My holiday: Ellis Emmett

Ellis Emmett.
Ellis Emmett.

What was your greatest holiday?

Several months travelling through South East Asia by scooter - over 5000km in all. Arrested, interrogated, held at gunpoint (three times), pocket picked, passport stolen, mugged and left flat broke. Loved every minute of it ...

And the worst?

Lying on a beach in the Canary Islands for two weeks - it drove me crazy.

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

You might pass a sign that warns not to do something, I would most likely be on the other side of that sign doing the thing it warns against.

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

Forget the teleportation - it's far too slow! Just get me inside Hannibal Hayes' Squirrel Helicopter in Te Anau and fly me deep into the heart of Fiordland for a week - alone. Bliss. Just a clean pair of underwear, a packet of matches and a little sandfly repellent.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

Soooooo many places already on the bucket-list and things that I plan on doing one day. Here's a couple: I want to sea kayak the length of Norway starting up the top on the border of Russia, walk a major section of the Great Wall of China, around 4500km, fly deep into the heart of Papua New Guinea and build a raft out of what the jungle has to offer and float my way down the Sepik River to the sea, about 1000km, sail from mainland New Zealand across to the Chatham Islands, on to Pitcairn Island and then zig-zag through the islands of the central Pacific. So much to do and only one lifetime to do it in.

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

Bought travel insurance.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... I never travel without my knife, camera, pen and paper.

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

"Don't go this way." Of course I do go that way, and it's awesome. When I am travelling by myself I don't tend to travel by too many rules. You start to get pretty good at judging situations and people. The best experiences I have ever had while travelling are when I glance down that street that makes the hair rise on the back of my neck, but then I swallow my fear and go in anyway.

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

I remember back in the early days I did not eat for about three days because I had run out of cash and all I had was my credit card, which was overdrawn at the time, but I was waiting for money to come through. I will never forget that simple first meal in days; A burger - seriously the best meal I have ever had. It's moments of hardship, like these, that make you appreciate the simple things in life.

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

Apart from my life, narrowly, on a few occasions, I'd have to say the photographs of the people I have met along the way. Mainly faces - kids' and older people - I love photographing people's faces - a lifetime of stories of hardship and culture can be told by a simple portrait photograph.

Favourite airport to land at?

Rurrenabaque - Amazon Jungle! It's a grass strip, and before the plane has coasted to a stop the locals run out on to the field and try to sell you stuff as you get off the plane.

What was your last adventure?

Sailing a 6000km-round journey to the Kingdom of Tonga, filming with humpback whales and their inquisitive babies, diving the most amazing cave system the size of a football stadium, an ancient shipwreck, climbing to the lip of an active volcano and looking into its lava-belching core and meeting some really cool Tongans.

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

Sailing and discovering the islands of the Central Pacific.

Ellis Emmett hosts Descending on the Travel Channel starting on Wednesday August 21, at 8.30pm.

- NZ Herald

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