Where the experts holiday: Nick Wandering, travelholic

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Travel blogger, Nick Wandering, shares his travel highs and lows


What do you like to do on holiday?
I like to be active when I’m on holiday. It could be physical such as skiing or hiking, or it could be mental for example exploring a new culture or country. The type of holiday I’m not into is the “sitting by the pool” kind. The thought of spending a week sitting on a beach fills me with dread. I’m also not a “foodie” – I will try the local delicacies and dishes, and usually I enjoy them, but is not the primary reason why travel. I travel for the experience. The thrill of finding and seeing something new, or experiencing something out of the ordinary. Sometimes I just travel for the sake and experience of travelling.

Where did you last go?
My last trip overseas was to India, but that was for business. My last holiday was a skiing holiday in France. One week of exhausting physical activity skiing down the slopes of the French ski resort. Fantastic. The snow was great, but the accommodation? Less so.


Do you know where you’re going this year?
My next trip is to Scotland where I plan to spend a week driving around the Highlands taking photographs, and doing some hiking. I have been to Scotland many times (I even lived there for a number of years) and it keeps drawing back. There is just something about the Highlands. They are magical.
I’ll also be off to Hong Kong and the Philippines next month for work, and I may travel to Myanmar, India and China in the next 12 months, again also for work. No doubt in the New Year I will be off skiing, but no plans yet.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
Favourite? An almost impossible question to answer. The Highlands of Scotland would rank very highly on my list as I find them to be stunningly beautiful, dangerous, and constantly changing. Every visit is different. However, if I had to pick one place, I think I would go for Yellowstone National Park. I have visited the park both in the summer (for a six-day horse track) and in the winter, and I found the place to be stunning. Yes, it’s full of tourists in the summer, but you don’t have to go very far to leave the crowds behind. For me, what makes the park are the stunning views, the exceptional wildlife, and the mind-blowing geothermal activity. The night I was lying in a tent listening to wolves howl in the distance is a memory that will stay with me forever.


Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Antarctica – just so that I can say I’ve been there, and because so few people get to experience a place. More seriously, that is, within my reach, I would have to say, Africa. I’m almost ashamed to admit that it is a continent that I’ve not yet visited as most of my travels have been around Europe, Northern America, Australia, and southeast Asia.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
Wow, you ask tough questions!  In the UK, I would have to say the north-east of England. The reason for suggesting this is because it has a stunning coastline and a beautiful National Park, and oddly the area sees very few tourists. I think the problem may be that the next-door neighbour is the Lake District, and that is a “must-go” place in the north of England.

How do you plan your trips?
Badly! I am notorious for just throwing things into a bag and going. I quite often don’t plan at all, beyond renting a car or booking a flight. If I do plan, then it is usually by using the web, and dumping everything down into Evernote. However, even with everything planned I have been known to arrive somewhere and change my itinerary. A case in point? Last year I was in Bangkok and had a hotel booked for five nights. However I arrived, decided I wasn’t in the mood for a city, hired a car and headed for the countryside. For my next trip to Scotland, all I have planned is the hiring of a car. After that, I’m just going to go where the mood takes me. I’ll head north and see what I find. These days with smartphones and a good internet connection, it is so much easier to be a flexible traveller.


How often do you go away?
I like to get away for at least one skiing trip (possibly two) per year, and then a longer trip around July or August time.  The July/August trip is normally my big holiday in which I go off exploring.

Who do you travel with?
If you mean in terms of a travel companion, then no one. I book things up myself, sometimes in advance, but more often than not these days when on the road using my smartphone. When I go skiing, I tend to use specialised ski companies and travel with friends or solo. Trying to “join all the dots” for a ski trip can be a real pain. For my longer “wanderings” I go on my own.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Well, with the recent vote to leave the Europe Union, I am expecting to see fewer Europeans visiting the UK due to possible visa requirements, or queues at the airport (no more European traveller channel). Also, unless there is a major change in transport in the UK, I expect there to be fewer long distance tourists.  Getting around the UK is becoming increasingly expensive and difficult. The roads are congested, and the trains are crowded. I expect tourism in the UK to become more “local” – that is, people will not travel as far as they’ve done in the past but remain more local to their homes.

Thanks Nick! Follow Nick’s travel adventures on Twitter (@nickswanderings) and at www.nickswanderings.com

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