is truly living the travel dream. If she’s not jetting off around the world as a member of Air New Zealand’s (airnewzealand.co.nz) cabin crew, Selina can be found honeymooning in India or lapping up New York City like an A-lister.
Living out of a suitcase has never looked so glamorous, so we had to take a sneak peek behind the scenes. Here Selina fills us in on her favourite destinations, her top tips for packing that perfect carry-on bag and the weirdest incident she’s encountered on the job.
Where was your last trip?
I've recently returned from Valldemossa village set in the heart of the beautiful Serra de Tramuntana mountain range in Mallorca, where my partner and I got married. My parents visit friends in a nearby village several times a year and encouraged us to check it out. We instantly fell in love with its cobbled streets and pretty flower-lined buildings. We knew immediately we wanted our wedding to be there.
Where is your next trip?
We're off on our honeymoon. We are going to be travelling around India on the Golden Triangle tour visiting Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I have always wanted to visited the Taj Mahal so I'm particularly excited for that bit. Then we are heading to the Maldives for some scuba diving and relaxing in an over-water bungalow.
What is your first travel-related memory?
I remember crying as I watched my dad walk over the bridge to go on the Thunder Mountain ride at Disney World, Florida. I was only four and obviously under the height restriction, but I was desperate to go on with him.
Aisle or window seat?
I really don’t mind. It’s all about comfort for me on a flight; I like to arrive relaxed and refreshed, ready to get the most out of my holiday.
Do you have any travel habits or rituals?
I have a checklist which I run through every time I leave. I double check it with my husband, or dad too, to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.
What sparked your decision to work as a member of cabin crew?
After I graduated from university I wanted to travel. My mother suggested doing this as an alternative to backpacking. Working as cabin crew gave me the opportunity to travel in style and meet lots of lovely people whilst getting paid for the privilege. I was only intending to do it for six months. So far it's been nine years of living the dream.
What is your top tip for packing light?
I can't do it! I've still not discovered the magic formula for that.
Fewer people check in luggage these days. Do you have any advice for packing the perfect hand-luggage?
Make it easy for yourself. Have all electrical things together in one section and your liquids ready in the plastic bag for security as you know you'll have to get them out. Don't forget you should only buy drinks or extra liquids once you're through security.
You’re often working across several time zones, how do you cope with jet lag?
Don't dwell on it. You're in a new place, you need to embrace it while you can. I also find a little bit of yoga and a few glasses of champagne can be a help.
What advice would you give a nervous flyer?
The plane is just like a bumpy bus. Listen to your favourite music on loud – you just need to stay calm and distract your mind.
What’s the weirdest incident you’ve had to deal with on the job?
The whole New Zealand Maori All Blacks rugby team singing a Maori love song to me during landing.
Favourite city or country or region?
It definitely has to be New York. In December 2014, my now-husband surprised me with a trip – I thought we were going to Edinburgh for a night, but he had actually planned a week in New York. We had an amazing time.
My standout memory was the day we spent lunching at the Loeb Boathouse on the lake in Central Park, ice-skating at sunset as the skyscrapers lit up and going to the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, where I also received a surprise marriage proposal. Everyone was taking photos and congratulating us, it really was magical.
What is your best or worst travel souvenir?
The best: since I was a little girl, my mum and I would buy a Christmas tree decoration from every new place we visited. Each year, when putting up the tree, we reminisce about the trips we've taken.
What is the best or worst piece of travel advice you’ve received?
In my spare time I love to paint. I once met a famous artist who inspired me a lot. He told me that travel is the greatest gift, to take it all in and use the memories as colours in my work. When I have days off you can find me creating oil paintings (selinaselinaselina.com) inspired by my memories of travel.
What’s your biggest travel fail?
During a trip to New Zealand, I decided I needed to give bungee jumping a try. For some reason, perhaps I was overeager, I did a huge jump off the platform instead of diving. This meant I was going down feet first, resulting in severe whiplash as the bungee recoiled... it did make for a funny video though.
Quick, an asteroid is going to hit the earth in one week! Which is the one travel dream you’d rush to fulfil?
I'd really love to swim with wild orcas in Norway… but then afterwards, I would rush home and have a huge party with all my family and friends. I'll always love seeing new places, but when you travel as much as I do, you really do realise that home is where the heart is.
What advice would you give a first-time traveller?
Ask your hotel concierge or people in shops or bars what their must-dos are. For instance, Los Angeles has some amazing restaurants and bars but only the locals know about them. Stepping off the usual tourist path provides you with a full and unique experience of the place you're visiting.