Frequent Flyer: Dave Best

This lifelong walker loves to roam across Europe and Asia.

Q You've just returned from France. Where were you walking?

A We followed the Robert Louis Stevenson trail. In the late 19th century the lovelorn writer went to France for a fortnight's walking to try to forget the lady in question. Out of this visit came Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. The French have waymarked his route, with great success.

Q You're exploring Sri Lanka next year. Why?

A It has history, culture and natural beauty in spades. We'll be learning about Buddhism, visiting the mediaeval capital of Polonnaruwa, tea estates in the hills and going on safari to see elephants and leopards.

Q What's in your hand luggage?

A Having had my camera stolen from checked-in luggage last year, I now stick its replacement in hand luggage, plus all other valuables, a toothbrush and my Kindle. Life without books is unimaginable.

Q Best travel advice you've received?

A Don't try to see five countries in a week. Try to get a little bit under the skin of maybe just one, two at the outside.


Q Most challenging aspect of travel?

A Sitting in planes overnight, and jet lag.

Q It's said you're always on the lookout for good coffee. Best brew?

A I'd have to say Australia, certainly in the cities, but Italy can run pretty close. Once in Hanoi I was put on the spot by a local guide who extolled the virtues of squirrel-poo coffee. The guests made me drink it and it was fine, the taste not noticeably altered.

Q Oddest request from your tour guests?

A I was once asked to accompany Norwegian and Swedish cyclists from Perth to Sydney, driving a bus with a big bike trailer. The two groups famously disliked each other and this tour was no exception, with the Swedes calling the Norwegians "drunken dogs" one rowdy evening. One of the Norwegians told me that by the end of the tour the fiords and mountains back home were looking pretty good.

Dave Best leads a tour to Sri Lanka on April 14-27, next year. See