Downtime in North Western Cameroon

Downtime in North Western Cameroon

Profile piece in  Business Traveller magazine

What does your travel involve and why?

I take about 20 flights or more per year. I’m a filmmaker usually zipping around to remote places making films for brands or NGOs. I’ll jump on a plane, attempt to sleep, retrieve my camera kit, jump into a rugged Toyota Landcruiser and drive for 12 hours (I won’t be driving!).  It’s absolutely knackering but hugely energising at the same time. 

Most unusual place you’ve ever been?

The urban slums of Dhaka and Nairobi are hidden worlds where the conditions are terrible and human perseverance is at its peak. The desert of Eastern Sudan is hot and unforgiving. The people I live in hugely challenging environments. It’s hard to understand how they do it. I love my job because I get to see these places and film them.

Explain the challenges of travelling with film equipment. Has anything ever been damaged or lost?

It is always a bit stressful, especially making sure I don’t forget anything crucial! Like a battery charger. But I’ll keep my camera as hand luggage and hope the tripod makes it to the other side. 

You must have stayed in some pretty unsavoury hotels in your time...

The only thing I can’t stand is when a room is so dark that you can’t see how dirty it is. Or when the carpet is super sticky from years of abuse.

How could airports be improved?

They’re either too glitzy (like Heathrow T5) or they’re too basic and lacking facilities. Or they’re hell (JFK). They need to be more customer focused rather than trying to be a Elon Musk Mars colony.

How could in-flight service be improved?

TV screens on planes are always 10 years behind the cheapest current tablet. Why not develop some cheap noise cancelling headphones and loan them out during the flight? Why obsess with serving hot food when decent healthy cold food would work fine? Most people don’t want champagne. They just want to feel good at the end of the flight.

Indispensable travel gadget?

Noise cancelling headphones. A cheap back up phone you can put a local SIM into.

In-flight reading material?

The Week magazine. or a long novel. One of those kindles that lights up in the dark.

 

  A milk churn - a lovely gift from a cattle herder in North Western Cameroon

A milk churn - a lovely gift from a cattle herder in North Western Cameroon

Loveliest souvenir?

In Cameroon, a cattle herder presented me with a milk churn with bright tassles. While in Kenya, I was given a hand carved walking stick. I’m in my mid 40s but I thought that was a pretty thoughtful gift. It's not far off being used now!

Pipe dream destination

I want to go Patagonia and ride with the gauchos. Someone please send me there!