My holidays: Craig Potton

Craig Potton once chased a mugger through a church in Paris.
Craig Potton once chased a mugger through a church in Paris.

What was your greatest holiday?

When I was very young my parents took me to Fiji and I picked up a live sea turtle on the reef.

And the worst?

I've never had a bad holiday but if I added up all the times I've had "Delhi Belly" on trips to the east and put them together, it would constitute the holiday from hell.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?

Looking, photographing, reading, talking, sleeping.

If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?

George Sound, Fiordland. One of Fiordland's most remote sounds, difficult to get to and with an extraordinary waterfall that comes all the way down from the very top of the cliffs.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

An outer island in Indonesia with no other surfers except my mates; especially no other Aussie surfers! Aggressive is one word - they just go for the waves. I surf on my own a lot so tough attitudes irk me.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?

Read my air tickets home from India wrong and missed the flight. Had to fly half-way to Europe to get back to New Zealand on time for a meeting. Maybe chasing a kid mugger through a church in Paris during a prayer service - he'd stolen from an old woman and I wasn't going to let him get away with it.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without...

...money.

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?

Split your money and photocopied passport, etc, into at least two hiding places. I've been hit by pick-pockets twice, both in Europe. When you lose your passport and credit cards you start to feel pretty vulnerable.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?

Dhal bhat in Chitwan, Nepal (steamed grain - rice, millet, barley, etc - with a lentil soup). The Nepalese version is the most boring food on the planet and I love it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?

Good photos.

Favourite airport to land at?

Varanasi in India - there is, or used to be, a big sign saying "The World's Holiest City". What a welcome!

What's the next trip you've got planned?

A trek in Ladakh for three and a half weeks; then a week photographing in central and southern India, particularly at Ajanta which is ground zero for me as an artist. The Ajanta caves were painted by the Indian equivalent of Michelangelo, they are the Sistine Chapel plus. The ornate and colourful style was later carried to the rest of India, China, Tibet and Indonesia.

Publisher and photographer Craig Potton is appearing at the new Escape! Festival in Tauranga on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.

- NZ Herald

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