Joanne Wheeler

Joanne Wheeler

Senior Travel Specialist

Having started working for Regent Holidays in 1986, I have seen many changes to the destinations that we visit and I have loved seeing unknown countries evolve into thriving, cultural gems. I still recall my first work trip as a young 18 year old, walking by foot across the Yugoslav border into Albania - a country which was barely discovered in my teens. Back then Albania didn’t allow individual travellers, men were not allowed to have beards or wear shorts and Americans were not allowed entry at all. What I saw totally captivated me; the people were so friendly and to this day Albania is still a real favourite of mine.

Russia also holds dear and I have been fortunate enough to return many times. Again how things have changed – on my first visit I stayed in a hotel which has since been pulled down as it was deemed too ugly to be located next to the Kremlin. In the early 90s food was quite scarce and I will never forget the waitress who gave me a fabulous glare when I dared not eat the Borscht! This is definitely not a problem in modern-day Russia; Moscow is now awash with private restaurants serving quite delicious food.