Drumroll please….It’s time to reveal our mystery guest blogger! Please put your hands together for my friend and irrepressible adventurer, Amanda Quayle. If you were puzzled by her photos posted on Sweet Little Something it might have been because she is on the move around Europe and they were taken in two different countries. Why? How? You’ll have to read her answers below to find out what on earth and where on earth she is up to.


But, before you do, let me give my version of an introduction. The first thing to learn about Amanda is just how curious she is. Now, I am curious (so much so one of my nicknames is George. Get it?) but Amanda actually, unbelievably, out-questions me. It’s worse, I think, if she likes you. So if you meet her in person I am warning you – it’s like a strangely pleasant and rigorous interrogation session with the FBI. Other than her salient curiosity Amanda is also genuine, upfront, generous and kind. She remembers things you said five years ago, your Mum’s name, probably even your shoe size. She’s unfailingly loyal. She’s insanely organised. No truly, insanely. She’s crazy-fun and full of beans and self-aware and ambitious. She’s going to hate me for quoting Katy Perry but honestly, this girl is a firework. We met in Macau, China, when we were both working for big business. We became firm friends fast; quickly realizing we shared the same brand of curiosity and restlessness, the same love of food and dislike for small talk. Amanda Quayle is a seriously good human. You are really going to like her.



So, Amanda, tell us more about who you are and where you are:

I’m an Aussie gal with an insatiable curiosity about the world. I’ve earned a reputation for asking too many questions, my husband often responds with “Google it honey”. {ahem, see, I told you!} I’m the daughter of a diplomat, which may explain my early love affair with travel. I grew up in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing and work has led me to live in London, Cambodia and Macau. My favourite place on this little planet is Tulum, Mexico for its gorgeous beaches, smiling faces, fresh seafood and cheap beer!

I adore peonies but I’m allergic to flowers, I hate destructive vandalism but like colourful wall graffiti (sans vulgarities). I enjoy cold lagers, love all kinds of stinky, rich, creamy cheeses and I think the best aromas are freshly baked bread and brewed coffee when they occur simultaneously. We’ve been living in Vienna for 5 weeks and in one week we move to Tarragona, Spain.


And, finally, tell us why are you there? (and why not us too?! sob sob…)

My ever so talented husband, Skip, is the head chef of Cirque Du Soleil’s travelling big top show called Kooza. We’re travelling around Europe experiencing a wave of firsts and unknowns. I’m also taking this opportunity to fulfill my dream as a travel writer. I tend to fill up my friends and families inboxes with travel emails, so instead I have started a blog about my travels called Graze the Earth.


What do circus performers eat?

Everything! The performers hail from all over the globe and they have varied food preferences. The chef’s are seriously creative and do their best to cater the cuisine to suit different cultures by having themed meals. Recently they made a Mexican brunch with delicious pork and chorizo burritos, churros with chocolate and custard dipping sauce and scrambled eggs with peppers and spicy salsa (just to name a few of the dishes)!

Certain items feature every meal on the buffet line; hot seasonal vegetables, rice, fresh soup, bread and cheese along with an extensive salad bar with all kinds of fruit and vegetables. There’s always a few protein options like Pork a l’orange, roast lamb or salmon with pineapple salsa that I had yesterday – delightful! The chef’s make two desserts and if you don’t want those you can have one of the many flavoured yoghurts. It’s a very impressive choice of food on offer.


Best and worst bits about travelling and living away from home?

Best bits – marveling at historical buildings that are unlike anything we have in Australia. Learning idiosyncrasies of new cultures, grazing on small plates of food and sampling local lagers.

Worst bits – missing out on long lunches with friends, river camping on long weekends and the challenged of trying to navigate a new country.


Where and how do you live during touring?

We live in hotels or apartments depending on the proximity of accommodation to the performance site. When staying in hotels we have our own room and when we are in an apartment we need to share with another Cirque team member. I was talking to some Cirque staff this morning about pro’s and con’s of living in a hotel and we all agreed that a pro was living with your friends so you can drink together at the hotel lobby and a con was living with your friends so you end up drinking at the hotel lobby!


What can you just not travel without?

My hubby! He makes me laugh every day of my life. His perspectives about situations, places or people make me review the world and challenge me to think about things differently. Our personalities are completely different, he’s valium, relaxed, quick-witted and open-minded. I’m speed, my brain is on a constant roller coaster of thoughts with an artillery of questions. We balance each other nicely.




Favourite while-travelling meals and why?

My favourite travelling meals are a ham and cheese toastie/bagel/brioche or a grilled chicken salad – boring but true! There comes a time when your taste buds and tummy draw the line on trying anymore new foods and crave the simplicity of a homely meal.


Your husband’s top dish, in your opinion?

He makes a mean mushroom, asparagus, chicken and bacon risotto. In fact I love his risotto so much I won’t even order it when we eat out as I’m usually underwhelmed given it pales in comparison. I feel incredibly fortunate that I have a husband who will call at lunchtime and ask what I want for dinner. I can reply – a spicy lamb curry with eggplant and potatoes – and it’s exactly what I get.


Finish the sentence: “I just won’t eat…..”

Shark fin soup. I don’t condone the cruel methods in this form of fishing.


If I can only pack three books in my suitcase which three should I take and why?

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It has one of my all time favourite characters, Prabaker.

April Fool’s Day by Bryce Courtney. It’s raw, painfully personal and insightful.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. A gripping tale about the Mt Everest disaster in 1996.


What you have learnt about yourself on this adventure, so far?

That I can keep myself entertained! There was some concern from family and friends (ok and me too) that I would be bored in a week, but I haven’t at all! Having the freedom to choose what you want with your time is liberating. And I certainly don’t choose to be bored when there is so much to see and do.


Person you are most inspired by?

My friend Hugh Evans, CEO and co-founder of Global Poverty Project. His unwavering commitment to reduce poverty in the world is admirable. He inspires me to be a better human.


What do hope to be able to share with us while you’re writing at Fork and Fiction?

I’m so excited about being able to share my thoughts with the readers of Fork and Fiction – thanks to my dear friend Hannah for suggesting I contribute and to Ria for her trust in letting me guest blog on your wonderful site. I hope readers will be able to escape their world temporarily and visualize the places I go and people I meet.


And, the way we always end our interviews – Sum up your life right now in three words:

Opportunity. Exploration. Transient.


Thrilled to have Amanda on board so we can travel vicariously through her posts. Europe, here we come! Can’t wait for photos of food and cities, people and plates; learning about circus life and being on the move. Please join me in welcoming her by leaving a little note or posting a question for her to answer. She deserves a few questions thrown her way, given the number I’ve answered at two a.m. over a bottle of something getting less cold. Help me pay her back.

Welcome to Fork and Fiction, Amanda Quayle; we are so glad to have you.

HUGS, Hannah x