Lost Girl of the Week: Jaime Burnell

Lost Girl of the Week — By on January 5, 2011 at 8:03 am

This week’s Lost Girl, Jaime Burnell, longed for a trip to Disneyland when she was a kid, but instead her parents dragged her through historical and culturally stimulating places, which eventually stuck a cord with Jaime, and fueled her passion for travel. She has since visited several countries, lived out of a suitcase and found love… for travel photography, that is.


I am destined to marry either a Masai tribesman or a pilot. Either way travel will always be my great love and my passport and I have a complicated but intense relationship.

I am perhaps the only person alive who loves airplane food, airports and even checking in for a flight. I’m at the airport hours before take off, not because I’m obsessively early but because I love the anticipation.

When my friends were blowing their student loans on jugs of illuminous cocktails and clothes I was scouring the internet for cheap holiday deals a passion for which I’d developed when I took a year out pre-university to work and travel abroad. As kids our parents dragged us to the Acropolis in Greece and around the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. And while we begged them for a trip to Disneyland or just a beach, it sparked a love for other cultures that I’ve never been able to shake. When I applied for college I ringed everything starting “International” in the brochures, even though this meant I’d considered oil engineering and hotel management just because it would put me a on a plane some day.

I hit South East Asia the month the Asian financial crisis really hit in 1997 meaning my meager savings stretched into much longer than I’d anticipated. Painfully homesick and afraid to venture out of the backpacking streets in Bangkok alone I called home and considered cashing in my ticket home but persevered.

At 19 I had shot two soap commercials in Thailand, taught English in Vietnam and begun a ski season cooking shamefully bad cakes for weary skiers in Italy. I sat on the floor in Milan train station and spun a pencil to pick the next ski resort after the local butcher delivered me a turkey to cook for the chalet guests’ Christmas dinner on a piece of string, still gobbling and looking to me all to aware of its fate. I was NOT going to be its executioner!

I have done all the things you’d tell your daughter not to. Hitchhiked, played poker and lost my shoes from poor card skills, and moved to a job in Singapore for three years with only a suitcase and not knowing a soul but everything is a memory. Through the beautiful things I have seen for work living in Italy, Kenya and Singapore I found a new love: Travel photography. The only thing better than driving into the airport for your next flight is seeing your photo on a billboard next to the arrivals hall.
Working abroad fulfilled some of my dreams but I am on the lookout for the next challenge, more journalism, more rolls of film and that handsome foreign correspondent I swear I am going to meet one day. In the meantime I start my blog in 2011 and that passport needs renewing. Its running out of pages…

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