I had the opportunity to discuss “Vroom With A View” with its Aussie author who now lives in London, Peter Moore. It’s a hilarious account of his round-trip from Milan to Rome ona ’61 Vespa which he affectionately names Sophia –– after the legendary Italian actress and inspiration for his trip. Below are a series of questions and his candid answers.
1. What was the subject of your first travel article/book?
My first travel book was called “No Shitting in the Toilet” and was kind of an ‘anti-guidebook’. It was broken up into the normal categories like accommodation and packing but celebrated the more perverse and irrational aspects of travelling. (The best parts, in other words!) And it was littered with stories from my travels to illustrate points. As for the title, it was totally gratuitous. The book was named after a sign I saw in a café in China. It summed up everything I love about travel – it’s never as you expect it do be, nothing goes according to plan and how the unexpected things are often the best. To win a copy of this book, see below!
2. What is your favorite place to visit?
Anywhere I haven’t been to before. I love that feeling of stepping off a plane in a totally alien environment and not having a clue about anything. Everything seems so exciting and fresh and the heart is beating a little bit faster.
3. What is the worst place you’ve ever visited?
I’ve visited a lot of dodgy places that most people would rank pretty low on their must-see list – Albania, Sudan, Somalia, even Iran. But I loved them. The people were super-friendly and I had experiences that will stay with me for the rest of my life. So my idea of the worst place to visit would be somewhere that is really bland and the people are unfriendly. I haven’t been there yet.
4. What’s on your must-visit list?
Everywhere I haven’t been! At the moment I’ve got a hankering for the former Soviet Union in the depth of winter. Apparently there are parts of Russia that can only be reached in winter because they use frozen rivers as roads.
5. What is your philosophy for traveling?
Just to go with the flow. The best experiences I’ve had were when I took up spontaneous invitations. Like in Kalimantan when a local band invited me to join them at a small fishing village where they were playing. It took us a day to reach the place by boat and when we arrived I was treated like a visiting rock star as well.
6. Who’s your favorite travel author or story?
I really like Paul Theroux. I love the way his books are about the people and places he comes across. That’s the essence of travelling as far as I’m concerned. Also Bill Bryson. He’s such a funny bloke.
7. What is one piece of travel advice you never told anyone?
The Age of Discovery is never over when you are the Discoverer. It’s from a book called “Vagabonding across Europe and North Africa” by Ed Buryn. It sounds corny, but it’s true.
8. How has publishing this book changed your life?
It means I can make a living out of travelling. And because I write books the nice thing is that I can do the trips I want to do rather than one to keep a magazine editor or advertiser happy.
NOTE: The first three North American Vagablond readers who submit their best answer to one of this article’s questions will be eligible to win a copy of this amusing travel book. Sorry, no Contributors are eligible. Once I select the three winners, I will contact you separately for your street address.