Where do you call home, and what’s your insider secret for someone who is a visitor there?
Brooklyn. Tip? Come hungry; come artisanal.
Must-have personal item you take travelling?
My flying doll, Skydancer. She fearlessly twirls, arms up, across the world. I earn my GT colleagues’ ire when we’re on some mad dash deadline and I stop to pull her out for her photo op. But they’ve come to understand her archetypal importance, and now they wait.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
I’m drawn to abandoned places with haunting histories. Lately that’s got me mulling over Gagra, Georgia (on the Black Sea). I’d love to roadtrip across Cuba again (legally, this time), and fly fish Patagonia.
What’s the easiest way to start a conversation in a foreign land?
Skydancer (see above).
Best/worst sleeping arrangement you’ve encountered?
The Worst: In the toilet of an Indian train. Don’t ask.
The Best: Under a raft of stars in Niger’s Sahara with only the digestive grunts of camels in the distance as company. Best as in fanciest? Kaya Mawa barefoot luxury lodge on the shores of Lake Malawi (I don’t know how our producer pulled that one off on our shoe-string budget – but it was amazing).
Note: I count a particular night in a hammock in the sweltering, bat-crazy, orangutan-hollering jungle of Borneo as both Best & Worst.
First thing you like to do when you get home after a long time on the road?
Pluck (in my 20s the answer would have been different).
One life lesson learned while travelling that’s stayed with you?
It’s the same lesson in every country, in every culture, on every trip: travel is not about where you stay or what you eat, but it’s all about the people (you meet and are with); and that life’s nutgrab is devotion (in whatever form).
What show would you like to make an X years later (sequel) of?
Travelling across the desert in West Africa with the Tuareg nomads on camel salt caravan felt like an otherworldly privilege; to experience a moment in time, and a tradition, that was perhaps passing, forever. But now that region of Africa is too dangerous to travel. So the sequel will have to wait.
What are your current pet projects?
Releasing my new doc The Babushkas of Chernobyl in spring 2015.
How do you see people consuming and gathering their travel info and inspiration in the future?
Tricky topic. I feel the magic of travel comes from being unplugged, being forced out of your comfort zone (which goes against latest info consumption trends). Maybe the hard-to-achieve art of unplugging will be the travel challenge of the next century? But then again, I’m a romantic who remembers what it felt like to get letters at the American Express office.
Best tips for female travellers?
Flip all that energy that goes into FEAR and turn it into potential.
Describe yourself in a Tweet (140 characters): Reluctant social media-ite w/twisted habit of running at what I fear. Unabashedly pro-woman + pro-girl; looking like middle-aged lady; feel like teenaged boy. Is that 140 yet? @hollymorris