Writer Wednesday – Meet John Roberts
If you’re looking to stay fit and healthy on your travels, as well as enjoy spectacular photos that will make to book your next flight, than John Roberts has a book for you!
Writer Wednesday would like to introduce John Roberts.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I live in New Jersey but was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y. I love sports and played basketball and baseball a lot growing up. When my playing days ended, I wanted to still be involved, so I went to journalism school and became a sports writer. I worked in newspapers for 15 years before turning my eye toward traveling and travel writing.
I got hooked on traveling around age 30 after my first trip to Europe with my wife and two friends. This opened my eyes to all the amazing people and sites in the world that I just needed to see more of. I really enjoy the interaction with people and learning about different cultures and the history of places. I find it fascinating.
You write on your site In the Loop Travel about combining adventure and fitness into travel. What is your top tip for staying fit while travelling?
The best thing you can do, and it is not complicated at all is to just keep moving. What I mean is that you should aim to walk as much as possible to get from place to place. You’ll see more, be able to go at your own pace and find hidden gems in your destinations. What I am saying is to bypass taxis and tour buses as much as possible. I often will begin my first day in a new city with a little running photo tour. Go out for a jog and get lost in the city with your camera (smartphone). In general, I also try to start my day with a workout — either at a hotel gym or in a park, hotel room or beach — to get the blood flowing and to get energized and ready to tackle the day.
Have you ever travelled solo?
I traveled alone in Greece last summer, the first extended trip alone. I sailed with strangers who quickly became dear friends as we played in the waters and explored the Greek islands. Since then, I have also had solo trips in the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington state and on an expedition ship in Alaska.
How many countries have you visited?
I don’t have a precise count but it’s around 40. My newest is Slovakia, which I got to in June.
What is your favourite place and why?
No fair! I have had a wonderful time in almost every place I’ve been. But if you are making me pick, I’d have to say Myanmar (Burma). The small fishing villages on the upper Irrawaddy River are filled with beautiful and friendly people who are so welcoming and curious to meet people from the Western world. Tourism is just opening there, and it was heartwarming to see such innocence and happiness in a people who don’t have much but who never stop smiling. The children there will melt your heart. The are so charming and cute.
If you could describe your method of travel in one word, what would it be?
What is your must have travel accessory?
My backpack is invaluable to carry all my day tripping items, like snacks, water, camera accessories, layers of clothes, sunscreens, wipes, etc.
What is your most memorable travel moment?
When I was with Colleen (my wife) and my friend Matt and his wife in Brussels. We really had no plans for the day and settled in for a beer in the Grand Place to work out what we would do for the day. One beer became two and we ended up having the best day of drinking, eating and socializing with all sorts of people. We had dinner with a couple of lawyers from England at an Indian restaurant and then watched a cricket match at an Irish pub with a bunch of fans from Pakistan. It was the moment I knew I had to travel often and forever!
What is your dream destination?
Do you have any upcoming trips?
I will be heading soon to Barcelona to start a cruise to France, Italy and Monte Carlo before heading over to Greece for a week sailing the isles again.
How has travel changed you?
It has made me much more relaxed and thankful for the things I have and determined to make the best use of the precious time we have on earth.
How long did it take for your first book to come to fruition?
About one year.
What do you hope your readers will take away from Higher, Longer, Farther: Build Your Happy & Healthy Kickass Travel Lifestyle?
That they can design their lives to be what they want, whether it focuses on travel or anything else. If you put in a smart system and do what you love, you can filter out the unimportant stuff and focus on what make you happy.
Your book Faces of Burma is a photo essay of your time there. What about that time there made the biggest impact on you?
I was struck by the positive spirit of the people. Much of the population lives in poor circumstances and get by on subsistence living, but they are rich in love for their families and seem to always be smiling and enjoying their lives.
What do you hope your readers will take away from Faces of Burma?
I hope they can look at the pictures of these beautiful and smiling children and other people I highlight and feel like going there for a visit or just feel like smiling themselves.
Do you have any new books on the horizon?
I have a few ideas tumbling around in my head but I just have to find the time. That’s hard to do as you know when you want to always be out exploring!
Where is your favourite place to write?
I write best at home after a period of traveling. I can refer to my notes, clear my head and focus in one place.
What is your favourite travel book?
I like to refer to Lonely Planet’s “The Travel Book” an illustrated guide of every country in the world. I flip it open every so often to get inspiration and check out the places I’ve been and those where I want to go.
What is your favourite travel quote?
I like to say “I want experiences rather than things,” but my favorite is by Tim Cahill, editor at Outside magazine, who said “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.”
If you’d like to read more from John head over to his website In the Loop Travel, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram @looptravelpics. To purchase his book Higher, Longer, Farther: Build Your Happy & Healthy Kickass Travel Lifestyle click here, or Faces of Burma click here.
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