1. Describe yourself in 3 words.
Gregarious, intrepid and stubborn.
2. What is your job title and role?
Traveller & Adventurer (?!) I play the bagpipes, dabble in travel photography, run motivational seminars at schools and also work on social media for a few companies.
3. How many times per year do you travel and is it predominantly long or short haul?
I spend most my time travelling or away from the UK and it’s a big mix of long and short haul flights. Last year I was away for approx. 8 months on various trips to South East Asia and Eastern Europe.
4. What is your favourite business destination and why?
Bangkok! The people are great, the food is ridiculously tasty and it’s a great travel hub for the region.
5. What are your favourite travel companions, gadgets and accessories?
My phone is definitely the most useful thing I travel with. Smartphones have totally redefined travel over the past few years and I’ve found it incredibly useful development. To be more specific to a particular app, I’m always using TripAdvisor as it’s a great point for references. On a more basic level, I love my camping flask! I always have it with me as it keeps things cool (or hot!) for days and it means I’m buying fewer plastic bottles.
6. What are your business travel ‘pet hates’?
People who clap when the plane lands and people who stand too close to the baggage carousels. There’s a special place in hell for both those people.
7. What is your funniest business travel experience?
I was staying at co-working, co-living space in Bangkok and for a few nights I decided to be super stingy and stay in a dorm. Most of the time I was the only one in the room, but for two nights there was a 40-something year old Taiwanese lady sleeping in the bunk above me. On the second night she was adamant that I was ill and needed some of her Chinese medicinal remedies. I was less keen on the idea, but after showering and returning to the dorm, she had a 10 baht coin in one hand and eucalyptus oil in the other. Weird.
Apparently all she needed to do apply the oil to my neck and then rub it with the coin. At this point I was standing in my towel, feeling a little bit vulnerable, with this Taiwanese lady standing between me and my bed, so I thought why not! I turned around and she then proceeded to pour oil on me and scrape the absolute hell out of my back as fast as she could. I’m all for trying new things but no, 3 second of scraping and I was done. I reeled in pain, looked at her and asked what she was doing and her response was “OHHH you are very ill (!!), your back is going red!” To which my response was to dive out the room and shuffle back to the bathroom in my towel to to nurse my wounds. That was probably the most awkward night sleep I’ve ever had!
8. How do you stay sane, organised and relaxed when you are away from home?
I’m a pretty keen on making lists. I have a note-book with me at all times and it’s my go to for writing notes, lists and generally keeping me organised. I suppose I could just use a smartphone, but the action of scribbling something down is so much more satisfying. Staying sane and keeping relaxed comes hand in hand with exercise. If I don’t do something energetic every few days then I tend to get a bit frustrated. I’ve started using a few exercise apps and body-weight circuits which I can do in hotel rooms.
9. If you could change one thing about business travel, what would it be?
Visas. I understand the need for them; however, they should all be eVisas. It’s such an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle when it comes to applying to embassies and consulates.
10. Do you have any packing rules / tips?
This is more of a habit than a strict rule, but I tend to pack shoes first and then roll up my clothes rather than folding them. I seem to be able to cram more in when I’m doing it that way! When it comes to hand baggage, I always have to carry my bagpipes and electronics on board - there is no way they’re being checked in.
11. What is your best piece of travel advice?
If you go through a lot of airports then I’d definitely recommend getting a lounge card from one of the many lounge groups. I have a Priority Pass card and it’s brilliant. If you travel in Business or First Class then it’s unnecessary; however, if not, then it’s worth the annual investment based on the amount of time you’ll spend in airports and on airport food!