Twipper of the Week: John Taggart from Storytime With John.

Current city: Seoul, South Korea

Age: 24

Total countries visited: I don’t count…I don’t like the idea of counting, it’s more about the experiences for me rather than checking off numbers – that feels a little too Terminator for my liking.  

Next travel destination: A surprise return to England for a few days actually, to visit one of my brothers, and my grandfather who have both just got out of hospital. (Shhhh, it’s a secret – so don’t ruin it!)

What makes you interesting: Hmm…well am I interesting? That’s more for other people to say I suppose. I think that always having a funny and/or awkward travel tale to tell is a bit of a plus, but I’m also always more than ready to hear other people’s stories – I love that we all have gems to share with one another if only we take the time to listen.

#1 thing you must do when traveling: Take a leisurely stroll around the area straight after dropping your bags, don’t have a destination in mind…just know you will circle around eventually. Take in everything; the people, the interactions, the smells, the sounds – everything. Immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere and remind yourself you will soon be back in your armchair at home, so you should treasure every second of this new experience…

Then look for the restaurant which is packed out with local people…that’s a good indication it is something you’ll want to try! Chow down, and get what they all seem to be enjoying! It’ll probably be a lot cheaper too – win win! 

What was your worst travel experience: My worst travel experiences have only served to later become my funniest travel stories – so I don’t hold any grudges…but they’re have been some really, really awful moments along the way. Being attacked my blood sucking leeches in a Nepalese jungle wasn’t so fun, neither was witnessing public pooping in China, or getting frostbite in the Arctic Circle…but hey, you’ve got to take the good with the bad…and you can always laugh at these things later. I promise you that.

What do you enjoy doing the most during your travels: The emphasis for me with travelling is always enriching yourself within other cultures so that hopefully you can come away with a broader and more diversified mind in the process – I know that travel has changed me as a person.

But I must give an honorable mention for that rather surreal (apologies for the greatly overused word) feeling of seeing something in person…you’ve watched documentaries, you’ve looked at photos, and scanned through books, and whatever else…and now here you are, staring up at this thing you have only been able to dream about in the past.

What item will you never leave home without: I hate that I’m going to say this, but it’s my smart phone…as a self confessed oaf I need its brains to help me in every walk of life, never mind when I’m travelling. But mind you it does comes in handy for travel playlists, looking up information, and my favourite tool of all GPS navigation…I enable this feature whenever I’m getting in a foreign taxi as it cuts out the chance of the driver taking a humongously long and unnecessary detour just so they can charge you more…seriously such a time and money saver. Expect some huffing and puffing though.

What have you learned about yourself during your travels: You learn a lot about yourself, but also human beings in general – of which you are one (hopefully you knew that already, I shouldn’t have to teach you that!) I love that this is something you pick up whilst travelling as it really makes you feel like you have unity as universal people…so we like different foods, and wear different clothes, so what? We all want the same things at a basic level, and can share our cultures with one another so we can both be enriched by them! I mean come on, how beautiful is that?! Just open your eyes, and your heart to these things…learn not to say no so much.