'I'd do it again in a heartbeat': an interview with Tiki Chris
8 July 2016 by Julia Hudson
Chris Osburn is a London-based travel blogger and consultant. He writes an award-winning travel blog, tikichris, featuring a variety of photo-rich posts to highlight the best of London culture alongside food and drink and travel related stories and tips. In addition to blogging, Chris works as a freelance journalist, photographer, consultant and curator.
Chris, while travelling through Namibia with Wexas.
Chris recently went on a self-drive trip around Namibia with Wexas, and we were keen to hear a bit more about his trip and his other travel experiences…
Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
I'm American from a small town in the southern state of Georgia. I live in London now. I moved here for a few years in 2001 and then returning in 2006.
When and why did you start your blog?
I started the blog ten years ago in the summer of 2006. I had just moved back to London from the States and thought blogging would be a fun way to share my experiences as I reacquainted myself with the city. I was right.
What first inspired you to travel?
I grew up in a rural and largely wooded area. As long as I stayed within the sound of my mom's voice calling my name for dinner, I could roam wherever I wished. I loved exploring and seeing just how far I could go without getting lost.
You recently went on a Wexas trip to Namibia, what was the highlight of the trip?
Everything about my time in Namibia was awesome – in a literal sense of that word. But, if I had to pick one highlight, it would probably be the time spent driving on my own across the country, experiencing the stunning landscape and free roaming wildlife at my own pace.
Are you happy you did the self-drive and would you recommend the itinerary to other travellers?
Absolutely! The trip was among my most memorable adventures. I’d do it again in a heartbeat and have avidly recommended a self-drive tour to a number of people already.
How does Namibia compare to other countries you have visited in Africa?
Most notably, it's a lot more arid than much of sub-Saharan Africa. I know Southern Africa fairly well from having lived in Mozambique for a year in the late 90s and travelling extensively throughout the region off and on. It's one of my favourite destinations, a corner of the world I just can't get enough of. Namibia seemed friendly and safer than other countries in the region. The landscape there is possibly the beautiful I’ve ever seen.
Have you got any plans to go back to Namibia or Africa any time soon?
No concrete plans at the present, but I’m itching something fierce to get back there soon.
What do you think are the benefits of using a tour operator for a trip such as that?
I guess the main thing was that Wexas helped me get to the places in Namibia that I wanted to visit the most. They did a lot of the grunt work for me, allowing me to focus on the fun and adventure without having to worry about the logistics.
What is the most memorable place you have visited?
Without doubt it was the Skeleton Coast.
What are your bucket-list destinations and why?
I don't really 'do' bucket lists. But Namibia was somewhere I had longed to visit for many years. I love road trips, Polynesia and the South Pacific, foodie destinations such as New Orleans and Bologna. I haven’t seen enough of Switzerland, South America or Canada.
Do you have an ultimate travel tip you can share with us?
Always include plenty of slack in your schedule.
What are your top three essential travel items?
You mean aside from my phone and camera? I can narrow it down to five (sorry): a solar charged power bank, a universal adapter along with a multi-socket extension, extra pairs of clean socks, and – if I’m flying – some chewing gum.
Favourite ‘off the beaten track’ destination?
I was sitting in an age-old flamenco bar in Jerez last weekend, late at night, drinking fino and loving every moment of it. I was blown away by the remote beauty of the Faroe Islands when I visited last year. I love rambling around the American Deep South and visiting quirky towns like Athens, Georgia and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Pembrokeshire coast in Wales is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Which destination do you think is the next big thing?
I have no idea. But I’m surprised how few people know of or have not been to the Alentejo in Portugal or Jura on the French/Swiss border.
What is your favourite travel app?
Probably Xe for currency exchange rates.
The weirdest thing you have ever eaten abroad?
Guinea pig in Mozambique, cactus worm tacos in Mexico City, a few other unappetising items in some other places...