5 Things: Travel Essentials – Greg Illingworth

Newcastles’ favourite South African and Mongoose rider, Greg Illingworth as you know had this month’s front cover along with an in depth interview in the mag. Being a BMX world traveler this guy doesn’t have a enough pages in his passport to stress how much he gets around, so we asked him what’s his top 5 travel essentials…

Passport & Visa.
Being on a South African passport I pretty much need a visa for every country I visit. I’m usually good with that sort of thing, but in December I realised that my Schengen visa (Europe) had expired while I was on my way to the airport to fly to Spain. For a South African it usually takes a minimum of 2 weeks to get one of these visas. I was meant to be in Spain for a Fox conference the next day. I spent the next 24 hours on the most intense quest to get an emergency visa ever… the story would fill pages. Basically, it ended with me at the Spanish Embassy in Edinburgh sweating out whiskey and begging the consulate general to give me a visa there and then, bearing in mind I didn’t have all the right documents that they needed. He gave it to me and I took the next flight out of Edinburgh to Barcelona.

An open mind.
This is essential in really experiencing as much as possible on a trip. Appreciating differences is hugely satisfying and if you can accept these differences and embrace them you will enjoy your trip and learn new things. Whether it be cultural or even just spots that you’re not used to, open your mind and you will have a fulfilling adventure.

Having an open mind doesn’t mean letting everything happen. Things can go wrong on trips and you need to be aware of how to avoid them or fix them. Sometimes native people try take advantage of foreigners, I’ve learnt to avoid that as much as I can. I got mugged in Barcelona once on La Ramblas, I was tricked by some local hustlers and one of them made way with 50 of my hard earned euros. That won’t happen again.

My bike…
Unless of course it’s a non riding trip which very rarely happens. My bike didn’t show up in Dubai once for a few days when I was there for Dubai Xgames. I felt completely lost not having it with me and watching everyone else ride. It eventually showed up the night before the comp, so I didn’t get much practice but I was stoked none the less.

It’s hard for me to believe that I have become so reliant on a phone, but it really does make traveling a lot easier. From playing games, to checking flights, to replying to emails, to taking photos, to staying in touch with friends and family, to posting status’/tweets/instagrams, to listening to music… it all helps make things easier, more productive, and worth while.


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