TIM TALKS TRAVEL
As much as I enjoy exploring new places, but my fondest memories from travel always comes down to the people I meet along the way. Travel keeps my mind open to new ways of thinking, and reminds me about what is great about where I come from.
Some of my most memorable trips include:
- Driving 14,000km across Russia east to west in a Toyota Prius – passing through 27 cities and towns, starting in Vladivostok and finishing in St. Petersburg. The story I wrote about the trip was featured in the 2018 Russian Lonely Planet guide.
- Making an earth sandwich by travelling as far away as possible from my home in Auckland by driving to the exact GPS coordinates of the antipode (the opposite point on earth), and having a friend place a slice of bread on the ground at the same time as I did. The location turned out to be a driveway close to Ronda, a city halfway between Seville and Málaga in Spain.
- Speaking at the 2012 APEC Summit in Russia and hearing from Hillary Clinton, President Putin (among others), and meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key just prior to his meeting with the Russian President. I was the only person to approach and chat with Russia’s bodyguard-surrounded Minister of Energy – where I gave him a New Zealand candle (the last corporate gift I had left with me), and received back a gold coin, commemorating the new gas pipeline to Vladivostok.
- Being invited to sit in the Presidential Box at the Davis Cup quarter-final in Belgrade, to watch my tennis hero Novak Đoković represent Serbia. I ended up in a paparazzi photo in a Serbian newspaper alongside other (more recognisable) faces in the box.
- A road through through Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Romania, catching up with old friends along the way and exploring spectacular – and unexpected – nature in regions I previously knew very little about.
- Visiting Myanmar in 2016 with other business leaders from South-east Asia, and seeing first-hand the rapid changes in business, infrastructure, and tourism that are occurring there.
- Being invited by the Japanese government to tour Japan, learning about trade, business, and the country’s agricultural industry – and being taught by a top sushi chef in Tokyo how to prepare Japanese food.
- While living in London, visiting all stations on the Underground and making a video about it, which was picked up by the BBC and the Evening Standard and used to recognise the 150th anniversary of the Tube in 2012.
- Being invited to attend Alibaba’s ‘Double 11 day’ sale launch in Shanghai: including a 4-hour gala extravaganza featuring Jessie J, Pharrell Williams, Maria Sharapova, Nicole Kidman (among countless others). During the 24 hours of the sale, Alibaba sold US$25.3 billion worth of merchandise.
- Giving a keynote speech at the 2015 World Journalists Conference in Seoul (on the division between North and South Korea from a New Zealand perspective), where I was also interviewed by the national public broadcaster KBS at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Busan.
- Having discovered that I’d never driven in the United States after several work visits, my San Francisco-based friend pick me up in the most American car he could get his hands on – a 1971 Buick Convertible – and made me drive it over the Golden Gate Bridge, and further north along Marin County’s beaches.
- I’m also a keen airline reviewer. My latest review on a Lufthansa Premium economy flight from Hong Kong to Munich was published in the New Zealand Herald’s Travel section.