Flying Concorde to observe Halley’s Comet at high altitude; watching pink dolphins leap from the Amazon River; ordering a Cuban cigar from an airline duty-free trolley and smoking it over the Swiss Alps; crossing the Atlantic on the Graf Zeppelin.
Not all of those grand experiences are still available. I’ve achieved them all except the Zeppelin trip, mainly because Zeppelin flights ended before I was born. Rats! Then again, I’ve seen Led Zeppelin twice.
Writing and travel – plus luck, blessings and odd coincidences – have sustained me since leaving school and drifting around the world. I caught a ship from Auckland to Panama and backpacked around South America, watching heat lightning crackle over the mountains of Colombia, writing and selling freelance articles as I went.
Travel over the years has included cycling in China, kayaking in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands coast facing the Gulf of Mexico, steaming up the Rajang River in Borneo and working in a Saudi Arabian military hospital. For three years I was manager of editorial and production for a London-based international travel marketing company, flying to Chicago, exploring Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
I’ve reported on politics, daily news and strange murder trials for the Guardian newspaper and worked as a sub-editor for the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post News Service in Europe and for Reuters in Fleet Street.
Back in Australia I served with Australian Associated Press, then edited Inside Tourism for seven years (1986-1993). It was Australia’s only weekly travel industry magazine.
In the run-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics I wrote promotional copy and media backgrounders for Tourism Australia. Next, I went with my family to live in a farmhouse in a little village in Devon, near Dartmoor, for a year. I’m now managing editor Australasia for travel industry website Global Travel Media as well as a freelance writer and editor.
Since going freelance in 1993, I’ve written for the Weekend Australian, Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review, South China Morning Post, Vacations & Travel, Qantas AIR magazine, RACQ Road Ahead, Berlitz guidebooks and many others.
Our household on the NSW South Coast includes my wife, two teenage sons and frequent friends. Never a dull moment!