Name: Grant Martin
Occupation: Editor in Chief, Gadling.com, Huffington Post Media Group
Why do you love to travel?
I love observing bodies and culture in motion, the constant hum of Gare du Nord, the click and whirr of a 747 or the chaos of a busy street as seen from a cafe in Barcelona. Seeing cultures and lives interacting is an errand of non-stop consumption, and in a way it helps to calm and inspire me.
Who would be your ideal travel partner and why?
I would label my most interesting potential travel partner as Herodotus for all of the insight and stories that I could perceive through his lens. As far as an ideal travel partner, properly, anyone who is eager enough to see every corner of a city while patient enough to slum around hostels and cafes would work for me. It also helps if you’re extraordinarily patient and if you shower.
What’s been your favourite destination this year and why?
Well, I spent my 30th birthday in a beautiful home halfway between Santiago and Valparaiso this past March which was lovely. The rental came with two golden retrievers, a lap pool and a trampoline, which is everything a man could possibly ask for, and when you throw in the Chilean countryside and access to two wonderful cities you’ve got a winning bet.
Describe the most unusual situation you’ve found yourself in while travelling.
In my early days of adventure when I traveled on a shorter shoestring, I once left my passport hidden under a mattress in a two-star Malaysian hotel. I subsequently missed my flight to Bangkok and was rebooked on another, but I was out of cash and had no way to get back into the city — and my credit card was at its absolute maximum. Luckily I found a $20 bill hidden in my bag which I converted to Malaysian currency and used to get back to the hotel. Though the room had already been turned down, my passport was still there.
Name two up-and-coming destinations for 2012 and why.
Many would call Bogota and Medellin past their prime, but those two Colombian cities are strong contenders. Beyond that, I think that the beauty and accessibility of Alaska is severely under rated, while huge swaths of South America have a hugely untapped by adventure travelers.
Alaska, I have to reiterate, is one of the most beautiful corners on this planet, with massive, snow-capped mountains shooting out of the ocean, beautiful wildlife and the friendliest people in the world.
Chile and Argentina are great choices because there’s still a bit of strength in the dollar (and Euro and Pound) which makes vacationing a bit easier. Backlit against the excellent climate and the beautiful architecture, it’s surprising to me that more people aren’t flocking to the region.
If you could return to any country you’ve been to, what would it be and why?
The last few years have actually been redo years for me; I’ve been back to Stockholm, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Buenos Aires a few times each, and I just can’t get over how wonderful and cultural each place is. In Stockholm it’s the clean, efficient culture and the beautiful people. In Hong Kong it’s the strong dollar, the tall mountains and the shocking culture. In Barcelona it’s the windy streets, beautiful buildings, amazing food and Spanish way of life. And in Buenos Aires, it’s a combination of everything above. I couuld live the rest of my life circulating among those four cities and be the happiest person in the world.
Give us an overview of what you’ll be discussing at the TNT Sun And Snow Show
Telling the story of our travels has always been a great way to recount our journeys and recount wonderful memories. With the online tools and readership growing, many are turning to the web to both document and share their stories. And many have learned that there are ways to make money off their writings, inspire thousands of travelers and use their words to create more travel opportunities. My talk will discuss the merits and methods of blogging and will give the audience a snapshot of what the life of a travel blogger is like.
Who will find your talk relevant?
Anyone who is interested in documenting their journeys online and potentially making money off of the site will get some great insight from this talk.
Where’s your favourite place in London?
Heathrow. I’m kidding. Okay, it’s corny but I really like the British Museum. I have a minor in Classical Archaeology so I’ve always been fascinated by the collection that the British Museum has — so much that I was a member for a couple years in the late 2000’s. Besides, that ceiling is incredible.
Sum up the capital in five words:
Expensive, Erudite, Cultural, Expensive and Intoxicating.