Mikey has recently returned to our London office after his ski-season 'accidentally' became a ski-decade...
Mikey manages our in-resort partnerships for SeeValdIsere.com, working closely with local businesses to truly bring out the best of Val d'Isere. Having lived in the Alps for 10 years (with a couple of summers spent on the beach in Italy thrown in for good measure), he travels regularly between our various destinations (and beyond!) with a passion for travel, snowboarding, sunbathing, cold beers, Arsenal and languages (not always in that order).
I've lived in London, Toulouse, Chamonix, Rimini and Sorrento; visited much of France, Italy, Spain; and have enjoyed shorter visits to Peru, America, India, Turkey, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland. Czech Republic (and Monaco & San Marino if we are being picky).
Given that I'd never even touched a pair of skis or a snowboard before I arrived in Chamonix, I think the fact that I ended up staying for 10 years in the Alps shows what an incredible place it is: overflowing with extraordinary views, food and people. I also have a very soft spot for the West Coast of Mallorca, with spectacular cliffside roads and some tremendous hotels and restaurants in villages like Deia and Valldemossa.
That's a good question - my mum was never that keen on holidays, so I think I've always felt I've had some catching up to do! For my year abroad at university I lived in Toulouse for 12 months, which was probably the best year of my life: I met some incredible people and was lucky enough to be able to explore much of France. It must have been then that I got the bug. I love the experience of seeing new places, discovering different cultures, different ways of life, trying foods, learning languages and of course meeting people. Life is short, so go and see the world!
Memorable travel experience
A friend and I spent 5 weeks in the States, travelling from New York to LA taking in the whole of Route 66 from Chicago down to California on the way. While the Americans don't always get the best press, the warmth, hospitality, and enthusiasm we encountered at (nearly) every city, town or campsite we stopped at was incredible. We racked up something like 3,500 miles in our hire car, taking in St Louis, Oklahoma, Alburquerque, Amarillo, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, Yosemite and San Francisco on the way and I can still clearly remember the moment we saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time!
Some sensible preparation is a good thing: try to at least familiarise yourself with the basics in any destination (please & thank you in the local language, a map, transport info etc).
More importantly, though: if in doubt, do it! Some of the best memories and stories come from the more farcical experiences. I have a friend (not me, honestly), who wasn't sure which bus to get on at a station in Bolivia: he wanted to get on a bus going 2 hours north, but accidentally got on a bus which went 36 hours south! Despite a disastrous start, he had a fantastic time when he finally got off the bus, and wouldn't have changed a thing.
I go on an annual walking holiday with some of my other pre-middle-age friends, and also tend to find myself on a stag-do or two per year in interesting locations. Other than that, my default travel-buddy is my wonderful fiancée with whom I've been to Ischia, Southern Spain, Bruges, and an mindblowing trip to Mumbai & Goa. She has an even longer destination to-do list than me, so I hope that we have many more exciting travels ahead.
Favourite places to eat
I always try to have a taste of local specialities - although not necessarily an approach everyone would choose. Fondue in the Alps, or pizza in Naples are no-brainers, but deep-fried bull's testicles on a ranch in Texas and stewed Guinea Pig after a trek in the Andes in Peru were definitely not for the faint-hearted!
Sports & activities
I'm a big football plan, and although the Alps are not filled with open, flat spaces I've usually managed to find a way to kick a ball around somehow! Snowboarding is much easier to do in the Alps of course, and I also play a bit of tennis, love a good hike, and try to force myself to go jogging a couple of times a week.
Mission at SeeTheWorld
I think everyone I know, at some point in their life, has picked up the phone to a friend who lives in a different destination to ask them a few questions or tips before they arrive. It's very reassuring to get a bit of local knowledge before you arrive somewhere new, and that's what I want See The World to be for our readers.