Forms of identification: Richard Grant
Author Richard Grant in the lower Omo Valley, Ethiopia.
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Name: Richard Grant
Title/bio: Author, journalist, presenter of the BBC documentary American Nomads, and current documentarian of tribal life in Ethiopia
Born in: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Currently living in: Pluto, Mississippi
1. Where would you rather be right now?
The Mississippi Delta, my newly adopted home, rather than this west London suburb where I grew up.
2. Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
Tom Waits, unless he was in a bad mood. Orson Welles if he was buying dinner.
3. Tourist must-see you think is actually a “must skip”:
4. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
Getting chased through the woods at night by Mexican hillbillies who wanted to kill me. For more, you’ll need to read my book Bandit Roads.
5. Best (or worst) person/people you’ve had to sit next to while travelling:
A big, flatulent Siberian woman on a train in Russia’s far east. She beat her kids in front of me. Her body odour made my eyes water. She got drunk on vodka and puked on the floor of the sleeper compartment. Seven hours to go...
6. Strangest meal abroad:
Barbecued camel meat in Nairobi. It tasted like a bad drain.
7. If someone was visiting your town, what’s the one thing you’d show them?
A Chinese grocery in Mississippi, where the Chinese owners talk with deep southern drawls.
8. Most unique souvenir:
A carved wooden stool, which is also used as a pillow by members of the Kara tribe in southern Ethiopia. It smells of goat fat and red earth, which is to say it smells of Africa.
9. Most unusual item you have travelled with:
A tanned bull’s scrotum, given to me by a drug dealer in northern Mexico as a good-luck charm.
10. Coolest mode of transport you’ve taken:
A dugout canoe on the Zambezi River or a lowrider 1964 Chevy Supersport in east Los Angeles.
11. Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
Lonesome Dove. It makes me want to pack my saddle bags and ride from South Texas to Montana in 1882. Or the nearest modern equivalent.
13. Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
You are a fool. I hope you learn this gently.