Malcolm Griffiths
Photography by Daphne Vermeulen

Third-Prize Winner

Malcolm Griffiths
OCCUPATION: Vice President, Tourism Practice, Development Counsellors International
HOME BASE: New York City

AW: What kind of effect has travel had on your life?
MALCOLM GRIFFITHS: Travel has had a profound effect on my life. At 5 years of age, the desire and love to travel was instilled in me with a family trip to New Zealand. I’ll never forget the thrill of my first ride in an airplane, seeing new landscapes foreign to my native Australia and being immersed in different cultures. It was intriguing, and I remember the excitement I felt thinking there was a whole world out there to explore and experience. Thirty years later, travel is now my profession. I consider myself very fortunate. My 15-year career has shown me the world, and I have found a vocation that I truly love.

BEST MEAL I'VE HAD ON THE ROAD: Sea scallops at The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, South Africa
FAVORITE HOTEL: The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart, Tasmania
LAST BOOK I READ: The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs
BEST WAY TO UNWIND: Unwind? I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
WORST JOB I'VE EVER HAD: Celebrity wrangling — it’s not as glamorous as it sounds.
BEST AIRPORT: Santos Dumont Airport, Rio de Janeiro (awesome flight approach over Sugarloaf)
LAST THING I BOUGHT: Tickets to see comedian Pam Ann in New York City

"Last year I visited five of the seven continents and traveled hundreds of thousands of miles - Sydney, Amsterdam, London...Such is the life of a Road Warrior."

AW: Working in the travel-and-tourism industry, what do you believe is the bigger understanding of the power of travel?
MG: The tourism industry is a powerful one and can make an enormous impact on improving the livelihoods of many communities around the world and aiding their economic development. Through my work with destinations such as Namibia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Acoma Pueblo, N.M., I have been able to witness the positive changes that increased tourism can bring through job creation, land preservation and the protection of endemic wildlife.
AW: Of all the places you’ve been, which has stood out the most?
MG: I love Brazil. Since my first visit in 2008, I have immersed myself in the country, visiting more than 10 times, and I’ve mastered the language of Portuguese. It’s a mixture of the people, their passion to live life to the fullest, the country’s diverse-yet-exotic environments and this intangible energy I feel upon stepping off the plane that attracts me.
AW: You’re originally from Australia. Do you think you’ll ever move back?
MG: That’s a very good question and one I am asked regularly. One day, perhaps. I’ve always had the philosophy to go wherever my job takes me. I’ve been in the Big Apple for more than 10 years now and love it. However, should the right opportunity arise, I would consider it. There is a whole world out there to explore and live in.
AW: We’ve heard you have a very, how shall we say? … quirky … souvenir collection.
MG: Destination fridge magnets — I have more than 100 that I’ve been collecting since 2000. To collect a magnet, I have to spend a night in the destination and/or fly through its airport. The tackier the magnet, the better. Beyond fridge magnets, though, I’m always on the lookout for tacky keepsakes. When I traveled through Roswell, N.M., a few years ago, I had heard about a legendary souvenir snow globe with a diorama of aliens on the inside. I spent a good couple of hours scouring every store on Main Street for the elusive memento. Unfortunately, everyone was out of stock owing to the Roswell UFO Festival a few weeks before.
AW: We have to ask: Have you tried to do one of Ashley’s Wike N’ Hines yet?
MG: No, but I love the concept. I may just have to steal the term and pitch it as a new travel trend incorporating my clients. California would be an ideal place for a Wike N’ Hine, no?