Mike Souter, a Tripper from Scotland is currently traveling the world in 60 days – backwards! He’s an avid traveler and former BBC reporter,who regularly writes for major newspapers, magazine groups and guide books such as Rough Guides and Lonely Planet. He is our Tripper of the Week …
Tell us a bit about your background.
Born and brought up in Scotland, joined the Royal Navy as an officer. Spent seven years at sea full time, plus another 31 in the Reserves.
Been writing about travel since schooldays and broadcasting since 1976, I now specialise in rail travel and cruising. I spend half of the year working from my home in southern Spain, where I am the travel editor for Sur in English, Andalucia’s biggest audited circulation English-language newspaper. In the summer months, I live in the lovely English county of Norfolk.
You’ve traveled all over the world: is there any destination that surprised you as far as what you thought it would be like versus what you actually experienced or just blew you away with how unbelievably amazing it was?
Lord Howe Island between Australia and New Zealand, where I first went in 2002 to handle the PR for the Navy after one of our destroyers hit a rock, is truly amazing for its natural, unspoiled and unique habitat. I loved Mysore in India where I went in 2011 to see the interior decor my grandfather had supervised at the Palace 100 years ago.
What are some of your top travel tips and tricks?
Pack to assume your bag will go missing. So take a couple of days of clothes into the aircraft cabin with you. If you travel as a couple, put half of each of your possessions in each other’s checked in bag.
Of all of the people you’ve met on your travels, which one has been the most memorable?
What a question! I was sitting beside an actor called Val Kilmer on a flight from Los Angeles to Denver last year. Everyone on the aircraft, apart from me, (who hadn’t a clue who he was!) was SO excited. It was only when I Googled him, that I discovered he has starred in Top Gun, Batman and a lot besides.
At the other end of the spectrum, a man on a train in Sri Lanka who was so keen to ask me about Dickens, Skakespeare and other aspects of English literature.
Don’t fly United Airlines. They have lost my luggage more often than anybody else. Even worse, they don’t seem to care.
What region or country that you haven’t been to yet to are you most excited to visit?
Argentina. I speak pretty good Spanish. I spent a month in Cuba living with the locals. Loved it.
Is it possible to pick a favorite destination from the places you’ve traveled? If not, which ones come instantly to mind that you’ve quite enjoyed?
I love Norfolk Island where the Bounty Mountaineers went after Pitcairn. I have lived in Norfolk, England, for over 30 years, so I feel a real affinity with it.
But my favourite place in all the world has to be south island, New Zealand. I feel so sorry for the people of Christchurch, whose city can never be the same again and won’t be back to anything like normal for many years.
Favourite US city: Denver.
Where are you traveling next?
I am going around the world in 60 days – backwards!
Read my blog: http://mdsouter.blogspot.com
I will be updating it as I go London – New York – Chicago – Lansing – Hollywood (Florida) – San Francisco – Sacramento – Auckland – Norfolk Island – Sydney – Melbourne – Singapore – Kuching – Geneva - London
Trippers , in addition to following Mike’s adventures on his blog, you can also connect with him via his Tripping profile.