A five-minute Q&A with ’04 Athens Paralympian Lara Hollow-Williams

Arrival Gate
5-Minute Q&A with . . .

Who: Lara Hollow-Williams
What: ’04 Athens Paralympian ’05 Deaflympian (athletics), marketing manager Seeing Eye Dogs Qld
Where: Brisbane
Why: Frequent traveller for sport and speaking engagements, has climbed Mt Warning in the dark, never quits, eats bowls of inspiration for breakfast

Favourite childhood holiday memories?
Sailing all around North Queensland on a catamaran with my mum, gran and friends. Island hopping, pulling into inlets for a night, setting up a fire on the beach, my gran chasing peacocks!

Best travel tip you ever heard?
I’m on the list for a Seeing Eye Dog and I heard a rumour that when travelling with your dog you get upgraded to first class! I’m not sure if that’s true though. If not: hint hint.

What do you always leave behind in a hotel room?
I leave it as tidy as possible. Am I weird?

One thing you can’t leave home without?
Camera. I have tunnel vision and my camera allows me to see more than with the naked eye. My loved ones find it so interesting to learn about my vision through my photos, because I see everything so differently due to my vision impairment.

Most common thing left at home?
Nothing, I’m an annoying double-checker.

Malcolm Fraser moment? [ie, locked out of hotel room without pants, had to go to front desk in underwear.]
I locked my roommate into our room at a training camp in Germany prior to the ’04 Paralympics. She was late to her training session, but another teammate walked past our room and helped her climb out the window. I felt so bad because I didn’t even know she was in our room when I left!

Favourite moment: takeoff or landing?
Landing, with the loud noise rushing through you.

Worst flight?
Coming home from Athens via Singapore and Sydney. I always get sick after a competition and I was very sick this time with shocking sinusitis. I had to push my fists into my jaw, mouth and nose because I was in so much pain. As a result of my sickness I got really bad claustrophobia for the first time in my life. When we arrived at Sydney Airport, Prime Minister John Howard and the media were there to welcome us home. I just kept walking and didn’t even see him because I just wanted to get home to Brisbane. On my connecting flight, I ended up sitting next to Alf from Home and Away! He was lovely, but I still want to meet Prime Minister Howard.

Where are you about to go and why?
As I’m losing my sight, seeing the world is a very high priority. I have a fantasy of living in Italy or France for a month and shopping at the local markets and just cooking and relaxing. If I don’t make it to Europe this year I’ll be happy with an international island holiday like Fiji or somewhere like that.

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