My Holiday: James Hay

What was your greatest holiday?

I worked for a season as a skipper of flotillas in the Greek Islands for Sailing Holidays. That whole season was the best holiday I ever had; also my lowest-paid job , but when you’re drinking and eating as much — or more — than the paying guests for free, it’s a pretty good deal.

And the worst?

I’m too optimistic to have had one of those.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
Skiing, or drinking a beer — or possibly both. I’m no good at sightseeing holidays, unless we’re looking at a brewery or bar. I’m all about activity holidays. So as long as there is an activity or goal to the holiday I’m in.

If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?

Stewart Island, I still haven’t been and I’m gutted about it. This summer I’ll get there.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?

Tahiti to charter a yacht and explore the islands properly. I spent a couple of years working on superyachts travelling through the Pacific, Caribbean, and the Med. There are too many places I want to go back to.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done when travelling?

Many things I won’t mention, but drinking water from the Holy Fountain in Turkey was up there. Three days later I had lost 10kg.

Aisle seat or window seat?

I don’t try to pick my seat, I’d rather let fate decide it for me.

Complete this sentence: I can’t travel without …

good headphones. Sennheisers, to be exact.

What’s the best travel tip you’ve ever been given?

Go to Jackson Hole to go skiing.

What was the most memorable meal you’ve had while travelling?

Castello Restaurant in Parga, Ionia, Greece. We always stopped at this restaurant when going past on Flotilla. We’d often rig the whole trip around stopping there.

What’s the best thing you’ve brought back from a trip?


Favourite airport to land at?

Anywhere but the UK, they always seem to pull me aside and question me. The smaller the better, ideally you can walk anywhere on the runway and not have to deal with security.

What’s the next trip you’ve got planned?

Skiing in Canada this summer — Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb, Kicking Horse, Revelstoke, Banff, and wherever snow might be falling.

James Hay brews at B.Effect Brewing Co, in Wanaka. The Wanaka Beer Festival — featuring six local breweries and six guests — is on December 1.

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