Today’s jetsetter is Iain Mallory, who was among the first travel bloggers we discovered. Extremely devoted to traveling and tweeting (@MalloryOnTravel), we’re actually not sure if he does anything BUT travel and tweet (seriously, Iain, do you sleep??). He’s directed us to many a post for our daily No Travel Required, and his most recent trip to the French Pyrénées had us seriously jealous.
Enjoy his travel tales!
Favourite Place: I do not really have anywhere I consider a favourite place, having enjoyed every destination I have visited. Usually the place I am currently visiting is my favourite one.
More importantly, favourite meal: I really love my food, so that is a pretty difficult choice, a bit like favourite destination, but if I had to choose just one it would have to be jambalaya.
The moment you caught the travel bug: Expeditions around the world: mountaineering/climbing, skiing, kayaking and diving are where the seeds of my wanderlust were sown and have grown ever more with each passing day.
First experience traveling alone: After all the expeditions and some holidays with friends or family my first personal expedition was to the island of Rhodes in Greece. I really enjoyed this trip, the independence was new and refreshing and solo travel has become the first option the majority of the time now.
Ever been (or thought you’ve been) in imminent danger while traveling?: Almost as many times as I have been in danger of losing my single status!
Worst hotel/hostel experience: I tend not to have too many bad hostel experiences, being quite outspoken if somebody is being unsociable then I’ll tell them! Having two pairs of used underwear stolen over a couple of days in a hostel once is about as bad as it gets for me.
Best hotel/hostel experience: Most great experiences have been about meeting people, sometimes other guests, often locals and even the staff sometimes. Recently I have been lucky enough to spend time in some pretty high end hotels, however my favourites are still the smaller family run kind of place, those with a more personal touch.
Favourite family vacation: We did not really go away much as a family when I was a kid. Most trips away were with school and my favourites were to a small wooded hut encampment in the Lake District called Snows Heights. It always felt like exploring and I love the Lakes, it was always so exciting and we had many an adventure.
Must-have packing item: Apart from the obvious like camera etc., I would never take an independent trip without packing my hammock, it is the first thing on the list.
Most unbelievable travel experience: There are too many to mention but swimming with orcas in a Norwegian fjord is top of this list. Also, a night kayaking trip on East Falkland in Shag cove with great whales surfacing around us in the dark was pretty amazing too.
Favourite “I can’t believe I’m doing this” moment: Singing Madonna hit ‘Like a Virgin’ in full appropriate fancy dress in front of seven hundred Army Apprentice chefs and staff. Long story which I’ll explain over a mojito one day …… no not a virgin one!
Place you can’t wait to return to: All of them I can say hand on heart loved everywhere I’ve visited.
Place you can’t be paid to return to: The surgery of my last dentist.
Any exciting trips coming up?: Nothing confirmed yet, though there are a few new projects being discussed at the moment. I am also considering an extended trip, possibly even around the world, before too long.
Dream vacation: Touring slowly around South America especially Patagonia as it’s the only continent that I’ve not visited.
Favourite tourist attraction: The temples of Luxor Egypt–one huge open air museum, so much history, so much culture. I know it is now so clichéd, so many tourists and almost as many hawkers and touts, but still a fantastic experience.
Favourite “I’m trying not to look like a tourist” attraction: Not totally sure what this actually means; an attraction that doesn’t want to look too touristy? The main attractions of Iceland, Geysir, Gothafoss, Pingvellir and the Blue Lagoon all carry off being attractions pretty well without the tourist clichés.
Favourite travel photo: Hot air ballooning over the extinct volcanoes of Catalonia.
the romantic & the wino