Kate Richardson-Walsh's Traveller's Tale
Kate Richardson-Walsh made both her England and Great Britain debuts in 1999 and has since gone on to play at the full range of international tournaments including four Summer Olympics, four Hockey World Cups and four Commonwealth Games. She became the most capped female in Great Britain on Saturday 20 February 2016 during test matches in Australia.
In 2016 Kate captained the women’s hockey team to their first gold medal at an Olympics. The team was undefeated throughout the tournament, beating the Netherlands in the final on penalties. Kate was selected to be the Team GB flag bearer at the closing ceremony for the Rio Olympics. After 375 appearances for her country, 19 medals, 49 goals and 13 years as GB and England Captain, Kate confirmed her retirement from International hockey after the Rio Olympic Games.
Dom Reilly was lucky enough to catch up with Kate to get insight into her thoughts on travel and life...
What's your favourite holiday destination and why?
That’s a tricky one! My wife and I love to travel, narrowing it down to one place is tough. I’m going to say Japan. A fascinating country, fabulous culture and people and delicious food!
Where in the world would you like to go that you haven’t been already?
I would love to go to Costa Rica. I have some family that live there and I hear it is stunning.
What’s your preferred mode of transport?
I enjoy train journeys but you can’t beat the freedom of driving. Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in California is one of my fondest travel memories.
What do you always travel with?
I always travel with my cashmere eye mask! If I’ve got that on I can sleep anywhere!
What's your top tip to beat jet lag?
Jet lag can be really disorientating. Try and get into the time zone you’re travelling to on the flight. Drink plenty of fluids and take naps if you need to.
If you had to give one piece of advice when setting off on a trip, what would it be?
Pack a few must haves in your carry on bag...just in case your hold luggage goes astray! When on hockey tour I’d pack my mouthguard in my hang luggage as it’s the most difficult thing to replace!
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment has been representing my country. I feel very lucky to have seen the game of hockey go through massive transition over my 17 year international career, travel the world, make some lifelong friends and be a part of creating something very special with the GB women’s hockey squad.
Who has been your greatest influencer?
My greatest influencer is my family. They understand me and support my growth. They have always been there for me and have given me the greatest gifts of love and freedom.
It’s often said that life’s a journey – all be it a one-way ticket. If you could return as one thing or one person, what or whom would that be and why?
I would return as a bird. To travel the world and see everything from above. Swooping down whenever I saw something of interest!
Which is your favourite country to compete in?
My favourite country to compete in is the UK! I have the best memories of winning our bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and winning European Gold in 2015. The crowd is always electric in London and the volunteers are extra special. We certainly know how to put on a good show!
What is your proudest moment?
Standing on top of the podium, singing the national anthem alongside my teammates in Rio with gold medals hanging around our necks was a proud and emotional moment. It felt like every up and down of the last 17 years flashed before my eyes.
What do you do on your time off?
In my time off I like to explore! I love exploring London and all of its treasures. My favourite place to visit is the Victoria & Albert Museum. There is so much to see in there and there are always great exhibitions on. You can never be bored of the V&A.
Who (living or not) would make the most interesting dinner table guests? (Table of 8)
Well I’d definitely have my wife Helen at the dinner! The other guests would include, Barack and Michelle Obama, Whitney Houston, Emmeline Pankhurst, Ellen Degeneres, Dame Judy Dench and Sir Alex Ferguson.
What is the most memorable gift that you have ever been given?
My most memorable gift was my surprise 30th birthday trip to Paris with my wife Helen!
What is your advice for balancing work and family life?
Balancing work and personal life is hard. For Helen and I playing hockey in the same team meant that we brought work home with us every day. I think the key to finding balance is giving yourself personal time and space to be with your own thoughts. Even if it’s only 10 minutes or half an hour it can make a real difference every day.
Who is the most interesting person that you have sat next to on a plane?
I went travelling around the world alone in 2014 and sat next to a Californian architect. They were so passionate and spoke so enthusiastically about their work and architecture generally you couldn’t help but be absorbed. When we travelled with the hockey team we always sat in alphabetical order! I went from being a ‘W’ to an ‘R’ after I married my wife and teammate Helen!
Quick fire questions
Fry up or cereal?
Coffee of tea?
Champagne or beer?
Sand or snow?
Sea or swimming pool?
Football or rugby ball?
Smart or casual?
Shoes or trainers?
Newspaper or tablet?
Novel or movie?
Thanks so much Kate!
Kate now travels with a Dom Reilly purse and travel wallet.