Jenny Robin Jones's latest book, Not For Ourselves Alone: Belonging in an age of loneliness was published in April.


What was your greatest holiday? A one-week tour to Moscow and St Petersburg, focusing on politics and life in Russia under Putin. We went with a former BBC correspondent who was once deported as an alleged spy. We met politicians and media people from right across the spectrum, as well as ordinary Russians. It was a fascinating insight into how people there see their country. I'm currently writing a book about this trip and one to the United States. Working title: Love America, Love Russia.

And the worst? Fiji. That was the holiday where I learned what to look for in a travel partner — and what not to look for.


If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing? If you'd done your bumping a couple of months ago you would have found me nose to beak with a foraging kiwi in broad daylight on a Stewart Island track. Or a day later, being chased off a beach by a sea lion.

If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be? The Chatham Islands. I'd love to spend time chatting to locals — though I'm not so sure about weka for dinner.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

My idea of a dream holiday usually involves a challenge, whether it's coping with the cold in Antarctica or the perils of "dangerous" destinations. Mind you, luxury accommodation would be fun for a change.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling? Taken a massage in Vietnam without checking what kind of massage parlour it was.

Aisle seat or window seat? Window for short flights, aisle for long haul. View comes first for one, toilet access for the other.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... taking time to "stop and stare".

What's the best travel tip you've ever been given? "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." And accepting that there'll be boredom and frustration along with the excitement and fun.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling? Roast goat and lentils in Eritrea while the country was facing a famine during its war with Ethiopia. Memorable for the shock of seeing a goat have its throat cut and realising it was for our dinner. For our hosts it was unthinkable not to "kill the fatted calf" for us.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip? My photos are always the thing that means the most to me.

Favourite airport to land at? Wellington — it's home.

What's the next trip you've got planned? I have a new travel partner, so that opens up the field. Maybe Finland, Iceland, Costa Rica ...

Jenny Robin Jones's latest book, Not For Ourselves Alone: Belonging in an age of loneliness was published in April. $39.99