Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Occupation: Socratic rover
Short Bio: Co-founder: mtsobek.com; part of founding executive team of expedia.com; founder of travel products for Microsoft, Slate, MSNBC, MSN, Yahoo. Co-founder: whitenilemedia.net; co-executive producer, Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose: adventureswithpurpose.tv. 19 books published (see Amazon.com); many films and tv shows.
How often do you fly: Just back from a 21-day shoot that covered Brazil, Argentina, Easter Island, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, Galapagos and Quito. It was a slow month.
How many countries have you been to: 162
How many continents have you been to: 8, if you count Atlantis.
Favorite American city: Seattle, because it is like Portlandia only more so.
Favorite international city: The City of the Caesars, also known as The Wandering City.
Least favorite country: Not a fair question. Every place has magic.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Those that are in danger….they need visitation and advocates…the list is here: whc.unesco.org/en/danger
Favorite airline: The old Pan Am; today, Flat Bed Airlines
Favorite aircraft type: Boeing B-314 Clipper
Aisle or window: On a380s you get both
Favorite airport lounge: Emirates, Dubai
Favorite U.S. airport: Van Nuys Airport, co-star in Casablanca
Favorite international airport: Sarajevo
Favorite hotel: Tie between Inkaterra, Peru; Royal Mansour Marrakech; and The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong (the 107th floor)
Favorite cruise line: Peter Greenberg’s boat
Favorite island: Good question…I wrote a book called Island Gods, which features my favorites.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Carnivore, Nairobi
Favorite hole in the wall: The Skeleton Bar – Designed by Hans Rudi Giger (the artist responsible for the alien in Alien) in Gruyere, Switzerland
Favorite fruit: Durian
Favorite food: Yak cheese pizza; fugu (河豚 or 鰒; フグ)
Least favorite food: Mapuche nachi, which is a kind of hot blood pudding from a freshly slaughtered sheep popular with the indigenous Indians of southern Chile. Didn’t make it through the meal.
Favorite travel movie(s): John Houston’s The African Queen; Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger; Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky; Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear; Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless; Werner Herzog’s Aguirre: The Wrath of God; Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams; Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now; Marcel Camus’s Black Orpheus; Alfonso Cuaron’s Y Tu Mama Tambien; Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy (Blue/White/Red); Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water; Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; etc., etc., etc.
Favorite travel show(s): Johnny Jet and The Royal Tour
Favorite travel book(s): Peter Guber’s Tell to Win; Fawn Brodie’s The Devil Drives; Bronislaw Malinowski’s The Sexual Life of Savages; Pat Shipman’s To the Heart of the Nile
Five things you bring on a plane: iPad filled with books; old fashioned-style analogue books for take-off and landing; travel clothing (Ex Officio); many-pocked travel vest or sports jacket (TravelSmith); pens; moleskin notebook.
What do you always seem to forget: Underwear
Favorite travel iPhone app(s): Trover, and any product Rich Barton and/or Erik Blachford invested in.
Most embarrassing/worst travel moment: On a flight to Sydney, first class, and was scheduled to work on a film production about the first descent of the Yangtze. John Denver had been hired to do the score, though I had not met. He boarded, and had two seats a row up and across from me, one for his guitar. Once in the air I unbuckled and went to greet Mr. Denver, but suddenly a man in front of me jumped ahead and stuck out his hand and offered he was a fan. Denver shot back in a spate of expletives that wasn’t it clear he had two seats so as not to be bothered. I slouched back to my seat, and never met the man.
What’s your dream destination: To go deeper than James Cameron, or higher than Neil Armstrong, or more remote than Wilfred Thesiger or Richard Burton.
Favorite travel website(s) – besides JohnnyJet.com, of course!: Whitenilemedia.net; Orbitz.com; petergreenberg.com; rudymaxa.com
Best travel tips: #1 There is no trip anywhere, of any duration, that you can’t take with just a carry-on bag, and you will be richer for it.
#2 Unplug See: Zambia on foot