How often do you get away? At least once a year, often more. Last year, I went overseas four times. The frequency depends on the projects I’m working on.
Where was your first trip? To Sydney, in 1966, then Queensland, where I worked as a wine waiter. It was unbelievably exciting and it gave me an unquenchable thirst for travel.
Why do you travel – business or pleasure? The two motives are inextricably mixed. I love writing and I love travel, so the one always merges with the other.
What is your favourite destination overseas? Huahine, an island in French Polynesia’s Society Islands.
And in New Zealand? Queen Charlotte Sound.
Best trip ever? To Pitcairn Island, last year. I was apprehensive about going, but found it unforgettable.
If you could be anywhere but here, where would that be? The village of St Guilhem-le-Desert, in the Languedoc region of France. Exquisitely beautiful.
What is the wildest sight you’ve witnessed while travelling? An elderly man goose-stepping his way through a village festival in Germany and giving the Nazi salute as he went. Chilling.
The most heart-breaking? Seeing a bunch of small boys in New Delhi, punching each other over the right to carry my suitcase from the bus into the airport.
Where to next? Since I’m writing a sequel to my novel based on James Cook’s first world voyage – which will be published next year – I’d like to visit Easter Island, where Cook called in on his second world voyage.
Graeme Lay has edited a collection of stories from leading New Zealand travel writers. Home & Away is published this month by New Holland, RRP $34.99.
- © Fairfax NZ News