Arresting tales of travelling the world

FAR-FLUNG:  Sally Wootton with her new book
Sally Wootton with her new book
AN Exeter detective used to tackling serious crime has instead been dodging huge spiders, narrowly avoiding a tsunami and encountering the global drug trade.

In her new book "Same Same But Different", Sally Wootton, 36, who lives in Exmouth, also dives into the oceans of Indonesia, swims with dolphins in New Zealand and rides camels across Australia.

The exotic tales of her travels across the world, from Southeast Asia to Greenland and Colombia are in contrast to her gritty role as a detective constable with Devon and Cornwall Police, where she has been based for nearly a decade.

Ms Wootton is working in the child protection unit and her previous roles have included being based at Tiverton CID from October 2009 to June last year.

"Travelling is my passion and my escape," she said. "I love my job and it is extremely fulfilling but travelling gives me the freedom that I love and the opportunity to experience so many different cultures and cross paths with people I would ordinarily never meet."
She began travelling aged 17, with the British School's Exploring Society on an adventure to Greenland.

"That would mould the rest of my life," she said. "I had never even been on a plane before, yet I was skiing across the unchartered territory of the snowfields of a remote landscape, with people I had met only weeks before.

"Since then, I have travelled across Canada in a motor home, dived the oceans of Indonesia and the Middle East and been camel riding in Australia.

"I've learned about the devastation of the drug trade while living with locals across Colombia and been humbled by the happiness of people, with so little, across Southeast Asia. I've had an amazing time and gathered numerous tales."

Sally said she hopes her book will entertain fellow globetrotters and also inspire budding travellers.

"I have learned to travel on a budget, to make the most of every opportunity and, where possible, to stay with local families or small, family-run businesses to really experience as much as I can from every place I explore," she said. "I get so passionate about advocating the rewards of experiencing new cultures, meeting people in the most bizarre circumstances and doing things you never thought you'd get to do. Writing is the best way to share them.
"It's not meant to be a guide book or offer definitive advice about how to travel. It's simply a really honest, down-to-earth account of my experiences, as a relatively experienced traveller."

She said: "Every place has been amazing but for different reasons. I seem to suffer a lot of bad luck when I travel and I've been mugged, spat on, had stitches in my leg after a motorbike accident and lost more valuables than I can count.

"I was on the east coast of Thailand when the tsunami hit the west coast in 2004 and I thankfully escaped it.

"The good experiences have outweighed the bad and there have been many funny moments at my expense, including embarrassing myself in front of strangers in Australia by freaking out over a huge spider and performing a monumental cartwheel when I lost my balance skiing in Greenland."

Sally's parents Jim and Kath are particularly proud at her being chosen by a publisher, after she spent a yearn painstakingly writing her book.

Her sister Billie Sharp, a graphic designer, designed the cover and layout, while police colleagues have also been "amazingly supportive" too.

She is considering a sequel, having trekked the Inca Trail in Peru last year and looking forward to climbing Kilimanjaro.

And skills required in her day job, such as personal responsibility and dedication have helped with her writing, she says. "Being a detective is about providing a service to other people and trying to do the best you can, to get justice for victims of crime," she said. "It's about being driven but in a different way from writing, because writing is so much more individual."

Same Same, But Different, is available at online book stores including Waterstones and Amazon and from the publisher at