Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Travel Guru Interview...

Rolf Potts has posted an inspiring interview with Clay Hubbs, the founder of Transitions Abroad magazine. I've excerpted a bit below, but it's worth your time to go to Rolf's site and read the whole piece - here's the link.


How did you get started traveling?

Clay Hubbs:

In the early sixties I joined the Air Force as an officer to see the world and avoid the draft, went to flight school, and got posted to a frontline nuclear bomber base in the U.K. After I resigned my commission to protest American involvement in Vietnam, my wife Joanna and my son Gregory and I went toodling off across North Africa and the Middle East in a used VW van, following the path of Alexander the Great. It was a wonderful trip -- filled with many adventures and breakdowns -- in which we fell in love with that part of the world and with travel. Joanna’s second pregnancy brought us back to the West before we could reach India, so in the mid-sixties we returned -- this time with two kids and a new bus. And this time we included the length of the Soviet Union in our itinerary.

On that first trip we left all our guidebooks behind -- not deliberately as I recall, but we never needed them. We were traveling to see for ourselves, and Herodotus was all we needed. Travel web sites and books today reflect the cowardice and lack of curiosity of so many would-be travelers. It seems that now folks like to read about risk-taking travel but they don’t want to do it. They want to find out everything before they go instead of discovering for themselves. They want to travel independently but with the reassurances of a package tour.

If we had followed the advice of guidebooks we would never have taken that first trip. We took some risks; that’s what made it exciting. But we trusted and listened to the local people, and because we did we were never in serious danger: We drove into Baghdad through streets lined with soldiers in foxholes, just after the dictator Kassim had been dragged through the streets, and were told we had 24 hours to leave the country. A friendly Iraqi jumped into our bus and directed us toward the Iranian border.


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