My travel life: Comedian Jean Kittson

Jean Kittson, actor, comedian, radio presenter, comedy debater, speaker and author, whose book We Need To Talk About Mum & Dad: A Practical Guide To Parenting Our Ageing Parents was released this month.

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

24

MY WORST PASSPORT MISHAP WAS...

driving into Spain in an old French car. Border security waved us though thinking we were French but when I tried to leave Spain for Morocco, I didn't have an entry visa. There was much shouted questioning by people who remembered Franco fondly.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN

I was 20, in 1975.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

enough to convince AI and most humans. So, I'm happy.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

Italy. Pasta. Classic sculpture. Renaissance gardens. Shopping.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

Porto in Portugal in 2017 to launch a ship. It took three attempts to break the champagne bottle, which was a little un-Australian. But beautiful river and pastries.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

Europe, by trains, in winter, for family bonding – my family cannot escape from trains. Many museums, much history, also many wine regions.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS

not to hurry, to feel inspired, to share wonders. To spend whole days, even weeks, in one evocative location. And to take a river cruise in Portugal along the Douro.

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I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

there are none of the responsibilities and time constraints of everyday life. I hardly look at my watch when travelling, or even my phone. It is liberating not to follow plans and do whatever you fancy, wherever you are; just be in the moment, in a place you may not even know how to spell.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

travel light with one suitcase, and very few key things in the calendar. Check DFAT advisory, catch plane, locate suitcase, find accommodation, then go walking and see what happens.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

to believe that I don't want to compromise spontaneity by carrying a map and then discover that some fabulous museum or restaurant or garden was just around the corner. Also, bottled water really is a good idea.

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

finding the best place for coffee, often on the last day of a stay.

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

[American author and travel writer] Bill Bryson, who makes every aspect of travel absorbing and entertaining, even when he can't locate a toilet or remember the name of his hotel. And on the other side, [Australian comedian, actor] Denise Scott.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

[Welsh historian and travel writer and trans woman] Jan Morris, who is insightful, fearless, moving, funny and revealing.

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

[English writer and popular historian] Tom Holland. His histories are time travelogues. Wherever we go he would know what happened before we got there.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

variable, but generally deals with hunger. I have sympathy for airlines. They must think, "We've devoted billions of dollars and a century of research to take people over distances and to destinations their grandparents could only read about, and even put tiny TV sets in arm rests, and all you people do is complain about the omelettes."

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

necessary, thorough and even friendly. I follow all instructions, even when I have to ask them to help me get my shoes back on.

HOTELS ARE

the best places to have a bath and feel that you have deserved it.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

the Antarctic. I have seen the movie and read the book and now I would like to marvel at what a frozen world actually looks like.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

Los Angeles, because why would you go there except to work? As Dorothy Parker says, 'there is no there, there."

AISLE OR WINDOW?

Window. I always sleep on planes, even the shortest domestic flights. With a window seat I can rest against the fuselage and nod off. On the aisle, when I sleep I look like Homer Simpson. Then again, I also believe that if I can't hear me snore, neither can anyone else.

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