My travel life: Richard de Crespigny, Captain, Airbus A380

Richard Champion de Crespigny, Captain, Airbus A380, is a heroic international pilot who safely landed a stricken plane with catastrophic engine failure in Singapore in 2010, saving the lives of all 469 passengers on board. His first book, QF32, was an international bestseller, and he released his second, Fly! Life Lessons from the Cockpit of QF32, late last year.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

About 100.

AISLE OR WINDOW

Definitely window. The sights from height (up to 43,000 feet) of nature are too beautiful to ever ignore or take for granted. I always see a bushfire at some stage during every four-hour transit over Australia. Every sunrise and sunset reminds me of humanity's trivial place in the universe.

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS/MISADVENTURES?

On my first overseas trip at 17, I met and travelled with a (much older and beautiful) female companion. Telling her I was 25 years old was good, but it was bad to subsequently let her carry my passport which I realised was a disastrous mistake when she subsequently ordered me a "bambino" serving at an Italian restaurant.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS...

My wife, Coral, and I recently visited Oslo, Norway, and Nice in France for three weeks to spend time with the families that were Coral's Rotary exchange "student parents" in the late 1970s. It was wonderful to catch up with these families and friends who deep-down, after a 40-year absence, have not changed.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS...

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March to talk to an assembly of the world's health ministers about bringing elements of aviation resilience into medicine.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO...

Creating lifetime memories of another country and its people. The hippocampus in our brain creates stronger and more persistent memories when they are encoded with places and shared events.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS...

Hoping to convince the conference of national health ministers representing over 100 countries that by improving systems, leadership, governance and culture, that we can improve medical safety and save probably at least 1 million people on the planet from preventable deaths – as a result of medical errors – every year.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE...

I enjoy meeting people and touring magnificent landscapes, while contact with other cultures reminds us that people worldwide have similar goals – peace, happiness and a good future for our children.

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MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS...

It's better to spend more time in any one country to know it better, than less time to tour more countries superficially. While landscapes and structures can be good tourist attractions, it's the people and culture that comprise the essence of a country.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS...

Over-packing. It's easy to buy clothes you've forgotten, and you often buy local fashions along the way, which evoke wonderful memories even years later.

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

Not planning too far ahead when driving. Coral and I like to be impetuous, so we don't pre-book accommodation. Instead, when tired, we drive to the top of the biggest hill to find a hotel with views, or the lowest point for a hotel on a river or lake. We have discovered wonderful hotels using this flexible (but sometimes stressful) technique.

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

Two successful people who have opposing risk appetites, like Elon Musk, with his intrepid approach to life, risk, disruptions and harnessing opportunities, and Warren Buffett to discuss his resilience and philanthropy.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS...

Neil Armstrong, the most famous human traveller of our time. He had all of the elements of resilience in bucketloads, was a quiet achiever, and both changed, and united, humanity. When challenged by adversity, I often think, "what would Neil do?"

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

David Attenborough. He is the best ambassador for planet Earth and its species, and no one understands nature's resilience better than he.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO...

The US. With a few exceptions, the American people are overwhelmingly intelligent, friendly and kind.

AIRLINE FOOD IS...

In my airline – extraordinary. In my 43 years of flying, I don't know one person who has ever been poisoned by airline food. When the crew meals don't interest me, I often enjoy an economy salad.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS...

Frustrating but a great deterrent to block the threat of the very few people who want to create fear, doubt and uncertainly.

HOTELS ARE...

As good as their leaders, teamwork and culture. You can tell the hotels that look after their staff; their workers turn up with the right attitude, face their guests, step up and take risks to make their guest's day.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO...

Antarctica, the windiest, coldest and highest continent. It's also the driest, even though sea levels would rise nearly 58 metres if its ice sheets, with a maximum thickness of 4776 metres, melted.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO...

Any war zone or dangerous area. We can learn more by studying the elements of resilience of the many successful countries rather than by subjecting ourselves to learn about the poor leadership and cultures of the few that have failed.

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