Paul Middleditch : Five places that changed my life

ISTANBUL

I visited Istanbul in 2006 and I was absolutely struck by the incredible history and vibrant culture of the city. I was really fascinated by the Siege of Constantinople and I wanted to see that astonishing history right in front of me. Istanbul is the crossroad between Asia and Europe and it was amazing to immerse myself in that. The people there are so welcoming and warm and it was a truly magical place to visit.

MALAMALA, SOUTH AFRICA

In 2001, I went on safari at MalaMala in South Africa. I was able to see African wildlife up close. I love animals and it was an experience so out of the ordinary and unbelievable. I've always supported rhino conservation, and I saw a young white rhino while I was there, which is a memory I treasure.

MALDIVES

For my 40th birthday, I took all my friends to the Maldives. It's such a stunning part of the world. It was one of the most wonderful and personal journeys I've been on with my wife, and definitely one of the most beautiful and amazing places I've been.

NEW YORK

New York is such a special place to visit. I went in 1993 specifically to see the abstract expressionist work of the 1950s. Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still and Willem De Kooning are some of my favourites. It was incredibly inspiring to see these works in real life. What was so extraordinary was the scale of them and being able to appreciate their size and impact. I had only seen photos of these works in art books so to see them hung up was an astonishing experience.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

I was born and raised in Wellington. It's my home. I love the beauty of the city and having grown up there, I have so many memories of it from my childhood. I spent a lot of time walking along the coast line, dreaming of what my life would be like, where I would go and the places I would see. I've been lucky enough to have a life filled with travel, but Wellington will always be one of my favourite places to go back and visit.

Paul Middleditch is the most awarded Australia-based director of commercials, with eight Cannes Lions, four of which are gold, and many international and national awards to his credit.  He recently directed Air New Zealand's "Better Way to Fly" campaign. See  youtube.com/watch?v=zfYremYjL1o

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