My (unabridged) life in travel

In early 2021, I was invited to write about my life in travel as a way of promoting Shakespeare in the Park 2021. You can read the actual article on the NZ Herald website, but here are my answers in full.

What do you miss most about travel right now?

I love the thrill of arriving in a new city and having to figure things out. There’s a certain adrenaline rush to figuring out Shanghai’s subway to get to your hotel.

Where was the first overseas trip you ever took, and what are your strongest memories from it?

I’d been to the UK twice before I was five, but I only remember sitting on my father’s shoulders watching a Guy Fawkes bonfire.

I remember going on a family holiday to Sydney when I was very young. I wrote a story about it for school and won an award from the Principal.

What was a standard family holiday like when growing up?

My dad would travel quite a lot for work and the family (my brother and my mum) would sometimes tag along. Mostly around the North Island saying a motels. We’d explore the local town while my Dad went to work.

Who has most inspired your travels?

TV shows like MacGyver really inspired me to learn about different cultures. The TV series Intrepid Journeys absolutely convinced me that travel was something I could do too.

What is the greatest trip you’ve ever been on?

For Christmas 2018 I toured the Christmas market of Europe then headed to the northern tip of Norway to look for the Northern Lights. On new year’s eve I was sitting around a campfire on the Norway/Finland border as the clouds cleared and the lights began to move through the sky.

And the worst?

I spent three days in New York with a terrible head cold. I went to three Broadway shows and fell asleep at all of them. I would absolutely recommend visiting the United Nations if you are in New York. The tour is well worth it.

What’s your approach to packing for an overseas trip?

One carry-on bag only. I tend to pack and repack until my bag is as light as possible. I us a Go Ruck GR1 in Black and a NutSac Satchel as my day bag.

What is the destination that most surprised you – good or bad – and why?

Shanghai was young and vibrant and could easily have been New York or London. The brand new but empty apartment buildings and shopping malls fascinated me – it’s a city waiting for the people to arrive.

Where was your most memorable sunrise/sunset?

Riding a bike on top of the ancient city walls of Xi’an with a new friend. The atmosphere, the view and the company were perfect.

What’s the first thing you do when you get home from a long trip?

Hug my cat and make a proper cup of tea. The world’s inability to get an English Breakfast Tea right never ceases to amaze me.

What do you miss most about home when you travel?

My family and friends. And my cat (of course) but honestly things like Skype and Messenger have made the world a lot smaller and it doesn’t take much effort to catch up for a video call either before or after a day of exploring.

Where is the one destination you must see before you die, and why?

Iceland is high on my bucket list, along with some notable sci-fi landmarks in the USA like Roswell and Area 51.

What’s your favourite thing about travel?

Figuring out how the streets in New York work, random strangers on a bus helping you find your destination in Beijing, nearly being arrested in Hong Kong. When you usually work at a desk you start to feel very much like Indiana Jones.