Peter Smith is from London, United Kingdom
Born in England, travel was in my blood from the beginning.
My family was on the road working in agricultural shows and from the start I was travelling all over England and Wales even when in a pushchair! Although I am sure I was kicking and screaming at least some of the time.
We travelled abroad as a family in a series of semi roadworthy cars and frequently drove all the way to the south of Spain in the late 60's and early 70's. Boy what a difference it is today. But an abiding memory is crossing the Pyrenees in a Hillman Imp and seeing the wreckage of cars that didn't quite make the curves or manage the night driving across those treacherous passes.
We survived several such trips and enjoyed France and Spain in a way I can only dream of now as a bygone era.
I have had a varied education, culminating in reading Physics at the Royal College of Science at Imperial College London. Student life then was not really geared to gap years so most of my travel was confined to the UK. Generally sampling the beer in as many student union bars as possible travelling far and wide in search of new friends and a place to crash for the night....not that much has changed then!
My early travel years focused on Europe and mainly France. I lived on the French Riviera for years and still hold a great affection for that region and its classy way of life.
Soon after my French affair I was offered the chance to work in the Middle East. Of course I said yes, still not knowing where it was. I was soon educated and found myself on a one way ticket to Dubai and after a short period of work there off to the mysterious Oman, still then closed to all tourists.
Oman was a revelation and the experiences there and the other Gulf States over two years gave me a passion for the desert and a taste of the exotic. I was hooked.
Since then I have worked in a score of counties as far away as Fiji and Thailand to the United States and Europe. The adventures and experiences have been fantastic, with both highs and lows of course, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
My travel has mostly required that I worked where I could as I had no other means of funding it. This has brought me into many different professions and experiences some of which have been Hotel Manager, Scuba Diving Instructor, IT Director, Musician, Actor, Presenter, Tour Guide, Holiday Rep, Travel Counsellor, pub landlord to name a few.
I travel because I can; I cannot predict the future and believe in living life to the full, now, in the present. I have friends all over the world many of whom share the same ethos and I have to say that thanks to the technology developed recently we can all keep in touch on a regular basis.
Long ago a guidebook was a tome that required deep study, there were no hostels as such and advance reservations were difficult if not impossible to arrange for those on a budget. Phoning home was a major cost and mail followed you around by poste restante. Keeping in touch required actual writing of letters and photographs of the trips were expensive to produce and too easy to lose.
For all that, it was a real experience and a character building exercise for all those pioneers of backpacking and hardy long term travellers.
This year has been a great year for travel. Over a dozen trips including such gems as Goa, The Yucatan, Texas, New York City, Crete, Croatia, Montenegro, Norway and Germany.
Peter J Smith
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