Drawn Out, a Seriously Funny Memoir by Tom Scott (published by Allen & Unwin) is on sale now.

My greatest holiday?

Trekking in the Himalayas with my partner, Averil, Ed Hillary and June, and Ed's old climbing chum George Lowe, and his wife Mary. It was off the beaten trail to Everest, up a remote and beautiful side valley. There were no television crews or wealthy North American philanthropists tagging along. It was just us, meandering leisurely through a wondrous landscape, smothered with warmth and hospitality by the locals. One night in an isolated monastery high on a valley wall we were trapped in a cookhouse by winds so savage it was unsafe to dash 20 metres along an exposed plateau to our sleeping quarters. An old kerosine tin sitting on the floorboards served as a charcoal brazier. Every few minutes, when the timber beneath it started to singe, it had to be booted sideways. I had secreted a bottle of Jameson whiskey for such an emergency. Averil I sat in the dark spellbound as Ed and George traded fantastic climbing yarns from their Everest climbing days.

And the worst? It would have to be from my childhood. My father was an agricultural contractor who was busiest over summer. We went to Tauranga one winter and had an entire motor camp to ourselves. The trees were bare, the ground muddy, and it was long walk into the city, but we didn't have to queue for crumpets for a change - we had a toaster each in the cookhouse. And with multiple shower and toilet cubicles, the air did not ring with, "Hurry up! I'm busting!" Which made a nice change.


If I could teleport myself to anywhere in New Zealand for a week-long holiday where would it be? The Hokianga. I have never been. Everyone tells me I must go.

How about a dream holiday internationally? A guided walk over the alps from Slovenia to Italy in late summer, assuming the gradients are gentle and the huts come with espresso machines and CPR equipment.

What's the dumbest thing you've done when travelling? A momentary lapse in concentration brushing my teeth with tap water in a marble-and-brass, chandeliered bathroom, in a five-star hotel New Delhi.

Aisle seat or window seat? Window. I have the bladder capacity of a small swimming pool, so a window seats hold no fears for me. Plus, if a wing falls off I want to be the first to know.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without my ... Bose noise-cancelling headphones and digitally stored music.

What's the best travel tip you've ever received? I have two, both from Ed Hillary. If you're travelling anywhere, for any length of time shy of seven days, all you need is an overnight bag. At midnight in any arrivals' hall anywhere in the world, don't switch to the curiously short queue at the immigration counter behind three generations of a family from a Third World country - they will be arguing relentlessly and indefatigably that their documentation, consisting solely of a library card and a power bill, guarantees them permanent entry.

Favourite airport to land at? Lukla in the Solu Khumbu. The relief you will feel having survived the hazardous approach, the violent cross winds, and horrendously short stretch of sloping tarseal is close to religious rapture.

What's the next trip that you've got planned? London for the birth of my oldest child's first child.