Michael Clinton is the quintessential globetrotter having travelled to more than 120 countries around the world. This number continues to grow annually. In his latest book, The Globetrotter Diaries, he provides an in depth account of his travels, while narrating tales, giving tips and tactics for travelling the seven continents. He speaks about his passion, “Travel and photography have become my own personal answer to a lifelong search for knowledge and understanding, and it has been my key to the inner calm and happiness we all search for in our lives.” Words well said.
Interview by Krishani Pieris
You were twelve years old when you first determined to pursue travelling. When you look back now what differences do you see between your younger self and now?
Actually, when it comes to travel, I don’t see much difference. I still have a sense of wonder when seeing the world.
How has travelling changed since then?
In those days, flying was a special experience. Today, it is more like transportation. Then add in security, crowds and delays.
You have written several books. What led you to pen down your thoughts and experiences?
I re-read years of journals that I kept when I travelled and it made me realise that I had a lot of great stories to share with people.
What was the most memorable, thrilling experience/journey you’ve ever experienced?
There have been so many, but one of them has to be sleeping out in the open air on the Antarctic ice.
You describe that your addiction to travelling is similar to having a ‘love affair with exploring the world’. Can you elaborate on this.
When you are in love, you want more of that person. Need I say more?
How do you balance your day to day responsibilities with your travel plans?
Precision planning. I’m fortunate that over the years I’ve had a lot of business travel. Finding the pockets of slow time in business is the time to plan a great adventure trip.
Now travel has become more convenient with the development of new technological feats. Therefore, in your eyes how has travel and the world changed through the years? Do you think such conveniences might have taken some of the fun or the challenges away from the travels?
The ultimate travel luxury is to leave all of your devices at home and experience the trip. That being said, many of the new apps and websites are perfect tools for planning and managing a trip.
What inspirations have you drawn from your travels and how has it influenced you in your life?
The realisation that people all over the world have the same goals…Security, happiness for themselves and their families, prosperity.
Different countries have different cultures, how do you adjust and make your way through these societies and what have you learned from these journeys?
Total immersion. Leave your own cultural perspective at home. Learn what makes the locals tick.
What is the best advice you can give for people when travelling?
Go with the flow. It won’t all play out the way you planned it…So embrace that.
The book is similar to a guide for travellers as well as an enjoyable read for people who don’t travel as much. Therefore, who was the target audience of the book and what was your intention behind it?
I wanted to reach people who have the dream to travel, as well as the people who do the travel. If you have any sense of wanderlust, you’ll enjoy this book.
The book is a very easy read and the words just flow through. It also has pictures, but they are in black and white instead of colour. What is the reason behind this?
I wanted to give the book a feel of an old fashioned journal, a traveller’s report.
When you travel, do you prefer to travel alone or in a group? If so why?
I like it both ways. You can absorb a lot on your own, but it is also fun to share the everyday experiences of travel with family and friends.
What is your definition of a globetrotter?
Someone who is as comfortable in Shanghai as in Seattle.
When will you visit Sri Lanka?
It is at the top of my list.
If you dream about travelling, start today. The world awaits you.