I am returning to a favorite travel survey this week, taken from the UK’s Independent newspaper. Paul Morin has worked in the EF Boston office for nine years as well as being the international model for some fine lines of headwear. He is currently the Sales Director for North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Much more than this, Paul is someone I have been fortunate to share some fun travel experiences with in Edinburgh and Paris. His sense of humor and fun nature count for a lot when traveling, he’s even something of a belieber. Here’s what he had to say.
First holiday memory?
My first significant trip was to Florida in the second grade. At that age, there is only one reason you would go to Florida…Walt Disney World. The experience of flying and seeing different things for the first time was great at the time.
This past summer, my Dad and I went to Kenya for a two week safari with Go Ahead Tours. It was, and will likely always remain, my best travel experience. Aside from the travel days, the itinerary was simple. Breakfast, morning game drive, lunch, afternoon game drive, dinner, then a night time game drive. If there is one thing every person should do before they die, it is to go on a safari in Africa.
Favorite place in the US?
There are still lots of places I want to explore, but whenever I have the chance, I try to head back to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire where I grew up. It’s a beautiful area and full of family, friends, and great memories.
What have you learnt from your travels?
If you are polite, thoughtful, and positive…you can accomplish anything while traveling.
Greatest travel luxury?
Without a doubt it has to be great headphones. The hardware has changed over the years, but my love of music while traveling is still the same as when I used my dusty cassette player on that first Florida trip. A song I’ve maybe listened to 1000 times at home can take on a whole new meaning when you listen to it while traveling. Hearing a lyric like: “Alone on a train aimless in wonder. An outdated map crumpled in my pocket…” when you are actually on a train from Edinburgh to London by yourself with no plans and a really old map! It really brings music to the next level for me.
Which EF tour would you choose to take (add why if you like)?
An easy one for me to answer. For me, the best EF Tour is London, Paris, and the Alps. You start in the big city of London, but it’s very comfortable in terms of language and culture. Then you head to Paris and immediately see wonderful cultural differences. After that, you start exploring the Alps and you’ll have postcard moments everywhere you look. Finally, you have the perfect ending in Munich, a city which combines both big city excitement and small town charm. Five unique countries in ten days; you can’t beat that!
Better to travel or arrive?
I’m going to say that the best part of the experience is actually returning. Most of my emotional charge from travelling occurs after I get back. The Eiffel Tower is impressive, but I revere it more at home than when I am actually standing there. The sights and sounds are incredible when they occur, and luckily I’m able to live them over and over in my mind long after I’ve returned home and gone back to my normal routine.
Favorite Museum or Site?
I could stare at the façade of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona for a year straight!
Who would be your ideal travelling companion (living or not)?
Justin Bieber. I’m only 50% kidding when I say this. I am interested in the idea of celebrity and I wonder how they experience the same sights that I go to. I can’t help but feel something is missed by not getting to walk alone late at night in Venice or successfully navigating public transport in Rome. With that being said, my best chance of getting to fly in a private jet is if I make friends with him, so that’s the direction I’m taking…
Most amusing travel experience?
I was on a trip with my parents in Paris and we were taking the metro back to our hotel for the night. We were on a long escalator and half way through the escalator jolted, stopped, but then kicked into triple the speed. We were flying downhill and it was so scary! The image of me at the bottom of a high speed escalator, in a crouched position arms wide open, trying to catch my Mom before she fell will never get old. We talk about it every time we get together as a family.
I am fascinated by Alaska based on what I’ve seen on TV. I’d like to create my own personal “Alaskan Adventure” where I go mining for gold, assist a bush pilot on a flight to a remote city to drop off important supplies, and then assist the captain on a crab fishing boat.
Best meal abroad?
Some of my favorite meals are not in the places you’d expect them to be. The best Italian meal I’ve ever had was in Lucerne. My favorite Asian meal was in London. The biggest buffet I’ve ever enjoyed was in Kenya. And the best French meal I’ve ever tasted is two miles away from where I work in Boston. I don’t think I’ll be asked to be interviewed by a cooking show any time soon…
What do you never travel without?
A comfortable pair of shoes!
Where are you going next?
I’ll be in Paris in May to staff an EF Free International Training Tour. This will be the third Memorial Day I’ll be doing it with my dear traveling companion, Paul Mattesini. It’s a great time of year to be in Paris!