My Life in Travel: Edward de Bono
'I was made King of Launceston in Tasmania for a week'
Saturday 20 June 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
Badrutt's Palace in St Moritz, which is probably one of the first hotels I ever stayed in.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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