Tim Baynes: BBC travel illustrator

Illustrator and artist Tim Baynes gives his unique impressions on the world of travel

The World According To …
08 June 2011

Mountain/desert/jungle/ocean which are you?

Ocean – some of my best drawings are done on the water.

First travel experience?

1970 – a 40 minute trip on a hovercraft with my Uncle, a member of the BBC Engineering Club.

Favourite journey?

My first trip to Istanbul.

Top 5 places worldwide?

Japan, Seattle, New York, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong.

Special place to stay?

W Hotel Mexico City – you can lie in a hammock stretch across the bathroom, shower and look out on the city all at the same time.

3 items you always pack?

Moleskine Notebook, Pilot pens and a date stamp – dating my drawings is my OCD.

Passport stamp you’re proudest of?


Passport stamp most like to have?


Guilty travel pleasure?

A visit to the local post office.

Window or aisle?

Aisle, easier for the washrooms as I get older.

Who is your ideal travelling companion?

Someone who opens a conversation, tells a good story or talks about themselves and then shuts up.

Best meal on the road? Worst?

Dim Sum in Hong Kong, Worst? : Anything Korean (sorry Korea).

Most surprising place?

Seattle and its beaches.

Most disappointing?

I have never been disappointed by anywhere I’ve been.

Where do You NOT want to go?

There are no no-no’s on my list.

Who/what inspired you to travel?

Microsoft – they gave me the opportunity to work with sales teams across the world – I am very grateful and privileged.

Any travel heroes?

Evelyn Waugh (his wonderful observations). Lawrence Durrell, reading any of his work is like sitting out in the hot sun.

What do you listen to on the road?

Vaughan Williams and Edward Elgar to be ‘back home in Blighty’ and any House/Old School to be back with my daughters.

Any song take you back to a particular time or place?

‘When love takes over’ (Kelly Roland and David Guetta) reminds me of Ibiza and a couple ferociously arguing on a beach very early one morning.

What do you read?

Waugh, Durrell and Poems by Thom Gunn.

Is there a person you met while travelling who reaffirmed your faith in humanity?

Air crew and cabin staff across the globe.

Anyone who made you lose it?

My first strip-search in Canada (I mean my first strip search, which was entering Canada).

What’s the most impressive / useful phrase you know in a foreign language?

‘Arigatou gozaimasu’

What is your worst habit as a traveller?

Always trying to open up a conversation then wanting to close it down when I have had enough!

Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?

A game of ‘Name your five favourite movies and why?’, then books, then poems, then music tracks.

When and where in your travels have you been happiest?

That 10-second moment when you cross the threshold of the plane home and the cabin staff give you a tiny smile (now you got me in tears).

What smell most says ‘travel’ to you?

My purse of Euros: they were stored in a damp drawer and smell musty.

Given a choice, which era would you travel in?

Today please. Thank you.

If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, what would they be?

Tokyo, Rome, Sao Paulo.

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