responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
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
4. Your most stranded, “oh-my-[deity]”
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
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