My travel life: Human Nature's Toby Allen

THE TRAVELLER

Toby Allen is a member of Australia's leading pop vocal group Human Nature. The group have had five No. 1 albums, close to two dozen Top 40 hits, and sold millions of records around the world in their 30 years together.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

I think it's 39.

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS?

My biggest passport moment was a couple of years ago when I "lost" both my Aussie passport and my Green Card. It involved, of course, a trip to LA from Vegas to get an emergency passport. Then I left the US to Australia with a photocopy of my Green Card and returned to LAX only to be sent to that room off to the side that you never want to go to. There, I was told that it was a federal offence to photocopy a Green Card. After five hours, an FBI check and about US$600 to get a stamp in my passport, I was free to go. It was only on my next few trips back through LAX that I realised that the stamp was like a red flag to a bull and off I went every time to that awful room. Six months later, I found both my passport and Green Card. Aarrgghh!

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT

when I was 16, in 1989. We were about to go on holidays to Europe when they came back and told me I wasn't an Australian citizen – despite having lived my whole life (bar one year) in Australia. I was born in New Guinea before it joined Papua after their independence. So I was naturalised at 16.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

what I would probably look like if I hadn't slept for about seven days. I don't know what possessed me to look so blank-faced and dead pan.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

Australia because it's the best. It's one of the great things about living overseas. I always get so stupidly excited at the thought of coming home. The coffee, the beaches, a pie.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

Australia. We came back last August from the US for a couple of weeks to release our latest album and also announce our Little More Love Tour that will bring us back this April/May.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

Australia. We will be home for about a month, touring around the country celebrating 30 years as a group.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

seeing my sister and her family. It has been way too long since we've hung out and she makes the best sausage rolls (I always try and hint to her big time about them). And the idea of catching up with folks is always big on the agenda when I come back to Oz. Often it will be on a particular day where I say, this is where I'm going to be and when – and hopefully people can make it.

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WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS

to be able to look out into the crowds at our shows and be reminded again of the history we've all shared. Not just the four of us, but the fans as well. Some of them have been there since day one. Seeing their joy in what we do brings me joy in return. It's a pretty cool thing to travel home for.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

I really love the escape of it. And I even mean the flight, chilling out and maybe watching a movie or reading. I guess it's the break from routine that I enjoy. I also get to play my games more than I do at home. I'm still a bit of a gadget lover.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

to try and suss out, as early as possible on a flight, whether Chatty McChatchat is sitting next to me and decide how quickly I need to deploy the headphones. But the flip side is that I've often received some of my best travel advice from my travel neighbours, so I've learned to take more time before lunging for my music.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

pretty much consistently overpacking. There are either too many tops, or that pair of shoes I never get to wear. I know there could always be an emergency where I might need the excess, but then again there is always washing. Or shopping.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS

what I wear on the plane. When you're comfy on a plane it can make the whole trip much more bearable. And slip-on shoes for US immigration. But why do we still have to take our shoes off?!

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE

John Cleese, because he's hilarious, although when I start quoting Monty Python and Fawlty Towers he'd probably reach for his headphones. And on the other side maybe [American singer-songwriter] Maxwell. His Urban Hang Suite album is one of my all-time faves and a go-to on flights for me.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

George Clooney playing Ryan Bingham in the film Up in the Air. The precision of the non-stop walk through airport security is something to aspire to.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS

[Scottish actor] Ewan McGregor. His series Long Way Round looked like a lot of fun and what a great way to see parts of the world.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

not something I get really excited about. I do, however, enjoy the breakfast the most. Oh, and the snacks during the flight if they have them.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

so much better in Australia than in the US.

HOTELS ARE

sometimes fun if they are exceptional. While travelling I find I don't spend a huge amount of my time in them. I'm out and about wherever I am, enjoying what there is to discover.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

Antarctica. I have always been intrigued by it. I'm sure it's vastly different than I expect, but I would love to be able to see it before it changes too much more.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

Syria. I think the reasons are obvious.

AISLE OR WINDOW?

Aisle. I'm a guy who likes to get up every now and then. There's nothing worse than waking people to get out, or whacking your head on the overhead bins as you try and do that gymnastic vault to launch yourself over everybody.

Toby Allen will appear in Human Nature's Little More Love Tour in Melbourne on May 1 and 2, and in Sydney on May 10 and 11.

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