From Newcastle to New Zealand: how an unadventurous introvert became a slow traveller

You don’t have to be a backpacker, hiker or snowboarder to be a ‘real’ traveller.

I admit it: I love luxury. I want my trips to be a cut above the life I have at home. For those who prefer to be a cut below, whether communing with nature in a tent or bedding down with snorers and late-nighters in a shared dorm, I get you – but I don’t want to be you.

As the American travel writer Paul Theroux said, “better to go first class than to arrive.” That’s me. Now that I’ve left my student days and penny-pinching youth behind, it’s time for a life of creature comforts. And I’ve never been remotely adventurous. I prefer to chill. I remember reading an article about a local champion yachtsman, who said that he often looked across at the hordes brunching and drinking lattes at the waterfront cafes, thinking how that was his idea of hell. I’d be one of those brunchers, thinking exactly the same about what he was doing.

Coconut Lands owner Carole Edwards pictured in a street in Italy

My blog therefore focuses on slow travel – the laid-back kind. You won’t find articles about mountain climbing, white water rafting or skydiving. You won’t find camping either, though you might find glamping.

Why Coconut Lands? Well, I grew up in an urban area of northern England called Tyneside, once known for heavy industries such as shipbuilding and steel-making. A shy introvert and home-loving girl, I first travelled abroad aged 16, on a school trip – and discovered a different world of hot sun, turquoise sea and palm trees. Living close to a coal mine and a large coke works, this was just about as different from my home environment as you could get. That holiday – to Magaluf, of all places – gave me the bug.

Ever since then, I’ve enjoyed travelling and escaping to exotic, colourful places that are very different from my cool northern hemisphere background. I know how lucky I am to be able to experience this, so the purpose of my blog is to share. I want to convey the sights, smells and feel of a place, to help readers feel that they are actually there.

I started the store after finding it almost impossible to get hold of island-style resort wear and accessories that I love, without having to import them from Hawaii, at huge cost. My aim is to bring the laid-back joy and colour of island time to everyday life in the UK.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Coconut Lands. Please leave comments and feel free to share your own stories. And if there are any products you’d like us to offer that we don’t already, please let me know. You can write to me at

Carole Edwards, Founder, Coconut Lands
McKinley Kidd Travel Writing Award winner

ps: we’re on TripAdvisor! Our reviews are so valued and on point that they are often quoted in publicity material for the businesses we evaluate.