Your Stories #4: Brook McAllister

We put together a set of questions to ask travellers whether they travel short or long term. Be inspired as Brook tells us about tarot readings on a beach in Bolivia, Argentinian empanades and the realities of forgetting your experiences…

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After recently turning 28, bubbling under the surface is a need to hit the road, travelling across another continent, exploring the sights and sounds it has to offer (it’s been too long)! Since returning from a round the world trip in 2011 with my girlfriend Rebecca, I have been living in Bristol working as a cameraman and editor for Immediate Media. The content of my job is very varied and I enjoy working across subjects such as astronomy, history, triathlon and weddings. The aim is to film two personal documentary projects next year, one for my Mum’s charity http://www.himalayanchildren.co.uk/ and another for a yet to be decided subject. Watch this space.

Hometown-

Taunton, Somerset

Where are you now?

Working at Immediate Media in Bristol

Where did you go on your first trip abroad?

Cyprus, maybe I was 2 years old.

Longest time away from hometown-

Nine months, twice. Working in Saudi Arabia and then travelling South America – NZ- Australia – Thailand.

What is your travel philosophy-

To be fearless and positive, make sure you saviour every moment.

Your favourite place in the world to enjoy a couple of beers-

Probably New Zealand, there’s a never-ending range of landscapes to enjoy.

The greatest bit of life advice you’ve been given/heard-

Treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

What is your one indispensable travel item?

I never took this but a good quality DSLR camera. I wish I took more photos/videos to look back on as your memory does fade over time, plus you can frame them or blow them up when you get home.

How do you break the ice with a stranger on the road?

I guess it all starts with where are you from? Where are/have your travelling/travelled? It can get a bit monotonous, but eventually you’ll connect with someone or a couple who share similar interests. If you can speak the native tongue then you’ll be able to meet more locals and learn more about their way of life.

Do you have a recipe for a meal you use on the road?

I think you can always make a really good spaghetti bolognaise wherever you are in the world, good bit of mince, plenty of tomatoes and some pasta/spaghetti. Done.

Best/ worst thing you’ve ever eaten-

I really loved empanadas. They are like mini Cornish pasties, but with more spice and a variety of fillings. Mainly a snack eaten by Argentines, these really helped on long journeys or walks round cities, as often the sandwiches were boring plain cheese or ham.

Your favourite song on your travel playlist?

Tough one as not one song springs to mind. I think I put on 500 oldies/classic tracks on the iPod. You’ve got the back catalogue of The Beatles to get you through a long bus journey. Audiobooks and podcasts are essential too.

Are you a planner or do you ride the waves of chance?

Personally, I think you have to have a plan, some people don’t and it all happens organically. I wish I could do that, but I need to know where we’re going next, however I’m not brilliant at planning how we’re going to get there!

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What is your best travel tip?

Make sure you have a good pair of all weather trainers or boots. They may not look ‘cool’ but will be essential in changeable weather and long days of walking.

How has travel affected you as a person?

I think it gave me direction in my life and career. Also, I realised that although I love exploring, if away from home comforts for too long I get a right grump on!

Your edgiest travel experience-

There were more than I had anticipated, but I’m saving them for the autobiography. Here’s one that’s not that edgy but could’ve been a disaster.

When travelling across New Zealand, I often preferred taking our camper van off the beaten path so to speak. One time, we ventured down from the campsite onto a sandy beach and took some picture postcard snaps of the camper van as the sun set. As we got in to drive off, the weight of such a vehicle had now sunk is into the sand and the more I revved the deeper it went! The tide was approaching and panic started to seep into my mind. I got our road map, stuck it under the wheel and again hit the accelerator, nothing except a torn up road map! It was about 6pm and the beach was deserted bar a group of surfers. Before I had a chance to go over, they were heading over to save a couple of silly stranded Brits. As there were at least six of them, they pushed the van with ease and we manage to drive away to tell the tail.

Your favourite travel story-

I’m quite drawn to eccentrics and when we were walking on a beach in Puno, Bolivia a guy in a tent called over to myself and Rebecca. He clearly was a very wise if slightly strange man who spoke perfect English. He lived and slept on the beach with his dog and told us stories about seeing UFO’s landing on Lake Titicaca. He also did a tarot card reading for both of us. He went on to explain he was a millionaire and all his assets were frozen in a bank and that if he wanted to he could access them but he prefers living here. He may have been a troubled man but he was extremely welcoming and friendly, we even almost exchanged t-shirts. Below are pics of the man himself and a halo rainbow that was above us as we left him.

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Where are you planning to go next?

I have never been to any Scandinavian countries, I have been to many major European cities outside of Paris and Barcelona. Copenhagen might be next on the list.

You can catch up with Brook on his website at www.brookmcallister.com (currently under construction, re-doing portfolio of work) or via Twitter.

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