Haven uncovers the person behind the “mum” tag. Sometimes it’s hard to remember who you were BC (before children) and with less time for you now that you have a family in tow, reconnect with us.


Belinda Layt // Director of travel at Focus Travel Indochina and mum to Jesse (16) and Annabelle Rose (12) with husband Stewart.


Tell us a little about your role.

I prepare personal holiday itineraries for families and groups wishing to travel to Indochina. Together we create unique travel experiences and plan your memorable tailor-made holiday.

This is Me_Belinday Layt 2The focus of my business is Indochina: the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (Burma).  I have personally travelled through each country so have extensive knowledge of the attractions and highlights, both popular and on the ‘road less travelled’!


What is your favourite travel destination and why?

One of Asia’s most beautiful secrets – gentle and enigmatic Laos. This mountainous landscape is interwoven with forests and plateaus and has the Mekong River running through the length of this small landlocked country. I love how it is so easy to immerse yourself in Laos’ languid charm – the unspoilt national parks, waterways and waterfalls of Southern Laos, plus the divine food and culture in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


How about your favourite dinner? (And cooking doesn’t have to be up to you!)

I love grilled seafood with a large salad – this is my kind of delicious meal!  A gluten-free treat for dessert is always a wonderful way to end a meal.


You’ve got a day to yourself – how do you spend it?

A long walk by the beach, a delicious lunch with friends including some bubbly, a massage and some beauty therapy round off the day perfectly!


Last time you read a personal development article? What was it about?

A friend of mine, Marnie Drummond sent me a beautiful and thoughtful gift, her first book, Embrace Your Journey, A-Z Insights to a Fulfilling Life.  It is full of beautiful imagery and meaningful, inspirational words.  This is perfect to help me reaffirm positive moments and find joy every day.


Do you exercise when travelling? How do you incorporate exercise into a busy itinerary?

Exercise is easy when travelling as I incorporate it into every day’s events.  An early morning stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam is a perfect start to the day and ideal to enjoy the calm mood before the bustling city awakes!


What’s the funniest thing you’ve experienced in your travels?

In 1992, I had a photo with Flea from the band Red Hot Chilli Peppers at Vancouver Airport, Canada without realising who he was!


How did you get the travel bug, and how did you turn it into a career?

At 23 I ventured overseas and spent over two years living and working in Europe.  I was fortunate to train as a European tour guide and had the incredible opportunity to visit most European cities 11 times. Being able to share the joy of travel with others instilled an appreciation and true love of exploration and travel.




haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.