I was born in London but have lived in Asia almost all my adult life, setting up home in Seoul, Seria, Pokhara and Phuket at one time or another but mainly in Hong Kong. I currently live in a converted farmhouse on Lantau Island, half-an-hour’s drive from the airport and a similar distance by ferry from the CBD.
I write for a wide variety of new and traditional media, and have specialised in travel writing. My most recent book – The Asia Villa Guide – does what it says on the tin, highlighting some seriously cool pads in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia.
Anyone who has travelled for a living can recall a fair few highs and lows. The Greek bus driver who gunned the accelerator the moment I’d disembarked, disappearing over the horizon with my rucksack, camera, passport and (gosh) drachmas.
The Nepalese villagers – consumed by curiosity – who simply couldn’t restrain themselves from following me into the woods first thing after breakfast to discover what I was going to do next. The cruise director who shouted at me when I failed to wear a tie to the captain’s cocktail party.
Taking off in a helicopter from the roof of the Peninsula in Hong Kong. The shopkeeper in Tahiti – ethnically Chinese, but utterly Gallic – shrugging her shoulders comme ci, comme ca as we chatted over coffee and cigarettes. Her backwoods Irish counterpart, who suggested if I wanted “today’s newspaper, you’d better come back tomorrow, but I’ve finished with yesterday’s, if you want a read o’ that”.
The Vietnamese teacher who wrung my hand after we’d spoken for ten minutes or so and said gravely: “My regards to your wife and mother.” Playing elephant polo. Riding locomotives in Java and bullet trains in Japan. The scent of French croissants in the morning, and a Christmas market in Berlin.
All in all, not a bad way to pass the time.