Why do I travel?
Because of an unquenchable thirst for new experiences.
What inspires me to travel?
I love it all. Dreaming, planning, being at airports, seeing new cities at night, meeting people, trying new food, learning a few local words and phrases. It’s all such fun.
What does luxury travel mean to me?
Having someone interesting guide me. You really understand a destination in the company of a good guide. To me that is a luxury.
Favourite travel books, films or documentaries?
I have read On The Road by Jack Kerouac more times than I can remember. Every time I read it I want to travel.
My most memorable travel experience and why?
Bungee jumping in New Zealand with the flu. I felt rotten but jumped anyway.
My most adventurous/thrilling/exciting travel experience?
Driving from West Oxfordshire to Banjul, the Gambia with some friends. Our fleet comprised a 1987 VW Polo, a Volvo Estate circa 1990, and a decommissioned RAF Ambulance complete with gurney and working siren. Travelling deep into the desert in Mauritania with a guide who was Morgan Freeman’s doppelganger was a memory I shall never forget. That siren had a way of turning heads in remote Senegalese villages.
Most memorable wildlife experience?
Can I have three? Trekking to see Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. Close second, watching a large Orca pod in Iceland. Third, a lioness stalking a wildebeest in the Serengeti while her two tiny cubs watched on.
Who is the most interesting person I have met when travelling?
A guy called Jack from County Cork. I met him at a Bia Hoi stand in Hanoi, Vietnam and went on to travel with him for two months. I have never laughed so much.
The trip or experience I still talk about?
Very happy to waffle on about the 3 month’s I spent backpacking through India.
The most remote place I have been to?
Banc d’Arguin National Park, Mauritania. We slept in a large bell tent that was presumably used by local fishermen and had to huddle together for warmth as it was freezing overnight!
The coldest, the hottest, the windiest, the driest, the highest…
Coldest was -15 deg Tallinn, Estonia. Hottest 46 deg Jaipur, India. Windiest = Summit of Catbells, Lake District, Cumbria. Driest – Sahara Desert.
Something I have achieved on a trip that I am proud of?
I did a magnificent hut to hut trek through the highlands of Iceland a few years ago. I am proud that I didn’t get lost despite having the worst sense of direction and a most basic grasp of navigation.
My favourite hotel and why?
Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan because it is comfortably stylish, unpretentious, and in a wonderful location.
My favourite city/town/village/national park/region and why?
The place I want to go back to the most is the region of Svaneti in north-west Georgia to do some trekking. I love Kanha National Park in India, the whole of Sri Lanka, and my favourite big city is Mumbai.
My worst travel experience?
I was mugged at knifepoint in Spain when I was sixteen.
My best piece of travel advice?
Relax and embrace the unexpected.
My one travel essential you can’t leave home without?
In what place am I happiest?
At home with my son.
Nepal and Bhutan