The Exit Interview: Dr Joanna McMillan, nutrition scientist and dietitian

THE TRAVELLER

Dr Joanna McMillan, one of Australia's best known nutrition scientists and dietitians, and author of the new book The Feel-Good Family Food Plan: Everything you need to feed your family well, every day with Melissa Clark, on sale from March 3 (Murdoch Books).

NUMBER OF COUNTRIES VISITED

my goodness! I got to 20 and then lost count. I love to travel.

MY WORST PASSPORT MISHAP WAS...

packing at midnight the night before flying on my own back to Scotland with my two young children, only to realise my five-year-old's passport had expired. I didn't sleep, got to the passport office at 9am and burst into tears. They were amazing, sorted out an emergency passport and all the staff cheered me out of the door that afternoon just in time to make my flight.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS

six as my first overseas trip was a ski holiday with my family in Italy.

MY PASSPORT PHOTO IS

often not recognised by the Smart Gates. Perhaps it's because my photo has me with a pixie haircut I had for 15 years, but I have now grown it long. I might be kidding myself though – perhaps I have just aged a lot since that. My passport does expire next year so I am almost a decade older.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO

Scotland, where I grew up and where my parents and extended family live. It's still one of the most beautiful places I have been. I love walking and being in the hills is spectacular, especially if you get lucky with the weather.

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS

New Zealand. We were in the Marlborough wine region and it was just stunning. The wine was pretty fabulous too.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS

Kenya for Christmas. My elder brother lives in Nairobi and the entire McMillan clan are descending on Kenya to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. My Mum's wish was to witness all her grandchildren seeing wild animals for the first time. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO

my husband and my kids seeing a totally different world and, like my mum, I can't wait to see my boys' faces as they view lions, giraffes and elephants in their natural habitat. It's a rare thing for the whole family to be together because we live across the globe, so this will be a pretty special trip.

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WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS

getting back to Europe and to Italy in particular. My husband has Italian grandparents and relatives there, but we have not travelled to Italy together. We always intended to have a honeymoon there but haven't had the opportunity yet even though we've been married for four years.

I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE

of the excitement of experiencing a slice of life in a different part of the world. Hearing different languages, learning about different cultures and history, eating different food and seeing the wonders, both natural and man-made, of the world broadens horizons and makes you think differently. Dealing with problems develops your skills in everyday life too.

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS

make the most of wherever you are, even if it doesn't quite turn out how you planned. Sometimes a mishap can turn into the best experience.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS

I'm way too trusting of people and have been scammed more times than I care to admit. It takes me a few days to get myself toughened up into travel mode, but I do get there in the end.

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

my attitude. I'm pretty good at rolling with the punches, sorting out things that go wrong and can while away hours in an airport if I have a good book.

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

people to chat to and laugh with – like [British comedian, actor and talk show host] James Corden and [American actor] Jennifer Lawrence because how much fun would that be?

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS

[British naturalist] Sir David Attenborough. The best voice in the business – I grew up listening to him. The work he continues to do educating and promoting the need for us to look after our natural world is extraordinary. He is irreplaceable.

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

[Scottish comedian] Sir Billy Connolly. I grew up laughing at his anecdotes about life and have loved his travel shows. On the very first trip I took with my husband Joel to Scotland, we landed at Aberdeen airport (which is tiny) and I said, "There's Billy Connolly!" Joel couldn't believe it and had to go and shake his hand.

AIRLINE FOOD IS

better than it used to be but – boy! – do I wish I could get involved to make it healthier! Qantas, if you're listening, let's talk?

AIRPORT SECURITY IS

laborious but essential. Some airports have got it nailed though, while some seem to make it more painful than necessary. Sydney airport has come on in leaps and bounds from when I first moved here 20 years ago. Compared with many airports overseas. it is seamless coming home.

HOTELS ARE

somewhere along the spectrum from completely fabulous, just a place to sleep, to "I don't want to put my bare feet on the floor or sleep in the bed". I have stayed in all classifications.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO

Patagonia on the southern tip of South America. I saw pictures from a friend of a friend's trip years ago and it is mind-blowingly beautiful. I love a trip that combines some sort of activity – usually skiing or trekking – with eating and drinking. The balance means you feel good at the end and you don't arrive home feeling revolting.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO

either of the Poles – North or South. Unless I'm skiing I'd always rather be in heat over cold. I can see that it is beautiful, but freezing temps is not for me. I moved to Australia from Scotland for a reason.

AISLE OR WINDOW AND WHY?

aisle always. I feel claustrophobic being boxed in at the window and you have to disturb two people every time you need to have to go to the toilet. My husband is the opposite. He hates being bumped repeatedly in the aisle seat by people and the trolley. That creates a problem when we travel together – one of us always has to take the short straw and sit in the middle.

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