Travel Tales: Jamie Durrant, Editor, Essentials Magazine

Name: Jamie Durrant

Age: 38

Occupation: Travel Magazine Editor

Favourite travel destination?: Rarotonga, Cook Islands, mainly because it’s ever so laid back. I was utterly struck by the ‘let it all hang out’ lack of body image awareness – perhaps due to the lack of any advertising/brand images on the island, or perhaps because bigger is seen to be better, or stronger in the cooks (so I’m told).
Adding to the beauty of the ‘walk from your ever so affordable accommodation directly to the perfect beaches’ was the fact that you’re surrounded by reef. No need to hitch a ride off shore (like in Oz), just dive in and snorkel with the fishes and sea cucumbers!

On my first day’s stroll down the local village street of Arrorangi, I was called over to the beach by some locals and offered a beer. We swapped fishing stories, joked about Jaws and has a fascinating conversation about interior design or the lack of and the real need for a decent whipper snipper.

For an island with amazing crystal clear waters and incredibly talented dancers and musicians, I was surprised to learn that it’s the only place in the world that ranks gardening pride over the need for electrical lighting. Many thumbs up!

Worst travel experience?: Somewhere out past Omeo in a distant valley of Victoria’s High Country, sleeping the night in a beautiful, authentic cattlemen’s hut on the night of a brutal storm.
With the hut home-fires burning, the wind somehow managed to blow every lump of soot, every stink of smoke and every icy wind-gust from outside, down the chimney and back into the hut!
My partner and I ended up coughing and choking for eight hours straight, we didn’t sleep a wink. For weeks after we both had serious chest infections. Boy, it’s tough being The Man from Snowy River!

Best tips for beating jetlag?: Get over it, it’s gonna happen! However, I suggest to start by syncing yourself with the time of your destination. In many cases this means staying up as late as possible and making a mess of yourself on the plane by drinking loads and loads of gin and tonic. Basically, just pretend you’re at a great party.
Eventually you’ll knock yourself out good ‘n proper and sleep for the rest of the trip! Hopefully you’ll land and get through customs quickly and then head to the nearest sun lounge (on a top beach) for more sleep!
Additional tip: Do drink responsibly, and what ever you do, don’t say the word ‘bomb’ on a plane!

What is the one thing you don’t leave home without?: Information! I like to know exactly what to do, how to speak, when to talk and how to call for help should something go wrong at my arrival destination! A wad of cold hard cash is always helpful…

Do you stay in touch with people while you’re travelling? If so, what is the best way to do this?: Email or social networking if I must, however, wasn’t the idea of this travel thing to get away from it all? Leave the communication thing with people back home alone, you’re in a new land – go out and meet somebody!

Best meal you’ve ever had while travelling?: A homemade degustation that I smuggled onto the plane and snacked on just like Hannibal Lecter. The meal included pork terrine, mushroom and truffle risotto, French cheeses with crusty bread, olives and charcuterie and a small bottle of premium Yarra Valley pinot noir – no brains!

Best kiss?: Under a palm tree in the middle of the night – all very unexpected; and romantic!

Best/scariest/funniest drive?: My two female companions decided to whisk away their ice-cold body pains away by telling me all of their worst sexual experiences in extreme detail.

What has been the big WOW moment of your travelling life?: I must say this is rarely about the location, more over the people. I recently met some new life-long friends in the King Valley wine region at the incredible Fit for a King Festival – it’s simply amazing how ‘getting out there’ can change your life for the better.

Image caption: Not too far from home, however one of the best experiences of 2010 thus far! Meeting the highly acclaimed chef Roi Rigoni. With much apprehension I was to be taking food photos and study this man’s super-food talents. Instead I spent the night sampling and sipping nearly every dish and wine on the menu and grinned as Roi smiled back at me, talking me through each plate with child-like pride. Every ultra-pleasing mouthful of his impeccable flavour profiles were to die for. Roi was like a father, brother and best friend all at the same time. We laughed and talked with his beautiful wife and restaurant manager Sue and decied to take the magazine food photos on another day. Bless Sue and Roi!

Jamie Durrant is the Publisher of Essentials Magazine – a magazine of culture and culinary adventure.

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