Where was your photo taken: Karimabad, Pakistan
Where do you live now: Hong Kong
Scariest airline flown: I’ve never flown a particularly ragged airline. I like to get my close-call kicks on the road. However, I have developed a strange flying habit that seems to scare a lot of people: I watch airline disaster documentaries on the plane. On almost every flight, I ritually tune in to watch the catastrophic results of faulty hydraulics, electrical fires and bad decisions. It has a very relaxing effect on me, and usually I’m out cold half way through. Fodder for the armchair psychiatrists out there.
Favorite city/country/place: With all due respect to Montreal, the first city I ever loved, my heart belongs to the outdoors. Nights in the Sahara desert in southern Morocco, warm autumn days walking in Canada’s boreal forest in Ontario and Quebec, exploring the ocean under bright sun off Thailand’s islands, cycling between battle sites in Normandy, France, or hiking in Pakistan’s northern Karakoram range: it’s all gravy.
Most remote corner of the globe visited: The Iran-Pakistan border in Balochistan. Nothing but sand, smugglers, spooks and security forces for hundreds of miles in every direction.
Favorite guidebook series: I primarily use Wikitravel to get the lay of the land, and then wing it when I arrive in the city. Hotels, hostels, locals and other travelers often have all the info you need. In many places off the beaten path, guidebooks can get outdated very quickly.
Favorite travel book: “The Way of the World,” by Nicolas Bouvier. In the 1950s, Bouvier and his friend drove a broken-down Fiat from Geneva to Afghanistan, leaving Switzerland with only enough money for about a month. This was at a time when certain routes between towns wouldn’t see a soul for weeks. Bouvier wrote with a Spartan dry wit, thought about the world with the nous of a philosopher and painted people and places with words like a poet.
The most unusual food I’ve ever eaten is: Barbecued bat… whole. Bones, wings, ears, and all. Foul. 0/10, would not eat again.
Leeches or mosquitoes? I’ll take a leech any day. They’re the gentleman bloodsuckers, tipping their little hats once they’ve had their fill, as if to say, “Thanks for understanding. I’ll pay it forward by participating in your medical treatments.” The mosquito, on the other hand, is beneath contempt. Their flight is vulgar and inelegant, like a stumbling drunk; their incessant whine as maddening as the demon piping of Azathoth; and the glowing itch of a bite pursues you relentlessly into your deepest dreams. To me, a life solely devoted to the utter annihilation of the mosquito seems like an admirable calling.
Languages spoken: Bad English, Bad French, Bad Mandarin
[Photo credit: Blogger Adam Hodge]