Its not often I publish an interview with a non travel blogger, but when travel writing royalty come a’ knocking it’d be stupid to say no. This week I was lucky enough to meet one Mr Mark Hodson who i’m sure a few of you all ready know of. Mark is one of the UK’s most respected travel writers. He has written for The Sunday Times and Sunday Times Travel Magazine for more than 15 years, as well as numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites. In September 2010, Mark was voted one of the UK’s Top 50 Travel Writers in a poll of journalists for Press Gazette magazine. So, credentials wise Mark is not doing too bad, above average I would say. Here’s Mark’s answers …
Hi, AND WHO MIGHT YOU BE?
1. Name? Mark Hodson
2. Age? 47
3. Twitter Handle? @101holidays
4. URL? http://www.101holidays.co.uk/
5. Home Town? London
6. Current Location? In my home office
7. … Business or pleasure? Usually it’s both
8. Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment. Best bits, worst bits etc.
I’ve spent a lot of this year in London, partly because of the Olympics, which were just immense. Then I went to Provence for a two-week house swap in the back half of August. I find a house swap is a great (and cheap) way to experience a destination in the eyes of a local. And so long as the house has wifi I can keep up with work. Now that autumn has set in I’m getting restless again…
LETS TALK TRAVEL
9. First travel experience?
I spent my early years in Lahore in Pakistan where my father worked as a civil servant with the diplomatic corps. In those days people didn’t fly, they went to the subcontinent by ship, via Beirut, which was quite the glamorous stopover. I was in Lahore a few years ago and tried to find our old house but the whole area had apparently been bulldozed. The street didn’t even exist any more.
10. Future travel plans?
I try to do a couple of long haul trips and a couple of ski trips over the winter. I need to feel the sun on my face or I wilt badly. So it’s the Maldives in November and Verbier in December.
11. If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
I’d probably do a big road trip in the States. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I find America such a fascinating country and I really like the people. Or maybe Antarctica, one of the few wilderness places left on Earth.
12. If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
My idea of travel hell is a prissy little uptight B&B in a provincial English town with bad plumbing, sagging mattresses and nosy homophobic, racist owners. Plenty still exist.
13. What 5 items would you not go travelling without?
- swimming goggles,
14. Best bit of advice you’ve received?
I was once staying in a 40 baht hut on Ko Phan Ghan and met a really interesting French guy who I thought was very old and wise, but was probably about my age now. He told me how he liked to alternate between staying at very cheap accommodation and treating himself to somewhere slightly more lavish. It’s a simple tip but it has worked for me.
“This would not be suitable for kids.”
I find young children are very adaptable and open-minded, except when it comes to meal times.
16. Best bit of advice you can give readers of this piece?
Try disconnecting yourself from the digital loop, at least for a few days. It may seem super cool being always connected, but actually you’re travelling in a sterile cultural bubble. If you really want to connect with people and immerse yourself in a culture – and that, we probably all agree, is what travel is about – you’re going to have to bite the bullet and go off grid.
17. Favourite ice cream flavour? Stracciatella
18. Apple or Andriod? Apple
19. Blogger or WordPress? WordPress
20. Hostel or hotel? I love hotels
21. Guilty pleasure? Last year my wife bought me a pair of fur-lined slippers. This looked at first like a horrible portent of middle age but now I wear them all the time in the house
22. Your chosen super-power? Time travel
23. Airplane seat – aisle, centre or window? Always the aisle. I’m a fidget and control freak. A nightmare combination if you’re stuck in the window seat
24. What song/album are you listening to right now? Mondo by Electric Guest. An amazing debut album
25. Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website …
I set up 101 Holidays with another travel writer, David Wickers, almost four years ago when we saw the way the web was changing the future of travel writing. Our sites – which now include 101 Honeymoons and 101 Family Holidays – provide early-stage travel inspiration and expert recommendations. One of the things I love most about the business is that we’re now able to employ other journalists as our specialist editors at a time when work on print publications is drying up.
WANT TO BE NEXT?
- No more than 3 backlinks in your piece (not including the questions 3 and 4, you get those for free).
- Once published on my site, the interview must then be linked somewhere on your own site.
- Once published on my site, you should visit and ‘like’ my facebook page. (shameless i know)
- I reserve the right remove any answers or links that I deem unsuitable for my site.