Meet Desa, Owner of Fieldtrip
Desa Thomsen burst onto Hawke's Bay's tourism scene in late 2017, when she launched her private and bespoke touring business, Fieldtrip. Hailing from Central Hawke's Bay, the young entrepreneur offers a distinct perspective on the region she calls home, delving into the hidden gems and taking visitors with her to discover the best Hawke's Bay has on offer.
This year, F.A.W.C! is delighted to have Desa join the family with her exciting debut event, 'Behind Closed Doors'. We sat down with Desa to chat all things Fieldtrip, and what you can expect from her F.A.W.C! event this June.
Welcome to the F.A.W.C! family, Desa! We’re excited to have you involved in F.A.W.C! this year. Can you tell us about yourself?
Hi, thanks for welcoming me in! I like to consider myself a real local, born and bred here in Hawke’s Bay. I grew up on a farm in rural Central Hawke’s Bay, so always joke that now I live in the big smoke up near Napier. Like lots of Kiwi’s, I was keen to get out and see more of this amazing world, so started the work/travel thing in 2008, coming and going from New Zealand over that time. It was only at the end of 2017 that I decided I might be ready to try moving home a little more permanently. From my time spent in Canada, South America, Europe and Aussie, I still considered NZ home.
Throughout this time I have always worked in hospitality and tourism; its an industry that has allowed me a lot of freedom. From mountain hotels in Canada, seaside hostels in Ecuador to Queensland Resorts and local cafes and cellar doors, I like to think I’ve given it all a go. Through all this, I have become passionate about wine and food, so am extremely lucky to call this foodie heaven that is Hawke’s Bay, home.
You run a relatively new business in Hawke’s Bay - Fieldtrip. Where did the idea for your venture come about?
The concept of Fieldtrip slowly crept up on me as I was traveling and then upon my return to New Zealand in 2017. I have always been passionate about Hawke's Bay, and wanted to be able to share that passion with visitors to the area. I saw a gap for small, personal and relaxed style tours, that cater specifically to each visitor’s interest. I want people to feel like they are out on a road trip with a friend - it’s about having a conversation and sharing perspectives and our different lives with each other set to the backdrop of Hawke’s Bay.
It’s clear you’re a passionate Hawke’s Bay local, who is all about finding local hidden gems that make Hawke’s Bay so great. Is this something that can be expected on your tours?
Absolutely, I love getting off the beaten track and showing visitors a side of Hawke’s Bay that they may not have expected or hadn’t seen advertised. We are spoilt for choice around here, from amazing food and drink venues to incredible scenery. I’ve taken people second-hand shopping, swimming, bush walking, ice-cream hunting, and fresh produce exploring. I also have a soft spot for my childhood home, Central Hawkes Bay. I offer a great day out down there discovering what I consider to be a super authentic version of rural Hawke’s Bay. I try my best to keep on top of new things happening and get out and about to explore myself, it’s a tough job…
What’s been a highlight(s) for you so far with Fieldtrip?
100% meeting all the amazing people I get to take on tours. I love being back in Hawke’s Bay, but do get the urge for an overseas adventure sometimes, so meeting and spending a few hours with people from all over the globe helps me alleviate some of the wanderlust. Favourite moments are: winemakers casually coming over for a chat, quick pit stops at the beach to cool off, and the always exciting drive up Te Mata Peak, hearing peoples delight as the view is revealed…
Switching gears to F.A.W.C!, what drew you to host an event this year?
Working within hospitality and tourism in Hawke’s Bay over the years, I have been involved in many different F.A.W.C! events at many different locations. I was excited that this year I could offer my own event. Doing a tour is a little different, but a great opportunity for people to experience more than one venue and take in the area as we explore around. F.A.W.C! is also a great opportunity for people to learn more about Fieldtrip and what I offer as a business.
What can F.A.W.C!ers expect from your event ‘Behind Closed Doors’?
So, I’m super excited to be working with two amazing small wine producers, Daniel from Decibel Wines and John and William Hancock from Hancock & Sons. These guys have put their faith in me, and opened their homes to F.A.W.C!ers to get a real behind the scenes wine experience. We will get to sit with these interesting and talented wine makers and have a conversation about what they do, and of course try the wine. It’s a super intimate setting and an opportunity to see behind the bottle on the shelf and share some of the passion they bring to the table.
The other highlight is you have a driver! So, you can sit back and enjoy the amazing Hawke’s Bay scenery as we move from stop to stop. I will also be chatting about the area, history, geography and places of interest to give people a real sense of this amazing part of New Zealand. We may have a short history with wine, but it’s a very interesting one, with our many sub-climates and, of course, the famous Gimblett Gravels - there is loads to learn about.
I hope that by the end of the day our little group will still have lots to chat about, so visiting a great local spot to have one more wine and some delicious food will round out the day.