Award Winning travel writers and broadcasters Jon Holmes and Antonia Windsor have made a funny, entertaining and informative podcast guide to all things Saint Lucia. Here, presenter and producer Jon shares how the podcast came to be made.
When I was nine, my Grandmother went on holiday to Eastbourne on the south coast of England. She travelled by bus, with her friend Mrs Bennett, and brought back a gift for me in the shape of a stick of rock. In late 1970s Nuneaton in the UK, this magical, brightly coloured, tooth-breaking sweet baton was considered the best gift. We had never seen such a thing before and I immediately longed to visit ‘Eastbourne’ to enjoy everything it had to offer. Not least because Grandma and Mrs Bennett had had a wonderful time. Fast forward some (ok, quite a few) years and I want you to think of me as Grandma but instead of Eastbourne it’s Saint Lucia and, rather than a stick of rock, we’ve bought you back a magical, brightly coloured podcast.
Why Make a Podcast?
Both Antonia and I have been to Saint Lucia several times as travel writers for the likes of The Telegraph and The Times. When I’m not writing I’m producing and presenting audio programmes.
Late last year, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority looked beyond the glossy marketing brochures to other ways to appeal to travellers weaned on an online diet of shareability and content, looking for inspiration and entertainment. The answer is staring you in the ears: podcasting. And SLTA are ahead of the pack.
7.5 million people in the UK now listen to podcasts each week – an increase of 24% over the past year alone. And so, in late 2019, we hatched a plan with SLTA. Of course, none of us were to know just what major upheaval was coming, but timing is everything and the good news was that our podcast documentary release schedule aligned with the moment when you might just need a bit of escapism the most. Allow us to inspire you, as Jon and Antonia Take On The World: Saint Lucia.
It’s fair to say that when all of this is over, you’ll be aching to get away somewhere; and it’s our job to tell you that that somewhere should be the Caribbean’s most incredible island.
From rainforests to beaches to mountains and music via the freshest fish and the punchiest rum, we have produced a podcast series of five episodes to take in all that the amazing island of Saint Lucia has to offer. We broke the series down into themes: Art and Culture, Wildlife and Nature, Food and Drink, Adventure and Adrenaline and, after all the rum and the rainforest canopy ziplining, a much-needed Wellness and Relaxation episode. We gathered up our recording equipment and, with an itinerary mapped out by SLTA, we headed for paradise.
We Met the Best People.
From fishermen in Laborie who’d worked the waves for all of their lives (they tried to teach us to blow a conch shell to announce the catch, the results in the Food and Drink ep, speak for themselves) to wildlife guide Vision, who took us on a deep dive into nature within the island forests. We then took a relatively shallow one as we went ‘snuba’ diving off the coast of Pigeon Island also in the North, rode horses into the waves, shopped in busy markets, set sail on a sunset cruise, went mountain biking in the hills, drank a couple of Pitons overlooking the same and tried our hand at steel pan and Dennery segment.
And through it all we pointed our microphones everywhere to capture the bubbling sounds of hot springs, beautiful birdsong, bustling beach bars and restaurants, markets, wildlife, music, and above all the authentic voices and laughter of Saint Lucia’s wonderful people. In total we spent six days on the island with barely a moment of downtime as we drove its length and breadth (not to mention straight into the caldera of the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano) to record everything – including my awkward breathing as Antonia persuaded me to try sunrise yoga overlooking Marigot Bay.
A Holiday For Your Ears
Back in the UK we went through the hours and hours of footage, recorded voiceovers and disappeared into the edit for a couple of weeks, finally emerging with what we think is a unique mix of travelogue and entertainment. In fact, we think you’ll become so wrapped up in it all, that you’ll forget this is a ‘brochure’ at all.
These are strange times. We can’t travel at the moment, but we invite you to do the next best thing and put the world in your ears. Have a listen, and when this is all over, I guarantee you that Saint Lucia will be your destination of choice. For the record, however, I still haven’t been to Eastbourne. I wonder if they’d like a podcast?
Jon and Antonia Take On The World: Saint Lucia is available on Apple, Spotify, Deezer, Acast.. or wherever you get your podcasts.