Photographer and Author Kate Joynes-Burgess was interviewed by Tom Lowe live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s breakfast show last Saturday. It was a great interview – Tom asked Kate about her travels around Belize and her new book Belize A Great Destination Explorer’s Guide published by The Countryman press.
There are 3 days left to listen live on BBC Radio Gloucestershire – After you open link click on Gloucestershire garden funding and go 2h 40 min into the program to hear Kate’s interview.
I have jotted down a few notes from the interview for those of you who do not manage to catch it.
Tom – Why Belize? Where does this love come from?
Kate – Spent last Decade working in Latin American and the Caribbean. Belize brings the Best of both Caribbean and Latin America. In one hand – sun – sea – sand – rhythm – rum – reggae – English speaking with strong links to Caribbean island Jamaica and Barbados. Then you have a whole other side latin side where you can climb a ruin and look at the rainforest – find rich prehispanic history – salsa. Belize gives you all the spice and flavor from both sides of that region.
Tom – Background in Belize before going there.
Kate – I spent the past decade being fascinated by Belize studying history and culture and been to music festivals. I also took an intensive 4-month fact-finding trip got to know all aspects of the country.
Tom – I speak to many people and I don’t think I have ever heard anyone saying we’re going to Belize on Holiday. Is it still fairly off the tourist track at the moment?
Kate – Belize is extremely well known as a scuba destination it’s kind of been that niche especially for European travelers. We are just really starting to expand knowledge of Belize within Europe and UK. Belize is very popular with American Holidaymaker. About 140 thousand go there a year.
What I want to do with this book I want to show that Belize is not just a one-trick pony. It’s not just for water sports even though it has the largest coral reef in the western hemisphere there are so many other attractions. Belize offers it all inland adventure – jungle – hiking in pine forest – cycling – kayaking so much more you can do. In terms of culture, it is extremely rich with lot’s different types of ethnic groups and food and all of those things that come with that.
Tom – Did you do scuba diving yourself?
Kate – I had a try at it- I am more of a snorkeler myself. One amazing experience I had in Belize was snorkeling the blue hole most famous dive site you can do as a snorkeler. You can snorkel around Coral Garden on the outer ring and you have amazing colored fish there. One of the things that has really captivated me about Belize is the color that you get there – especially on this January day I look back at my photos and think wow what an amazing exciting place.
Tom- Where did the idea for this guidebook come from? Why did you want to put this together?
Kate – I really wanted this opportunity to write the whole book – my first venture as a solo author. Belize is so diverse has this amazing cultural history and beautiful nature. I really to wanted to tell Belize’s story and share amazing those experiences I have had to help other people find their own Belizean Adventure.
Tom – What was the one highlight when you were there?
Kate – For me there was so many special memories – so many – swimming with sea turtles – birdwatching at dawn on a Mayan temple – drumming festival down south dancing all night and eating street food – so many experiences and sensations it is hard to sum up in one single experience.
Other works by Kate include – BBC News Website: Mexico’s Copper Canyon railway – BBC News website: Mexico’s butterflies – BBC News website: Chile indigenous politics on the move – Travel+Leisure: Nicaraguan Retreats and Revelations -Travel+Leisure: Green Guide to Santiago – Travel+Leisure: Three Flavours of Veracruz – BBC News website: Passion of Christ comes alive in Mexico City – Time Out: Mexico City and the Best of Mexico December 2008 – Life&Style magazine: Andy Palacio Puts Belize on the Map, March 2008 – Travel+Leisure: La Riviera Alternativa, November 2008
All pics below are copywritten Kate Joynes-Burgess.