Today I am talking to The Guy from Flights and Frustration. The Guy took his first flight in the late 90′s but have made up for it since with I estimate well over 1,000 take offs in an aeroplane since! He has been a frequent business traveller for 13 years and continues to cover the globe, visiting a long list of countries! As a frequent traveller who endures flights and frustration he felt inspired to begin his website to share those experiences. Let’s find out The Guy’s views on Travel…
What made you discover your passion for Travel?
Hey Sam. I suppose it all began in August 1993. It was summer break from my time at University and I went with 3 friends from school on a month’s inter-rail pass around Europe. It was very exciting to see so many diverse places with so much culture and history. I immediately fell in love with places like Prague and Rome. I think Prague was helped with the magic of walking across the Charles Bridge at around 6am on the day we arrived and seeing a model photo shoot take place. You just new this place was special.
As a child I used to spend all/most of my holidays in Ireland. My parents are from Dublin so we often went back. My mother hated flying so we always took the ferry. In fact I didn’t take my first flight until the late 90’s, I think it was between Christmas and New Year in 1996 or 1997 on a short trip to Paris.
Where is your most favourite place in the world and why? (that you have been to so far)
Oh this isn’t easy. I totally adore Prague, such a magical city with so much history, beautiful architecture and easy to get around. Quite reasonably priced too. I also love it each time I go to Queensland in Australia. The climate is fabulous, so tropical; the beaches wonderful and stunning scenery. I remember my first ever flight to Mackay and I was stood in the airport waiting for my luggage, I looked around and literally everybody in the airport had a smile on their face! I don’t ever remember seeing that anywhere else but having ventured out I can understand why. Queensland should be called God’s land in my view.
What 5 things could you not travel without?
Wow, good question. I think I featured some of these in my Luxury Essentials For A Trip articles
1) iPod – I suspect this might be a universal one. With long flights and weeks away we always need good music or a podcast.
2) Shure earphones – I love these and was blown away the first time I tried them. I’d only consider Bose as an alternative.
3) Kindle – Since these came on the scene they’ve been an ultimate travel companion. So many books in one place plus free web browsing!
4) Netbook – I’m not big on tablets as I think they are quite restrictive. Having a netbook allows me to do so much more and update my blog 🙂
5) Skype – Yet another great invention. With some long trips away it is great to be able to have long calls with my fiancee and not worry about the cost. I do have a work mobile but feel very guilty if I run up a large telephone bill, Skype helps solve that dilemma.
Are you a daredevil? What is the craziest thing you have done while travelling?
Hmm, not sure I’d view myself as a daredevil. Often my trips now are work related so there is little free time to do anything beyond the pale. I see a lot of airports, offices and hotels but do from time to time get some weekends or extended trips to play. I think the craziest was August 2008. I extended my work trip to Cairns (Aus) by a week and did both a tandem sky dive and got my PADI Scuba Diving certificate. That certainly was a week to remember.
What have you got left to tick off on your bucketlist?
There are two things that immediately spring to mind. I’ve covered all the continents bar one so I’d love to some day go to the Antarctic. I know it’ll be freezing cold but how many people do you know who’ve been to every continent. I also love watching penguins, so cute and funny I could do that all day.
I’d also love to go to New Zealand at some point. I hear so many wonderful stories about how beautiful it is. The Kiwis are also more laid back than the Aussies so I know I’ll be welcome.
You are only known as ‘The Guy’, what made you come up with this name for yourself? What do you like about being anonymous?
I wanted to get across the fact that my views are not always entirely unique. I’ve travelled a lot and still have to with work. When I have a good old rant I’m trying to emphasis the point that other people share the same frustration. I could literally be “any” Guy travelling having a moan so the name “The Guy” seemed appropriate. We all travel at some point and have to endure selfish, dumb, irritating and crazy people. If people can relate to my frustrations then it is their frustration not just my own.
What do I like about being anonymous? Well it is good fun really. I get a lot of people asking who I am. It is kind of a game really and a few fellow bloggers have spent hours researching to try and find out who I am. Thanks to registration restrictions on some social media and blogging sites they’ve succeeded too. It’s all a bit of fun really although a small minority become a little bit rude about it and don’t understand the branding.
Can you tell us more about your 17 month secondment in the Middle East?
It initially began as a 5 month project but was continuously extended. At the time I was working for a big accounting firm and they had a major project with a client based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was certainly different! The perks were great though. Not only did I get an inflated salary and free accommodation, but on top of my annual leave I received a week off a month with a generous flight allowance. It was a great chance to go and explore the world every month. All I had to do was pay for my hotels and any local tours (the inflated salary helped with that). It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it made me used to jetting off somewhere every month.
Do you have any more travel plans currently in the pipeline?
Well, it is a big year for me as I’m getting married soon. Believe it or not but my bride-to-be hates flying! She is brave enough to fly in Europe though so we are going to Sardinia for 2 weeks which should be fab. We’ve got our own villa by the beach with a private pool, we can’t wait!
On the work front I’ve got a few trips to the US coming up, a trip to Hamburg (which is beautiful place) then a trip combining Brazil and Chile.
What are your 3 biggest travel frustrations?
Gosh, I’ve got a website dedicated to this! I suppose my biggest frustration is noise pollution. When travelling you are bundled together with a whole load of strangers and some of my flights can take 14 hours+. I hate it if someone is constantly sniffing; get a hanky/tissue for goodness sake and give us all a rest.
I do drive a fair bit when working so get quite irate with stupid drivers. Many things drive me to distraction but I probably hate most seeing people driving whilst holding a hand held mobile phone. It is so darn dangerous and I don’t appreciate them putting my and other people’s life at risk for some stupid phone call which can wait.
As for the last one, well I suppose it is US Airways. Cheap shot I know but they didn’t adopt much by way of quality customer service a few years ago. I was due to fly home from Philadelphia but my flight was delayed around 27 hours due to a technical problem with the plane – effectively their fault. Even though I was flying Business Class (I’m lucky I know) they didn’t put me up in a hotel and gave me a couple of low value food vouchers to use over 24 hours in the airport food courts. When I complained they said that since it was a US-Europe flight I was not entitled to any compensation and it was tough luck. (Had it been a US domestic flight I would have more rights!). They offered some lousy discount voucher on a future US Airways (full priced flight). I never want to use their airline again so I didn’t accept.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Crikey, I’m not sure. (This feels like a job interview 😉 ) I love my job in the work I do and the travelling for free! My future bride fully understands this and knows that when I’m happy she’s happy. I suppose I’ll keep doing this as long as practically possible although my travel might have to slow down a little bit by then.
Quick Fire Faves
City – Prague
Beach – Pelangi beach in Langkawi
Airline – Emirates although it is a toss up with Singapore and Virgin Atlantic
Accent – Irish
Food – Hard to say. Although the best food I ever ate was at a small restaurant/bar run by a lady called Uma on Langkawi near Pelangi beach. That was back in 2000 though so I’m not sure if she is still there.
Cocktail – I’m not a cocktail person. I drink beer (bitter to be precise) or red wine and the very rare Port.
Film – Baz Luhrman’s “Romeo and Juliet” closely followed by Before Sunrise and Singles (starring Bridget Fonda and Matt Dillon)
Material Possession – Tough one. I suppose it is a toss up between my kindle and my iPod. Both have become items I would replace immediately if I lost them or they broke on me.
Thank you very much for participating in Totally Travel Talk at Totally Sam’s World.
Safe and happy travels, keep us posted!