World First's Seven Wonders: Martin Dorey
If we asked you to name your seven wonders, what would they be? Now what if we asked you to give us your best travel advice, the thing you always have to take with you and why or your funniest story? It's not easy is it? Well, over the coming weeks and months we're going to be asking the same seven questions to travel bloggers, travelers, customers, celebs and anyone who we think will have something interesting to share with us. Starting with Martin Dorey, a World First customer who is better known for his camping and cooking 'bible', 'The Camper Van Cookbook' and his BBC2 TV series, 'One Man and his Campervan'. Read his Campervanliving blog here.
1. What draws you to a life of travel?
I am a surfer so travelling to find waves is all a part of it. That’s what got me in to my campervans and what has taken me to Europe, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Central America. It’s also led me to explore closer to home too – in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It’s brilliant to discover new places, eat new things, see new sights and surf new waves.
I used to be a bit afraid of foreign travel until I had an epiphany (everyone needs an epiphany) during a New Year ’s Eve party on a roof top in Hong Kong in 1993. Standing there, surrounded by this incredible city that was so far away from home, I realised that, yes, I could travel and that, yes, it could be wonderful. After that there was no stopping me.
2. What’s the best piece of travel advice you can offer?
Be prepared. It doesn’t matter whether that means by having a route marked out, enough undies or even remembering to pack your charger, the vital thing is to think about what’s most important to you and to plan for it. Obvious really, but do your homework. Even if all you do is learn a little of the language you’ll be better prepared than most and will be able to get what you want or need without having to resort to charades. Trust me I know.
3. What’s the one item you can’t travel without?
Years ago it used to be my Swiss Army knife (see above for being prepared) but I guess now it’d be my camera or phone. Where once I whittled wood on long dark nights on Koh Tao (an island in Thailand where I learned to dive and where there was no electricity after 8 at night), now I probably would just spend all night tweeting. Sad, but true.
4. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on your travels?
It depends on who you talk to. My wife will tell you that it’s catching myself in the face whilst fishing in Spain last year whereas another friend will tell you it was when I was sexually propositioned by the gardener in the place I was staying in Sri Lanka. But for me it’s sitting in a piano bar in New York having a drink after a long day. As the pianist sang a song about New York the whole bar erupted into the chorus, banging their tables, clinking their glasses and singing along. Then, when the song finished, went back to how they were before like nothing happened. It was freaky and funny and you probably had to be there.
5. Do you have a favourite travel photo?
Yes. We have a series of shots of our campervan parked above a remote beach in the Outer Hebrides (See above). So many ambitions were fulfilled in that photo: getting an old camper that far, surfing the most north westerly beach in the UK, camping wild on a remote island. The whole experience was incredible, yet it was still not much more than a nice camp out by the beach.
6. What’s your greatest remaining travel ambition?
It’s a big one. I’d like to travel to the world’s best surf breaks under sail. However it will require a lot more cash than is readily available, more ability than is currently exposed and more experience sailing a boat than I have to my name so far. Apart from that it should be a doddle.
7. Where are you visiting next and why?
I am hoping to do more trips around the UK this year and next. I’d like to visit the country’s extremes, starting with the most southerly point, on the Lizard Peninsula. That’s closest to home so should be the easiest. After that it’s all uphill.
How's that for starters? Tell us about your Seven Wonders by sending an email to: Tristan.Rothwell@rothwellandtowler.co.uk