Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
Title/bio: co-founder of Travelfish.org
Twitter/website: @Travelfish | Travelfish.org
Born in: Melbourne, Australia
Currently living in: Bali, Indonesia
1. Where would you rather be right now?
Somewhere comfortably warm, out of phone range and probably with my
feet in the water
2. Famous person (dead or alive,
real or fictional) you’d most like to go on a trip with:
William S Burroughs -- he's always struck me as an interesting guy
and I imagine he'd have some intriguing stories to tell.
3. Tourist must-see you think is
actually a “must skip”:
Goa, India. Ordinary beaches with overrated food and terribly
boring, shallow tourists.
4. Everyone asks what’s #1 on your
list of places you want to go before you die. But what’s your #3?
Kiribati. An Israeli friend went there decades ago for his post
military cool-off period. Said it was the most beautiful place he'd been and
told fanciful Crusoe-like tales of his time there. Also commented the beaches
are littered with empty VB [Victoria Bitter] cans, so as an Australian I guess I should
go pick some of the empties up.
5. You’d be mortified if people knew
you did what when you travelled?
I steal hotel soaps (only the fancy ones). Yes, Regent Singapore,
that was me.
6. Your most stranded,
“oh-my-[deity]” travel moment:
Climbing out of the Haleakala crater on Maui, Hawaii, we took a
wrong trail and got badly stranded and exhausted. Then I got separated from my
travel companion. After hours on the exposed slope I seriously considered
trying to break my ankle with a large rock so that a helicopter would come and
get me. (I stumbled out in the end.)
7. Best (or worst) person/people
you’ve had to sit next to while travelling:
The drug trafficker who had just walked across the Mexico-US border
with a kilo of pot strapped to his belly. He tried to sell me some for the
entire bus ride from Brownsville [Texas] to the airport. He was on parole for
B&E [breaking and entering] in Indianapolis and was headed back there to
sell his dope and invest the money in another run. He was somewhat unhinged.
8. Strangest meal abroad:
Live octopus in Morocco. You eat the tentacles first and wash them down
with iced water to stop them from sticking to your throat. Amazingly tasty
9. If someone was visiting your
town, what’s the one thing you’d show them?
The Uluwatu surf break -- one of the most spectacular spots in Bali.
10. Travel-related invention you
Time travel - so you really could go there at the time when everyone
says it was better. My first stop would be Sanur Beach in 1932, followed closely
by Phnom Penh in 1966.
11. Your most embarrassing travel
Mistakenly sleeping in an older Vietnamese lady's hammock on a night
boat from My Tho near Saigon to the Cambodian border. I woke up early in the
morning to find her sleeping on the floor underneath me. I was mortified.
12. Material thing you miss the most
when away from home:
13. Most unique souvenir:
A 3kg piece of lava from Lanzarote. I carried it with me through
Europe, India, Nepal and Thailand. When I got back to Australia and showed it
to my family, they commented that it looked like a rock.
14. Best celebrity encounter while
Eddie Vedder's "spiritual advisor" on a beach in Krabi,
15. Most unusual item you have
I once hitched a ride in a 6WD Swiss aid vehicle from Luang Nam Tha
in Laos to the Lao/Thailand border. The ride was being paid for by Lao antique
smugglers who were shifting artefacts to Thailand for sale to Thai middleman.
Among the goods was one of the best examples of a tribal frog drum I've ever
seen. The smugglers thought it would fetch high thousands -- the tribe had been
paid $500 for it.
16. Coolest mode of transport you’ve
The two-day bus trip from Varanasi in India to Pokhara in Nepal. We
spent the entire trip sitting on the roof of the bus, about a dozen travellers
in all. I'll never forget the first glimpse of the Himalayas -- we thought they
were clouds the peaks were so high.
17. Travel-related film or book that
inspires you to pack your bags:
Anything by Ryszard Kapuskinski,
and I've read Alain de Botton's Art of Travel repeatedly -- the book taught me
how to appreciate colour when travelling.
18. The travel story you’ll never
stop bragging about:
During a solo motorbike trip in northern Laos I fought off two
AK-47-armed bandits with my motorbike helmet. I believe their intention was to
kill me and steal the motorbike, yet the whole thing was over in 30 seconds. I
almost killed myself escaping the scene at high speed and my hands didn't stop
shaking for 10km.
19. Lay on us a priceless bit of
travel advice or wisdom:
Always pack your brain, don't plan too much and always allow scope
to just do something wild and crazy on a whim. Never dress like a ninja in