Adam’s ‘A rail of a time’ article in Sunday Times Travel Magazine magazine earned him the title of Young Travel Writer at the Travel Media Awards 2017. We sit down for a quick chat with the winner
What makes a destination a great place to write about?
I think a good travel article should teach you something. When I write a safari piece, for instance, I like to throw in some titbits about the threat facing the animals I encounter. The fact that I saw a rhino isn’t particularly fascinating to readers; what is more interesting is that they might not be able to see one, if poaching continues as it is. It doesn’t matter how unique or rare or beautiful something is, if you only experience it on a superficial level, you probably won’t appreciate it. It’s like when my friend and I went to Greece, we hated the Acropolis — because we didn’t learn anything. We just walked up a hill, looked at some broken bits of marble and trudged back down in the August heat. Yet, we were rapt by a folk museum in northern Greece, because the curator gave us a personal tour, telling us about her family’s experiences during the country’s war with Turkey in the 1920s. Her stories made us want to go home and find out more about the conflict — which is exactly what travelling, and travel writing, should do.
What’s your favourite destination in the entire world and why?
Definitely Africa. You never go and just have a ‘nice’ or ‘ok’ holiday. You come back with a hundred stories that not only stay with you, but which you can dine out on for years to come. On my last couple of trips there, I’ve had my face washed by an amorous giraffe, was ‘mugged’ by an octogenarian, and nearly ran over a leopard.
If you could travel back in time to anywhere, when and where would you choose to go?
I’d love to see one the great durbars of the Indian Raj, with the maharajahs dripping in jewels and mounted on elephants. It’s a lifestyle that’s completely lost.
What’s on your travel wish list for 2018?
Zimbabwe. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, but, because of the political situation, never have. It’s the country in Africa with the greatest potential — and some of the best wildlife encounters.