Forms of identification: Sarina Singh
Sarina Singh (front) on her first solo backpacking trip, aged 19. Felucca, Nile River, Egypt.
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Sarina Singh
Title/bio: Lonely Planet Author; journalist
Twitter/website: @sarina_singh, www.sarinasingh.com
Born in: Fiji (moved to Australia very shortly after)
Currently living in: Australia (mostly)
1) Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you'd most like to go on a trip with:
There are two: (a) Albert Einstein - for his lateral scientific and philosophical perspectives of the world: "I have no special talent; I am only passionately curious," said he. Curious travellers take roads less travelled, says I. (b) Julian Assange - because the magic formula to magical travel is strapping yourself in, taking the plunge and delving deep, deep, deeper. Whoooosh.
2) Best person you've had to sit next to while travelling:
Many years ago in Islamabad (Pakistan) I struck up a conversation with a weapons dealer who later arranged my meeting with a Mujahedeen warlord at his clandestine headquarters near the Afghanistan border. The meeting resulted in a series of newspaper articles... and, more significantly, multi-dimensional avenues of exploration later in my life.
3) Material things you miss the most when away from home:
a) The car and my '80s music - I'm more inclined to be a driver than a passenger. And I'm unashamedly stuck in the (awesome) 80s. b) My mint green coffee cup (with the twisty tangerine handle). For sentimental reasons.
4) Most unique souvenir:
A seer's words, in Old Delhi, that proved to radically change the direction of my life journey.
5) Best celebrity encounter while travelling:
A languid brunch with Jeremy Irons, in the leafy courtyard of a grand palace in Rajasthan, India. PS: We nattered (largely about travel) over hot masala chai and chilled pink guavas. PPS: Blimey, can that man carry off a white cotton kurta (Indian-style long shirt) with aplomb!
6) The place you don't want anyone to know about but are willing to divulge here:
A Portuguese-style cottage in northern Goa, India, which I stayed at for six glorious months. The balcony, which doubled as my sleep-under-the-stars bedroom, was so close to the beach that I could almost dip my toes in the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. So where exactly is it? Over there, sandwiched between that sun-warmed crescent of sugar-white sand and the breezy bright green coconut grove... Sorry, it stays a secret. For just a little bit longer *insert smiley emoticon*.
7) Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
Travel solo for an extended period of time. It will take you on a journey that dares you to see the world - and your place in it - with brave new eyes. And, along the way, you'll become intimately acquainted with the most complex (and mystifying) person you're ever likely to meet: yourself.