Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Interview With Hearst Executive and Global Travel Author Michael Clinton

  1. What inspired you to write The Globetrotter Diaries?  In all of my global travels, I would send dispatches, blog posts or emails to family and friends, while I was on the road. Many of them encouraged me to compile all of them into a book. I have been to over 120 countries and have stories about each of them.

  1. How does it differ from your previous books? My previous books were photography books of my travels with some minor text.  This book is a collection of travel stories with a limited amount of photography. The stories presented here offer insights, tips, and strategies for travelers.

  1. You have been to over 120 countries. Which ones stick out the most? That's a hard one to answer. It's like naming your favorite movies or books. How can you just name a few, there are so many genres. But if I could only take one last trip around the world, I'd have to say Italy, South Africa, India, Thailand, New Mexico and Argentina would be on my list.

  1. What is the most challenging aspect of being away from home so often? While modern technology allows me to stay in touch with family and friends via email, texts, Facebook, it just isn't the same as sitting with someone face to face to talk about life!  

  1. As a business traveler, what advice can you share with fellow corporate fliers? Zen. Delays, mechanical problems and long security lines are all part of the road warrior’s life. Don't aggravate yourself. Always bring a good book or magazine with you.

  1. What have been some of the biggest obstacles to getting around in foreign lands? Language. Especially Arabic, Chinese, Japanese.  If you have no working knowledge of the alphabet, it is difficult. There are now apps for that, but there is nothing like a local guide. Also, many countries have lots of bureaucracy and you have to figure out what needs to be done to move it all forward. 

  1. What are some of the highs and lows of your travels? There is nothing like waking up on Christmas morning on Nukubati, Fiji to see a 180 degree rainbow in the sky. Or standing at the top of Kilimanjaro when the sun rises over Africa. Or when your campsite in Bhutan is on the top of a mountain and the clouds are below you. Those are the marvels of travel. For the lows, Mother Nature's fury can impede a traveler's life.  Pouring rain and clouds prevented us from taking in the full grandeur of Scotland. Our marathon in Knysna, South Africa was cancelled due to horrible weather. It's disappointing, but the goal is to always make the best of it.

  1. What could airlines or hotels do to improve the servicing of their patrons? Be transparent. Communicate often if there is a problem ....with mechanical issues, weather, etc.  Hotels should post if they are going through a renovation during your stay, or if there is major disruption in the surrounding neighborhood.  A lack of transparency creates bad will that far outweighs not being upfront.

  1. Tell us about some of the photographs in your new book. What do they capture? The photos in The Globetrotter Diaries are actually in the background. We decided to publish them in black and white, so that the stories are the hero.  That being said, each photo is designed to capture the essence of the story.

  1. Which cities do you find to be utterly romantic? Paris. Paris. Paris.  And Buenos Aires and Capetown, too.

  1. Which countries have the most natural landscapes in which to absorb pure, raw beauty? Namibia, Tanzania, Argentina, Chile, Bhutan.....all stunning.

  1. As the president of marketing and publishing for Hearst Magazines, what are you finding readers are most interested in when it comes to learning about travel? With so much information available on the Internet, readers crave authority, professional editing, and the credibility that magazine writers and editors bring to them. Whether it is the destination itself, or tips about the place, readers get quality content from us.

  1. How does the U.S. compare to many of the countries you have visited?  When I'm traveling, I always miss America. We have so many different regions and so much beauty in our country; it is like visiting many countries in one.  In the U.S., there is always that spirit of possibility, something that is very rare to find in other parts of the world.

  1. At what age and to what country did you begin your globetrotting? At 12 years old, I went by myself to Ireland and England to visit family.  The moment I boarded the airplane, I knew that I was destined to a life of globetrotting.

  1. While in college, you backpacked for 94 days across 22 countries. As an adult you have stayed in the finest hotels. Which experience do you prefer? I still do an adult version of backpacking with camping trips in the Himalayas, Patagonia and Africa, and I wouldn't trade it for any five-star resort.  Then again, I'm more than happy to go to the Oberoi, Aman or a Four Seasons property. I want both experiences. Each has its own place in a travel life.

Please note that Michael Clinton is a client of Media Connect, the PR firm I work for.  Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2013 ©

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