My Holidays: Joe Saunders from STA Travel

Joe Saunders is store manager at STA Travel, Courtenay Place, Wellington. His Star Wars travel-themed Instagram account can be found at travelstarwarsjoe.

What was your greatest holiday?

When I was 19, I lived in a tree house for a month in the middle of nowhere, Northern British Columbia, Canada. I was helping build a three-floor tree house. There is nothing like doing the dishes in the kitchen of a tree house, while watching a bear climb up the tree opposite you!

And the worst? Turkey back in 2011. It’s a beautiful country, I just couldn’t handle the 40C heat. As a pale-skinned, ginger-haired man I suffered greatly.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing? You will probably catch me in an awkward position taking pictures of my Star Wars figures in front of amazing scenery for my Instagram account — travelstarwarsjoe.

Where would you go for a dream holiday internationally? Antarctica. It’s one of those places that once you’ve been you become part of an exclusive club. It looks mind-blowing, like a completely different planet. I’m sure the Star Wars figures would fit in there.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done when travelling? Almost missing a flight from San Francisco to Fiji. I got my times mixed up and turned up to the airport an hour before departure. Luckily, the check-in lady let me through, but with 15 minutes until boarding I had to get through security, in the States! Sprinting in my jandals, I only just made it. I’m surprised I didn’t get stopped, considering my carry-on bag was full of Star Wars figures!

Aisle seat or window seat? Window seat 100 per cent. I very rarely get up during a flight.

I’m always glued to the screen when watching a film, or gazing out the window. You can’t beat those views from the window as a backdrop for a picture with a Star Wars figure.

Complete this sentence: I can’t travel without … My Star Wars figures. I’ve only been taking them with me for two years but they’ve been to 19 countries in that time. What’s the best travel tip you’ve ever been given? Don’t let other people influence your decisions.

If you want to go somewhere, then go.

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

A delicious 25oz steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. It was huge, but nothing compared to their 72oz challenge. A mate I was travelling with gave it a go but only made it to 50oz, which isn’t bad given I struggled with half of that.

What’s the best thing you’ve brought back from a trip? My first guitar. I had been saving up for a while when I was 11 and went to Thailand with my family. It must have only cost me $5.

Favourite airport at which to land? Vancouver. It’s nostalgic as it was the first backpacking trip I did on my own. And the views are beautiful.

What’s the next trip you’ve got planned?
Japan. I’m going to get a rail pass and travel from Osaka to Tokyo, visiting a few friends on the way. Japan’s a destination I’ve never been to, but it has always interested me as I am bit of a gamer. Having a picture of the Star Wars figures at the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo would be pretty epic.

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