Five places that changed my life: Adam Armstrong, managing director Silversea Cruises, Australia and New Zealand


I grew up in the UK and had childhood holidays in Greece. I have memories of being on the beach with my four brothers, of swimming and snorkelling, of sunny warm times. Now I go back pretty much every year, despite living in Australia. It might be the people, food, climate, landscape and maybe just the totality, but it's the place where I am most happy. We go to the island of Folegandros. It has no airport; you get there by ferry. It filters out a lot of people as it's a bit of an effort to go. That's our happy place. Every year, we stay at the same little hotel.


That was where I went on my first cruise as a teenager. I went with my uncle. He wanted to go and he's unmarried, no kids, so I rapidly volunteered. I was always destined to work in the travel industry because I just loved it. I wanted to be a pilot but unfortunately my eyesight was not good enough. So, pilot dream dashed, that trip planted the cruising seed. Alaska is a stunning part of the world, best seen by sea. I'll always remember standing on the deck in Glacier Bay, looking at the Grand Pacific Glacier. It is so huge, it seemed metres away but in fact was kilometres away. The scale changed my perspective on the world.


I went there about five years ago, as my best friend who is a doctor was doing medical training there. We had time together travelling around. It was an experience of two contrasts: first the human aspect, visiting the genocide sites which showed the potential madness of humankind. It was confronting and harrowing but important to do. Sobering and life affirming. On the flip side, we trekked with gorillas in the rainforest and that was just earth shattering. We were in the forest, just about to leave, looking at our cameras, comparing shots and a mother gorilla came and sat a metre in front of us, showing off her baby. It was one of those thrilling moments of my life.


I took far too long to go there. It's spectacular. It is paradise and I could go back again and again and probably will. What it demonstrated to me is that you really don't need much to have a good time: good food, friendly people, stunning scenery, a bit of exercise. There is no mobile reception there and I found that a boon. As I get older in this frantic world, I am looking for escape. I found it here. There was not much going on, no rush because there was nowhere to rush to. Peace and paradise.


My love affair with Norway started as a kid. The schools in the northeast of England would send you to Norway to learn to ski in a town called Voss. Then as a young adult working in the cruise industry, we did a few cruises through the fjords and I started to see it in summer. Since then I have spent time in Oslo through combinations of work and holiday. Oslo is an underrated city and the Norwegians could teach us a thing or two about work/life balance. They work hard nine to five but then the are out of there and with their families, sailing in the fjords, enjoying life. I liked to think I'd apply it in my own life but it hasn't happened yet.

Originally from England, Adam Armstrong started his career at TUI Travel and the Carnival Corporation, and prior to taking up his post with Silversea, was the associate vice-president and managing director for Royal Caribbean in Australia & New Zealand. See