In the Spotlight: Andy Bostock
When and why did you join the Guild?
Just this year, on the advice of some other members. I’m currently panicking about wearing black tie at the Dinner – not normally my kind of thing!
What are you working on at the moment? Any future plans?
I’m working a book about Greece; travel literature, rather than a guide, this time.
What's your earliest memory of travel?
Driving round the Orkneys and the Western Isles on family holidays. Oddly I think it inspired my later philhellenism – Scotland often seems like Greece with added rain.
What's your most bizarre memory of travel?
There’s been quite a few. Two African ones spring to mind: chasing a bloke called Hitler through the Zimbabwean bush, and taking photos as my colleague got chomped by a crocodile (he forgave me when they got published).
Which is the place you haven't been to yet but would most like to visit?
Central Asia is very intriguing, and for some reason I’ve never made it to North America.
Where would you never want to go again?
There’s nowhere I’ve been that doesn’t offer something of interest. When I first visited Suffolk I was amazed by the unremitting dullness of the landscape (I’m a mountains man). I now live there.
If you could take a day trip back in time to any point in history, when and where would you visit?
Constantinople in the 6th century, to see the court of Justinian and Theodora. A private audience with the empress might be nice . . .
How did you get involved in travel writing?
Some skill (doing well in a couple of writing competitions), some luck (being noticed by an editor at just the right moment), but mostly through the foresighted help and support of Hilary Bradt (thanks!).
Favourite museum or gallery?
I’m not that bothered by all the statuary and pots etc in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, but the view across to the real thing from the top floor is stupendous – it reduced my girlfriend to tears, which rather surprised her. Just make sure to turn left at the top of the stairs.
Most memorable hotel?
I’m not a big fan of most hotels, so it would be a tie between staying in a tree house in a national park in Thailand and wild camping in Arcadia, Greece.
Everyone gets it wrong sometimes, so what's the biggest travel blunder you've ever made?
Driving about 500km through Namibia on a flat tyre whilst wondering a) why my vehicle kept pulling to the left, and b) why everyone kept flashing their headlights at me.
Which travel destination has taken you most by surprise and why?
Turkey. Having fallen in love with Greece as a teenager I had an irrational prejudice against the country. I had to work there in my twenties and discovered not only Istanbul, one of the best cities on earth, but also a diverse and fascinating country hidden behind the coastal resorts (much like Greece, I suppose).
If you had one tip to share with other travel writers what would it be?
Concentrate less on the travel and more on the writing.
A favourite travel book to pass the journey?
A Time of Gifts by Paddy Leigh Fermor.