Category Archives: interviews

Packing

I enjoyed reading this interview with Luxury Escape’s CEO Adam Schwab and decided to geg in.

MY PACKING STYLE IS …

Rules > Discretion. Most trips that I make fit into a particular category – e.g. 2 weeks summer holiday, 1 week skiing, 3 days teaching/conference. For each type of trip I have a packing list and take the same things each time. Perhaps not the exact same items, but the same type of items. This avoids having to think about what I should take. If I feel the need to alter the packing list I always do it at the end of a trip rather than before.

MY TOP PACKING HACK IS …

Duplicate toiletries. I have a toothbrush, deodorant, razor, etc that I keep in a toilet bag and only use on trips. It means that I never have to collect those items from around the house and risk forgetting anything. It also means I don’t have to unpack when I get home.

I PACK FOR A TRIP BY …

Finding my packing list and rigidly sticking to it.

MY ESSENTIALS FOR A WORK TRIP INCLUDE …

  • iPhone and all necessary chargers
  • A good book
  • Either decent earbuds for short haul, or noise cancelling headphones for long haul
  • Throat lozenges
  • Bottle opener

MY LUGGAGE IS …

A Rimowa Topas.

MY TOP CARRY ON TIP …

A glossy magazine, such as The Week or The Economist. It’s often rude to plug into an iPhone as soon as you sit down and it’s hard to relax until the plane’s moving anyway. So it’s good to have something light and easy to read for take off/landing.

I NEVER BOARD A FLIGHT WITHOUT …

Touching the outside of the aircraft at the exact moment I step on board.

MY OUTFIT WHEN I TRAVEL …

Comfort. It used to be cargo trousers or sometimes jeans. But as dress standards have steadily fallen I’ve followed suit and so now it’s either tracksuit bottoms or shorts. A hoody and/or baseball cap helps to shut out the world. I sometimes wear a gilet so that I have accessible pockets but without getting too stuffy.

MY WASH BAG STAPLES INCLUDE …

Indigestion tablets, especially if I’m in Eastern Europe where the food is rich and the Rakija is tempting.

I USED TO PACK …

Too many pairs of trousers. They’re rarely worth the bulk and a pair can be worn on consecutive days.

MY BIGGEST PACKING MISTAKE WAS …

Believing I would need smart shoes but not wanting to wear them to travel.

MY GO-TO TRAVEL APP IS …

I used to use a fantastic Flight app called Flight Track Pro, but it doesn’t work anymore. So I don’t really use anything.

I MAKE A HOTEL ROOM FEEL LIKE HOME BY …

The best part of a hotel room is that it doesn’t feel like home! I clear the desk so that I can lay out my own items (i.e. knoll) and then bask in the neutrality.

I’M DETERMINED TO IMPROVE MY PACKING HABITS BY …

At some point I may give up on checking my bag. I’d need to rethink my toiletries and perhaps pack even lighter. But for now I’m happy to spend a few minutes at the baggage reclaim, reflecting on the flight, and waiting.

Classic interview questions

If you had to kill someone, who would it be?

What have you been most wrong about?

My father would have killed me (on the boundaries between abortion and infanticide)

My wife is willing to divorce me (the tale of “all men are bastards”)

Have you ever worn odd shoes? Could you envision it?

When have you spent < £100 on something that gave you an immense amount of satisfaction?

What’s the biggest coincidence you’ve ever experienced?

  • A coincidence is “A surprising concurrence of events with no apparent causal connection.”
  • I like this one
  • Another famous one is a man picks ups ringing pay phone, and it’s a lady trying to get hold of him but she dialled his payroll number by mistake. But David Spiegelhalter claims to have 10 other examples of this happening! (see his website)
  • Luck = chance taken personally
  • We may underestimate the likelihood of chance meetings due to hidden networks

Do you sincerely believe in any conspiracy theories?

Is cunning a good trait?

  • “Instead of following an open, clearly understandable line of behaviour, cunning is calculating how other people will react to certain forms of behaviour which are hiding the end game”… “this ability to assess things rapidly and then to act in a way that is not immediately readable/ understandable by the people around us in order to get an advantage that some people will doubtless feel is an unfair advantage” (Tim Parkes, translator of Machiavelli who, incidentally, was always truthful towards his wife)

Tell that story, the time you did the wrong thing because you were scared (link)

When were you at your happiest?

Do you have a favourite joke?

Tell me about the time you met the right person at the wrong time. (It doesn’t need to be romantic).

Imagine your funeral, and your family and friends have had a few drinks and are thinking of you. They want to make an idiosyncratic gesture to your memory. What would they do? What should they do?