How often do you travel?
I’m away more than I’m at home. I travel long-haul at least once a week and stay a week or a couple of days. In the last two months, I have been in Mexico City, Dallas, Sydney, Paris, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Lisbon, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Cairns, Seoul and Los Angeles.
Where do you go most?
There’s no one place. I have homes in Hong Kong, Istanbul and Sydney. I generally move between those, depending on where my work is.
What’s your favorite airline?
For me, the most important things are getting decent sleep, a good meal and a modern entertainment system. And it’s surprising how difficult it is to get all three. I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by Turkish Airlines, which has all three.
How do you stay organized?
I used to have an assistant, but I found it took twice as much work to explain to someone the madness of my schedule. So I just use technology to keep all the balls in the air.
The two most important apps for me are TripIt and Flight+. They seamlessly automate my schedules so I know exactly where I need to be and where I’m going next.
How many gadgets do you carry?
More than I should. If they ever weigh my carry-on luggage, I’m in deep trouble. It always causes a stir at airport security. But the one personal artifact that causes the most trouble is my fountain pen. No one uses them anymore and airport security is always convinced it’s some kind of weapon.
What’s your favorite thing to do in an airport?
I like taking pictures. If you pay attention, you see fascinating things going on in airports all the time: emotional farewells, nationalist slogans, ambitious architecture. You can tell a lot about a city and the country’s ambitions by the way they build their airports.
The world’s best airports are the ones you spend the least amount of time in. So the efficiency of Hong Kong means it wins hands-down. If you want to linger, you can’t beat Scandinavian airports like Oslo, Stockholm, Denmark—great design, beautiful people. And great food. That’s the perfect prescription for missing your flight.
Great luggage. It covers the many sins of poor packing. I use a Rimowa trunk. It’s designed deep rather than wide.
I travel with one gray suit, decent shoes, my Converse, rolls of film, a camera and my laptop, plus audiophile headphones and a portable valve amplifier, which gives cold digital music its warmth back.
How do you maintain relationships traveling all the time?
I discovered the hard way that the best way to manage a long-distance relationship is to buy two plane tickets. The good news is that works. I’m getting married in November.
Has all this travel changed your outlook on the world?
When you travel all the time, you get the sense that all these different cities are just different suburbs in the larger global city. They don’t seem as different. The only difference is Japan. That really is like going to an alien planet.
What’s the best travel advice you’ve received?
Someone once told me, tell people when you’re in a city that you either live there or are planning to move there. Otherwise, they’ll never include you in their plans and you’ll end up like a ghost in the machine.
Where haven’t you been that you’d like to go?
Iceland. I love extreme environments. Antarctica would also be on my list.
What constitutes luxury in travel?
For me, luxury is great logistics. It’s not about lavish fixtures or high thread counts. To be a high-frequency traveler, you realize the most import thing is smoothly getting to where you need to go next.
Learn to run. When you arrive at a busy airport, every person who leaves the plane ahead of you represents 10 minutes of your life you’ll never get back.
Mike Walsh, futurist speaker, author of Futuretainment and CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, helps to prepare business leaders for what’s next.
Everything is changing. All the traditional industries we grew up with – media, communication, finance, professional services and retail – are all in the process of being turned upside down and re-invented. The force behind this revolution is not technology but rather consumer behaviour. After all, as interesting as it is when things change, the real magic happens when people do.