When I met Michael Turtle of Time Travel Turtle I knew he was a fellow travel blogger but I didn’t realise we had a lot more in common.
As we got to know each other somewhere at sea between Wellington and Sydney we discovered that we had both been broadcast journalists and producers before starting our blogs and that we had both worked in breakfast radio and television; a lifestyle that can only truly be appreciated by those who have gotten up to go to work as the rest of their house has been going to sleep.
We’d both lived in London, we’d both been to a lot of the same places (okay, not too shocking considering we’re both Aussies and clearly addicted to travel) and then we started to realise we’d been at some of the same parties but had never met.
Apart from the fact that he’s so much fun to spend time with I asked Michael if he’d be up for being part of Ten Questions as I genuinely admire his travel blog.
Michael writes interesting, insightful and entertaining pieces, and he’s also done something I wish I’d thought of first: created a list of World Heritage Sites from around the world with links to the ones he’s visited so far. Not in a tick them all off before a certain birthday kind of way, but as a reminder of some of the most important places on the planet to visit.
How could I not want to pick his brain? Over to Michael…
What’s the best thing about your job?
I love the flexibility of what I do. I am not locked into working five days a week for a certain number of weeks a year. I can choose my projects and do a lot of my tasks from any country. That gives me the luxury of being able to catch up with friends all over the world and travel to be at special occasions like weddings – regardless of where they are.
If you could change one thing about your job what would it be?
Does inventing a teleporter machine count as changing something about my job? Ha! Although I love travelling around the world all the time I do miss being away from family and friends. The world is a pretty small place these days, so it’s not too bad, but I would love to be able to jump between all the places I needed to be much more easily.
What’s something about your role that you wish people understood?
A lot of people think I’m always going on ‘holiday’, I certainly try not to complain, because I’ve got a pretty cool job, but it’s sometimes hard to explain that it is a job. When I’m on a work trip, I may be in an amazing exotic location, but I’m often running around for 16 hours a day – collecting photos and information, doing interviews with people, racing between as many sights as possible, trying to do emails and writing in between. If only it was just a matter of lazing on a beach and drinking cocktails!! 🙂
What’s your favourite thing to do on your day off?
It sounds really pathetic (and maybe it is) but I love to just sit on a couch or lie in bed and watch a whole series of TV. It’s probably because I’m always running around so much the rest of the time. I tend not to watch more free-to-air TV these days because I think all the advertisements make it a waste of time. But ploughing through a whole box set of House of Cards or Game of Thrones is relaxing enough without making me feel too lazy!
What’s a cheap and cheerful food secret you (usually) only tell your friends?
Dumplings. I absolutely love dumplings. And the smellier, the better – so I usually go for something like pork and chives. There are lots of cool dumpling places these days but I love the cheap and cheerful ones in Chinatowns around the world where you get the MSG for no extra cost!
If money was no object, where would you go for lunch or dinner?
I don’t have particularly expensive tastes when it comes to food. But one of my favourite things to eat is ramen (with a starter of gyoza and beer and some sake at the end). I always think the best ramen is in Japan so, if money was no object, I would fly to Tokyo and have ramen!
Where do you take a friend when they come to visit?
When friends come to visit me in Sydney, I always like to take them for a walk somewhere along the water. My favourite is the Bondi to Bronte walk because I used to live right near it and would jog there all the time. Another favourite is just to go from Woolloomooloo around to The Rocks. And, although I’ve only done it a couple of times, the walk from The Spit to Manly is another one I would take friends to.
What’s the best shopping experience in town?
Shopping? Does Sydney have shopping? I can’t remember the last time I bought any new clothes in Sydney. It’s all too expensive these days! I think the best shopping experience in town is at the other end of a flight to Asia!
Is there a local tourist cliché that’s actually worth doing?
Getting the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly is a bit of a cliché but I would definitely recommend visitors to Sydney do it. The ferries are quite cool themselves and a special part of the city, the views you get along the way are stunning, and Manly is an interesting slice of Sydney because it shows you how you can feel like you’re on holiday even though you’re technically still in the middle of a huge metropolis!
Is there a tourist attraction nearby that you can’t believe you still haven’t visited yourself?
I have never done the climb on the Harbour Bridge. I guess it’s quite expensive and I’ve seen the bridge so many times in my life, it doesn’t seem like a must-do. But I feel like I should climb it one time – if only so I can start recommending it to visitors. Not all of them like being forced to walk with me for several hours!!
Amanda met Michael on his first cruise experience, which just happened to be on the biggest ship to ever be based in Australia. You can check out Michael’s story on that special Explorer of the Seas cruise here.
You can also check out Ten Questions with another great blogger I’ve travelled with, Dawn Jorgensen of the Incidental Tourist and squirm your way through some of the craziest things travel bloggers have eaten.