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News & Advice

My Life in Travel: Edward de Bono

'I was made King of Launceston in Tasmania for a week'

First holiday memory?

When I was young and living in Malta, there was a war on so you couldn't take holidays. My first holiday memory is when I was 15 – I went fruit picking in East Anglia and then hitch-hiking along the Great North Road, during which time I met a lovely lady called Pat. I didn't see her for 60 years and met up with her again recently. She's still a lovely lady.

Best holiday?

Bora Bora in French Polynesia, several years ago. I stayed in a little hut that you stepped out from on to the beach and you could go swimming in the ocean. It was lovely.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Oxford, where I studied, and the countryside around it; the Cotswolds are very attractive.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To be accommodating and adaptable and not to have great expectations. You shouldn't have preconceived ideas of what a place should be like. A lot of my travel is for business, for which I have to be as flexible as possible.

Ideal travelling companion?

I have an assistant who is competent and flexible and organises things for me to make travel easier when I'm away for work.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

As a youngster I had my dose of beaches and sand on Malta. Now I enjoy culture to some extent, but I don't jump off mountains. What's important for me is the escape, the change, peace and sometimes excitement.

Greatest travel luxury?

Organisation: what's ideal is someone who picks me up, takes me to the airport and makes sure I get on the plane, then at the other end someone else meets me and takes me to my hotel.

Holiday reading?

I don't take heavy reading with me – usually magazines, including trashy ones.

Where has seduced you?

Australia, I wrote a book five years ago called Why I Want to be King of Australia. It was very well received. I particularly like Tasmania, which feels about 20 years behind the mainland. They once made me King of Launceston for a week.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive. Travelling is quite tiring. I once counted that I had travelled 250,000 miles in one year, which is greater than the distance to the moon.

Worst hotel?

Modern, designer hotels where it takes you half an hour to turn on a tap or the lights in your room. They're designer-mad and nothing to do with usability. Even flushing the loo can be a big operation.

Worst travel experience?

Frankfurt airport is a terrible place for changing planes. It's huge, there's bad signage and it's a real pain.

Best hotel?

Badrutt's Palace in St Moritz, which is probably one of the first hotels I ever stayed in.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I walk when I can; I particularly enjoy walking in New York. It's a very walkable city, particularly Midtown.

Best meal abroad?

A meal in southern Bulgaria at the top of a mountain in the Rhodopes. I had an excellent meal of a sheep roast, which was given by the local communist chief. It was good food with lots to drink and I think we finished at 6am.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Orient myself to see and know what's around. I like to position myself.

Dream trip?

I've done many cruises, but I'd love to do a round-the-world one. I recently did an enjoyable cruise to the Shetland Islands and Iceland.

Favourite city?

New York – I'm not entirely sure I'd like to live there, but there's a lot going on and I've got friends there and an apartment in Central Park South.

Where next?

I'm going to Malaysia and Australia to an international thinking conference and some seminars.

'Think! – Before it's Too Late', by Edward de Bono, is published on 3 July (Vermillion, £16.99)