The one that turned into my life. Selling my stuff, hitch-hiking out of Germany for good, through Europe and into Morocco, and then on from there. That was 16 years ago, and I never really came back from that trip. You know, I always wanted to be Jack Kerouac - while the life worked out more or less, my writing, sadly, remained frightfully crap. At least in Tangiers, I once lived in the room Kerouac lived in, in the 1950s, in the house where William Burroughs wrote
. I guess that's as close as I'll get.
And the worst?
Being part of a German tourist bus haunting Guatemala. I was forced to be part of a horde of loud, complaining oafs in socks and sandals trampling through the countryside, pushing poor people out of ze vay of ze scenery, and taking photos of themselves concernedly pointing at bad sanitation. The horror! The horror!
If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
Most of all, pretending not to be German - the most German thing you could possibly do.
What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?
So many! Climbing the crumbling cliffs of Montana Roja in Tenerife, 150m above rocks and ocean. Almost taking magic mushrooms with me on a flight via Malaysia and an Arab country (last minute cancellation on that idea). Catching a cold in the Sahara. Not calling back a girl in Palermo. I could add facing a charging bull in Spain ... but that was too exciting to only be stupid.
What's the best travel tip you've ever been given?
It's from one of my favourite authors and biggest influences, Kurt Tucholsky, from his The Art of Travelling Well: "Breathe easy! Let go of the helm! Dilly-dally across the world. The world is beautiful - give yourself to it, and it will give itself to you."
What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?
Mexico: Pineapple from "that tree over there" with lime juice and chilli. Amazing!
Morocco: Lamb kebab at a Shell station in the middle of the Rif Mountains - to prove freshness, the heads of the freshly slaughtered lambs were lined up on the ground. Very honest, very real.
Auckland: Tanuki's Cave, by The Classic theatre.
Buenos Aires: A meal with my brother: 800g of sweetbreads for starters, then 500g of Kobe beef and a 1kg T-Bone. Plus 16 sides, a bottle of wine, dessert. You know when you're so full you almost go blind? But still you want to keep eating. All together, this came to about $50. Heaven! (The next day, we had calf's brains and lower intestines from a friend's asado, or barbecue).
Favourite airport to land at?
Melbourne, my favourite city in the world - landing there, about to meet my friends, makes me tingle with happiness and excitement.
Paco Erhard brings his 5-Step Guide to Being German to the Herald Theatre from tonight until Saturday. comedyfestival.co.nz