Another beautifully lost dreamer with an incurable case of wanderlust.

Totally Travel Talk with Michael

Today I am chatting with Michael Ball. Michael’s been working in the travel industry since 2010 and is one of the co-founders of Traverse Events, London Travel Massive and BlogStock. He grew up with a passion for travel; living in London, Bangkok, Melaka, Sarawak and Western Australia before the age of 12. He now spends most of his time in London, but still likes to travel as much as possible. Let’s find out Michael’s views on travel…

 Michael for TSW 1

What made you discover your passion for Travel?

Probably growing up with it. My first holiday was when I was three, to Barbados, but as a family we were always away, France, Spain and all over the UK. When I was six I moved to Thailand and loved the change in culture and meeting new people, I guess it’s all come from that.


Where is your most favourite place in the world and why? (that you have been to so far)

Such a tough one to call, different places are my favourite depending on my mood. New York is probably the best for when you’re by yourself, Sydney is the best place I have lived, but London is the best place on earth. Still, my favourite would be one of the Australia East Coast places, Byron Bay or Fraser Island I think, if I had to decide.

 Michael for TSW 4

Where are you currently based and what are you doing there?

I have been in Sydney for a month doing some work and catching up with a whole bunch of old friends from when I lived here. Although I am currently sat at the airport waiting to fly back to London.


You’re a man of many hats. What aspect of your job is your favourite?

I really love doing the events. They take so much work and are incredibly stressful, but ultimately so rewarding. In the last three years with our larger events, Traverse and BlogStock, we seem to have started something that people love, and that makes me really proud.


What would be your advice to an aspiring travel writer?

Develop your own style. So many writers, and this is not just in travel, get hung up on trying to emulate others, but the best writers have their own style, and that’s what you should try and do. Just write what you love and it’ll come to you. Also, don’t worry too much about how great your content is, I would read an article about repaving Heathrow airport if it was written in a way I liked, not everything you write about has to be awe inspiring or a ‘bucket list’ kind of piece.


What 5 things could you not travel without?
1)     a universal adaptor
     good headphones for a long flight
     spare socks
     a wifi device (smartphone basically)
     beer money


Are you a daredevil? What are the craziest things you have done during your adventures?

I wouldn’t say I am a daredevil at all, I like doing things that scare me a bit, but they have to be relatively safe! The scariest thing I have done before is bungee jumping, white water rafting was probably the most fun, but the craziest may have been cliff jumping at a quarry in Byron Bay, the top jump was about 20m up, you didn’t want to slip on the run up to that! Doing a bungee jump from a cable car in Latvia over a river, at night, may have been stupid as I have no idea at all what their safety regulations are like.

 Michael for TSW 5

What is the next achievement that you want to tick off on your bucketlist?

I don’t really tend to do the whole bucket list thing, I think when you try and make a list like that you’ll just get upset at all the amazing things you won’t have time for. I like to just do the things I can when I can. Still, I would love to do a proper road trip at some point soon, a few weeks with a bunch of people across Europe, Australia, Canada or the US. Also, I really, really want to watch football (soccer) in Argentina, the Super Classico, between Boca Juniors and River Plate is meant to be the best sporting event in the world to attend, plus the steak, wine and beautiful people of Argentina make that even more appealing!


What countries have been most inspiring to you and why?

Malaysia is just amazing, specifically Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo. The rainforest their rivals the Amazon and there are still so many untouched area. Plus less tourists than places like Vietnam, Thailand, Laos or Cambodia. I’ll never stop being amazed by just how lovely the South East Asian people are either, the reason I love travel the most is the people, and in the years I spend in SE Asia I could count the bad encounters I had with locals on one hand, and I was a bratty British kid!


Have you had any scary experiences while travelling?

I’ve had a few, encounters with some bigger sea creatures than I would have liked and getting a little too close to crocodiles. Ultimately I don’t know how dangerous they were though, but they scared me at the time! The most recent one was in Riga, it looked like one of the guys I was with was about to be killed by a man that we were sure had mafia connections, big, balled tattooed etc. So when it turned out our friend was chatting up who we presumed was his girlfriend and disappeared to ‘get friends’, we worries. Turned out he was just getting friends, and a whole bunch of drinks for all of us. We spend the whole evening joking around and still stay in touch. He’s a doctor, by the way, not a mafia henchman.

Do you have any more travel plans currently in the pipeline? 

I have my first family holiday in nine years at the end of July, Portugal with all six of us for my dad’s 60th, that’ll be great. Aside from that I am planning to go to Malta to see a friend for a weekend, that’s it. I have a really busy year with some events on in the UK so can’t do another long trip like this Sydney one.


Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Probably still wondering what the hell I am doing with my life! I really don’t know, maybe settled with a family in New York, maybe travelling solo through South America, it could be anything.

 Michael for TSW 3

Quick Fire Faves

City – Sydney for the people, New York for the bars, London for everything else
Beach – Any quiet beach with nice water, beers and friends
Airline – Singapore
Accent – Dutch
Food – Thai
Cocktail – Mojito
Film – Star Wars (although if it has to be travel based I would say The World’s Fastest Indian)
Material Possession- My watch, a 1954 Omega that my Granddad used to own. Everything else is replaceable.
Travel Quote – Dealing with global warming doesn’t mean we have all got to suddenly stop breathing. Dealing with global warming means that we have to stop waste, and if you travel for no reason whatsoever, that is a waste-  David Attenborough.

Michael for TSW 2

Thank you for taking part in Totally Travel Talk on Totally Sam’s World. Don’t forget to follow Michael on Twitter! Safe and happy travels.

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