Young Thais are drawn by the big city lifestyle
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
1) Where would you rather be right now?
Bobbing in a small boat with my wife and daughter offshore the Pontine Islands.
2) Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you'd most like to go on a trip with:
Alexander the Great covered a ton of ground despite all the fighting and the fact he travelled by foot or on horseback. I'd love to see what he could do with a car or a plane and a smartphone - and without constantly waging war.
3) Tourist must-see you think is actually a "must skip":
This isn't going to end well for me, but I'll step out and say it anyway: from colonial times to present day, Boston's always been a wannabe Philly.
4) Best (or worst) person/people you've had to sit next to while travelling:
A half-dozen cigarette smugglers on the night bus between Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria and Istanbul. They likely smoked half their merchandise. Wish they had been dealing in air fresheners.
5) Strangest meal abroad:
I'd say natto in Japan [fermented soybeans], but it's not strange, it's just vile. I'm sure it doesn't like me either.
6) Most unusual item you have travelled with:
Looking back I'd have to say a video camera that recorded to full-size VHS tapes. Shouldn't I have known that one day I wouldn't own a VCR?
7) Coolest mode of transport you've taken:
The New York Waterway taxis are workmanlike rather than cool, but they offer the best views of the city and excellent summer breezes up top. Snowboards in Sapporo are cool on every level.
8) Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
Anything written by Colin Thubron or any movie or book featuring James Bond. A good cookbook, like David Thompson's Thai Street Food or Marcus Samuelsson's Soul of a New Cuisine does it for me, too.
9) The travel story you'll never stop bragging about:
The year my wife and I split time between Paris and a seaside town in southern France.
10) Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
Never make a blanket judgment about a town or a country, because there's always something that'll prove you wrong. Unless you're talking about Boston.