Last time, we talked about the pseudonym, the books, and the message. This time, we cover travel destinations and offer some advice for solo travellers.
Which places have you visited?
All four countries in the UK; England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. A lot of people outside Europe don’t appreciate the fact that the UK consists of four distinct countries. But it does, and they are all very different. Then there’s China and Thailand, which I’ve written about at length, and Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Russia, Azerbaijan, America. I have a real soft spot for Ibiza and Majorca, the Spanish islands. I love the climate and the lifestyle in Spain.
Why do you love travel so much?
It’s a big part of my life. Sometimes I travel for work, other times for pleasure. I just want to see and experience as much as I can. It’s such a rich and diverse world out there. I read that Lonely Planet quote when I was quite young (‘The world is a book, and if you don’t travel, you only read one page’) and that had a profound effect on me. I grew up in one of those small towns where everyone knows each other and everyone knows everyone else’s business. Frankly, I couldn’t wait to leave.
Where else is on your list?
Anywhere I haven’t yet been. I’m planning a trip to Vietnam, Indonesia or Cambodia within the next year. I’d like to stay a while, though, so I might try to find a job over there for a few months. That’s the best way to truly experience a place. If you just go on a holiday and then come back you only get a taste. It’s like going to a bar, ordering a beer, and only having a few sips. I want to drink the whole glass, then probably get another. No doubt there’ll be a book about my adventures.
What general advice would you give to solo travellers?
Do your research. Get to know a bit about your destination before you leave. Don’t only look for the night spots, read up on the climate so you’ll know what clothes to take and things like local customs and, political situation, and other things that may affect your trip. If you are trying to save money, spend a bit of time on price comparison sites and factor in things like departure and arrival times. If, for example, you arrive in a city at 6 am, remember you won’t be able to check into your hotel until one or two o’clock in the afternoon, so make sure you have somewhere to go. Book an extra night if you have to. Sometimes, it’s much cheaper to fly into less fashionable cities or airports. Finally, travel light. I see a lot of people dragging too much stuff around with them. All you really need should be able to fit into a decent-sized backpack. If you only have one bag, you won’t have to check it in then wait for it at baggage reclaim. Bonus!
What do you look for when you travel?
I’m a man of simple pleasures. I like hot girls, sunshine, pretty places and cold beer. I’m generally more attracted to places of natural beauty rather than cities, but they obviously have their advantages.
What’s the worst experience you’ve had whilst travelling?
When I was younger I travelled from the UK to Rotterdam in Holland for a concert by coach. That was a gruelling experience. It took about 20 hours to get there, and soon after I arrived I got robbed in a cafe. I bought a cup of coffee, turned around for a moment, and when I turned back, my bags were gone. Luckily, all my important stuff like money and passport were in my pockets.
On the way back, our coach passed through France and was stopped by French border police. They made us all get off the coach and take our luggage into this little room. They were looking for drugs. I smoked a lot of weed back then, and I had some cigarette papers on me. The police found them and took me into this little room to be strip-searched and interrogated. I remember being freezing cold, wearing only a pair of socks, being questioned at gun point. Those police searched everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Except in between my toes, where I’d stashed my dope.
My latest release, Dating Chinese Women – Tips, Tricks, & Techniques, is out now on paperback and ebook.