Travelling could be described as one of the most educating experiences a person can undergo in their lifetime.
Sometimes we all need a little advice and travelling is no exception to this.
It takes the experience to get things right and even then, we all make mistakes but what better way to learn than from a man who has spent a lifetime hopping on and off planes, trains, buses, boats, and helicopters.
“I travelled when I was young, I even hitchhiked my way to France and Germany. That’s not something you can do nowadays,” explained Paul.
With the average person visiting seven countries in their lifetime, Paul Hart, 55, has surpassed most statistics by visiting nine in 2015 alone. With a high level of wanderlust, Paul is one of many that likes to travel, although not all can say they have visited 26 countries in five different continents over their lifetime.
Paul took the time within his busy schedule to be interviewed on one of his days spent in sunny Teesside – one of only 90 this year. In your average three bedroom house in Marton, Middlesbrough, Paul went on to talk about why he loves and hates to travel and the reasons why.
“I travel because of many reasons, some harder to explain more so than others. I have always been interested in the world we live in, what it’s like to other people and what it is like in other places around the world. It’s a great way to educate yourself,” he said.
“I am fascinated by the way in which other people live; their customs, the differences between us and them.
“When I was young I did it for the adventure. There’s a thrill behind taking a rucksack and a sleeping bag and sleeping in a field in France.
“I also travel for work-related reasons and that is a whole different experience,” he added.
It seemed an interesting story hid behind his different experiences when working abroad, considering the sarcastic tone that was evident in the last sentence.
Paul said: “past news about the Egyptian plane crash doesn’t shock me, the security over there is shocking. I worked in the country for over a year and on many occasions, people would simply walk through their security department. Often their detectors would raise the alarm, yet people would still we waved right through.”
A bomb carried on board an aircraft blew up the Russian airliner over Egypt in October, killing 224 people.
“Internal flights would often be worse, there wasn’t any security at all. No one would be there to scan your passports or check your hand luggage,” added Paul.
Encouragingly, Paul added: ” I have so many stories that I could tell you and I have gained so much experience throughout the years I could write a book.
“I spent my night in a hotel bar in New York, wracked up a decent sized tab after a hard day shopping with my family and yet didn’t pay a thing. The couple I had spoken to, bought drinks for and advised them on what to see around the area were actually the owners of my hotel.”
Jokingly Paul explained how embarrassing it is advising someone about their home, without that vital knowledge.
“They paid for everything that night and offered to pay my outstanding hotel balance, I refused out of principle,” said Paul.
The good memories also come with the bad, Paul explained: “I’ve seen areas of severe poverty and I’ve pulled a body out from the sea in Florida but I’ve also had the opportunities of meeting some incredible people. All memories I won’t forget.”
After a quick flick through a rather tatty passport; evidence of flights to Egypt, Turkey, Mexico and the USA fill each page, those being just a few that I noticed.
Paul delved into more of his travelling experiences: “Sometimes you need to take on a new place like a local, when in Rome and all that.
“I’m not overly religious but I like to visit old churches and I often go to a service or two. In Puerto de la Cruz I attend a service that was filled with locals, it was beautiful even if I didn’t understand 90% of it. I was invited to join the locals for a few drinks in a Café afterwards, I was given food and welcomed with open arms
“It’s experiences like that, that I treasure.”
I was handed a few snapshots of Paul’s travels from previous years; The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, The Empire State Building in New York, Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef and so many more of the world’s most iconic landmarks. It seemed impossible for any negatives to be taken out of these.
Paul said: “I miss home, it’s so cliched but you miss your home comforts. I miss my family, my dog, my car and all the other little bits you take for granted whilst being at home.
“Sometimes you want it to rain after you spend three weeks in the Caribbean. You want to be forced to watch Eastenders every night by your Wife. You want to argue with your daughter over hair grips being left around.
“It really is the little things.”
After the recent terrorist attacks on the European city Paris and the shootings that took place on a popular tourist beach in Tunisia, some would be more reluctant to travel.
“I don’t think it should be a reason to stop people travelling but more so for people to be more alert.
“At the end of the day attacks can happen anywhere. I was in London back in 2005 when the London bombings took place. At the time, it was where I lived,” explained Paul.
I was given a piece of advice from Paul; to save up for a plane ticket, take a chance and travel.
It seems there is nothing better than educating yourself outside your boundaries.
Paul’s little top tip…
“Have fun, no one is stopping you from doing that but be respectful. Always remember- you are on holiday- but this is many people’s homes.”
Are you ready to explore?