Interview with a globetrotter #4

Well globetrotting buddies, this week you are privileged to be hearing from one of the main inspirations leading to your current day GTG, so get yourself a cup ofsingle origin tea or something just as classy as we catapult Marnee Wong straight to globetrotting pedigree 🙂

Dad and Marn

Name: Marnee Wong

Age: 49

Home area: Nimbin NSW, Australia (upbringing courtesy of Ontario Canada)

GTG: Describe your ultimate trip.

MW: I would love to tour Mongolia, particularly getting time on their amazing ponies.

GTG: Do you have any airport security horror stories?

MW: I was in the UK for 9/11 with a flight the first day (Sept 14th) of flights after the attacks. The chaos of that day I hope to never repeat in my travels.

GTG: What discovery from your travels so far has surprised you the most?

MW: How resilient humans are. No matter how hard the climate, the political situation or the problem, people make the best they can for their families and themselves.

GTG: What is the best food you’ve had on your travels?

MW: For me, food is tops in travel importance. But picking one, it has to be yum cha (dim sum.) It’s the Chinese answer to big chain restaurants…anywhere you go in the world where the Chinese have been you can get lunch with many of the same dishes wherever you go.

GTG: Where’s the place you’ve been that you least expected to see yourself?

MW: Would have to be Papua New Guinea. It is one of the least touched, most fascinating places I’ve ever  been. Like being in the deepest darkest reaches of the earth just 3 hours from home. A must visit for the adventurous traveler and nature lover. The birds of paradise were a highlight of my travel life.

GTG: What happens in an average day away from home for you?

MW:  Average day – I like to just go with the flow and see where I end up…usually in a restaurant with the locals.

GTG: What would be the title of your travel memoirs?

MW: Travel with Taste (a cookbook/travel account)

GTG: What language other than English would you consider the most useful on the road?

MW: I don’t speak it but Spanish

GTG: Do you have any lucky charms you take with you?

MW: I have a purple velvet mouse, given to me by my uncle which he bought for me in Israel, named Oglethorpe. Where I go, Thorpe goes.

GTG: How do you respond to beggars?

MW: We all recognize that there are desperate people everywhere. For me, it’s about wanting something back, whether it’s a smile or a tune.

GTG: Where do you recommend as the best place to go on a low budget?

MW: To visit friends! I traveled for 3 months around the world and paid for just 5 nights accommodation…but I spent a lot of time organizing beforehand.

GTG: Where would be best to go with no budget constraints?

MW: No Budget Constraints – Bhutan. It’s $200 a day just to be there but is an untouched treasure.

GTG: What are the first things you would throw out in a baggage weight limit crisis?

MW: I’m very careful about how much I carry so this isn’t a problem. But I guess it would have to be books…I always have too many.

GTG: How many long term friends have you made on your travels?

MW: So many it’s hard to count!! Where I now live I came to while traveling, met my partner while traveling and keep traveling to see them all as much as possible.

GTG: What do you notice is the main difference between people who travel and people who don’t?

MW: The big difference to me is that many who don’t travel think that travel is not a choice but a piece of luck (‘You’re so lucky to have been to – .) Travel is always hard work, whether it’s getting the cash or sorting visas, but the choice is worth the trouble.

GTG: Where is the top of your list to visit?

MW: Mongolia

GTG: Where do you think is most important to see with a local person?

MW: The restaurants, of course! Locals always know the best spots to get the local flavours.

GTG: On that note, what are your tips for meeting local people?

MW: I like markets, particularly food markets (of course!) Everyone has to eat and at markets there are people of all walks and all ages.

GTG: What’s the worst thing you’ve seen someone do overseas?

MW: Hmmm there are so many. It is a toss up so you decide. First: I heard an ugly American say to his daughter, ‘Why would I carry my bag (the 300m or so) when I can pay a dollar and have him (thumb shoved at nicely ignored Cambodian) do it?’ Second: In Papua New Guinea the lovely folks I stayed with on the East Sepik had a tiny, new set up. Very basic, but clean and friendly. A Swiss woman, upset with the cost charged by her tour group and having been turfed from her original hotel, kept complaining that it wasn’t 5 star. I thought she should have googled the place…we were 4 hours by 4wheel drive and 2 hours by boat from the nearest town. What did she expect?

GTG: What’s the difference between a backpack and a suitcase trip for you?

MW: Adventure. The suitcase is for when you’re getting a cab to the hotel. The backpack is for when you’re taking the 2 hour boat trip to the walking track to the cabin.

GTG: Finally, what keeps you ready to head off again?

MW: Friends. There are always so many to visit and so many more to meet.

Well the GTG once again thanks all GTG hall of fame entrants and is on the hunt for our next globetrotting celebrity so happy reading and till next week 🙂