Fresh from his victory in the Brazil Grand Prix, Formula One driver Mark Webber gets us up to speed on his world of travel
Mountain/desert/jungle/ocean, which are you?
Ocean – I love spending time in and beside the sea.
First travel experience?
Family holidays to coastal New South Wales. We lived inland and my family had a farm, so going to the beach was something completely different.
Going home, wherever home is at the time. I travel so much for my job that coming home and not seeing my suitcase for a while has huge appeal.
Top five places worldwide?
Tasmania, New Zealand, south of France, Dolomites, the Maldives. All places that you can relax, but still get out and be active – I don’t really do sitting around, even on holiday.
Special place to stay?
Under the stars.
Three items you always pack?
Toothbrush, phone, wallet – the rest is a bonus!
Passport stamp you’re proudest of?
Iceland. I went there for a PR weekend and was blown away by the landscape; it’s like being on another planet in some places.
Passport stamp most like to have?
Nepal. It’s one place that I’m sure I’ll never get to go to with my job and it’s so different to most places I’ve been.
Guilty travel pleasures?
Lots of magazines. I usually don’t get around to reading all of them, but I still buy a few each time I get on a plane.
Window or aisle?
Who is your ideal travelling companion?
Someone who shares the same lack of patience as me!
Best meal on the road?
In Australia, I’d have to say a cheeky meat pie and lamington would go down well.
Anything you need two hands for!
Most disappointing place?
Bora Bora. People had sung its praises to us so our expectations were pretty high. Unfortunately the place was a bit tired and there wasn’t much for me to get stuck in to – as I’ve said, I’m not keen on sitting around.
Where do you not want to go?
Slovakia. I was invited there once in my first year of Formula One. I didn’t know what to expect and the country was really beautiful. I was pretty shocked that I apparently needed an armed bodyguard though – he was stationed outside my hotel room! Despite that, it was a great trip.
Who/what inspired you to travel?
Travel comes as part of my job. I’ve seen a lot of Europe, Asia and the Americas – mainly the areas where we are staying for F1 races and PR days, but occasionally if I’ve got the time I’ll take a day trip to see the sights.
Any travel heroes?
Captain Cook for discovering Australia!
What do you listen to on the road?
Any Feeder album/U2 – all good stuff for the road.
What do you read?
Magazines, occasionally half a biography – the only ones I’ve read cover to cover are Steve Waugh’s and Roy Keane’s.
Is there a person you met while travelling who reaffirmed your faith in humanity? Anyone who made you lose it?
I’m not really sociable when travelling; I’m usually just trying to get from A to B. I’ve met loads of amazing, and less amazing, people through my job though.
What’s the most impressive/useful phrase you know in a foreign language?
Jus de pomme s’il vous plait.
What is your worst habit as a traveller?
Always cutting it fine to get to airports (it’s caused a few tense moments!) and trying to be sociable at baggage reclaim. People have usually lost their sense of humour by that stage of the trip.
Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?
It would depend on who my companion(s) was!
When and where in your travels have you been happiest?
Beach holidays with my partner Ann in Oman, cycling with mates in the Alps and Colorado.
What smell most says ‘travel’ to you?
That’s a hard one. Maybe durian fruit in Asia or perhaps pollution.
Given a choice, which era would you travel in?
The 1990s before 9/11 – everything was a lot easier and faster then.
If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, what would they be?
Istanbul, London and Auckland.
Mark Webber will be travelling to Australia in December for the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge, a five-day multi sport competition that takes competitors around some of the State’s most stunning wilderness regions. To find out more about the event join the race Facebook page.
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