The five things travel has taught me: Gillian English, comedian

Tasmania-based Canadian comedian and actor Gillian English is the director of Hobart's Fringe at the Edge of the World festival. Her new solo show "You're a Good Man Dr Pirate" is on at Brisbane Comedy Festival, March 17-22. See


I once went on a road trip with some young Aussies I met in a hostel in Hawaii. They were going up to the north shore of Oahu to go cliff jumping. I just wanted to see the north shore. But these youths were very keen on getting me to jump off the cliff.I thought, "Aha! I was warned there would people like you: peer pressurers who want me to jump of off cliffs! No thank you!" But when we got there, everyone was jumping off a cliff, and it looked like a good time. So, I jumped off a cliff, and it was the best. Join in sometimes – it's fun.


If you book window seat 9A on a certain airline's Boeing 737, there will be no window. There will just be wall, and it will be very disappointing. And if someone makes a big deal about "upgrading" you to a "much nicer" hotel room out of nowhere, for seemingly no reason, and then you discover that that hotel room has a mirrored ceiling? Wear full coverage pyjamas, because there is definitely a camera in that ceiling.


In Brighton, England, I arrived at my hotel, walked through a broken door and found a "lobby" with shattered glass everywhere, sticky floors, and no furniture. Some unsavoury looking men were sitting on the floor. I thought "Oh, if they're staying here too, that makes me nervous." Then they got up, and went behind the reception desk. They told me the place was cash only, and check in was at three, so get out and come back then. I got out, but I did not go back. I went to the place with the mirrored ceiling.


I always pack an extra pair of undies in my carry-on. You never know when your plane will be indefinitely delayed. Also, pack all your undies. So many travel blogs say to save on space, and keep luggage weight down, only bring a few pairs of underwear, then wash as you go. Because everyone loves a holiday of scrubbing underwear in a hotel bathroom. And, washing is one thing, but once you've almost set your sheets ablaze whilst over-aggressively drying a pair of boy shorts with a dodgy hairdryer in Poland, you learn the truth. Forget the heavy shoes and bring all the undies you want.


If you go cycling around Rottnest Island in 40-degree heat, bring twice as much water with you as you think you'll need. No one ever got back from a long bushwalk, or big bike ride and said "Why did we bring all that water? We could have saved that space for heavy shoes and extra underwear."