Frequent Flier Sound Off: Grant Barnes

Name: Grant Barnes

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Number of Countries Visited: 87

Last Country Visited: Ukraine


What is your favorite country you have visited and why?  

I would want to commute between Indonesia and Italy because of the quality of life and artistry in each place.


What is your least favorite country you have visited and why?  

The former German Democratic Republic, because of the constant surveillance and rudeness of staff.


What countries are on the itinerary for later this year?  

Ukraine and Germany


When did you start traveling? Did it start at an early age for you?  

At the age of 16, visiting Mexico at a town just across the US/Mexico border.


Why do you travel? What is your personal reason for traveling?  

Because it’s not as easy to have world visitors come to me.


Why do you believe it’s important for others to travel and see the world?  

Because the rest of the world is there, and we’re not solipsistic to think everything revolves around us.


What inspires you about the travel experience?  

Seeing something that is very different from what I had expected not having been there.


What do you like least about travel? 

Like many, the growing expense in flight costs.


What is the craziest travel adventure you have had?  

On an Indian bus, there was so much discomfort in so many ways, all I could think of to survive it was, “Well, at least it’s not Odess” [Texas, where I spent my childhood].


What is your biggest travel regret?  

Not seeing places that have now been destroyed by terrorists or fundamentalists or tyrants.


You have said previously that you never take pictures when you travel. Why is that?  

When first traveling, because developing the film was inconsistent at best in what was then the Third World; now because everyone else has a cell phone and takes photos and tag me on them.


You take short-duration, long-haul travel. Like Japan for 3 days for a performance. When did you start this type of travel? Why is it worth it, for you, to travel such a long duration for such a short time?  

My record is either Bali for one night (from Los Angeles) or Kazakhstan for an hour-long performance. Two reasons, loyalty to friends who would be happy to see me there, and also needing to work as an independent contractor or project-based employee.


How do travel and the arts intersect for you?  

Always try to see performances because the audiences are so very different, even with plays or music I know.


What recommendations do you have for someone who is looking to be more adventurous and travel?  

For your first time, use Rick Steves guides for everything; once you have a comfort level in a place, go back to the same or similar hotels and then explore on your own.


You travel a lot. Quite a lot. How do you manage your paid time off and what recommendations do you have for others?    

Don’t usually have paid time off, so the benefit of being a project attorney is that if you don’t have time when working you have unlimited time when you’re between jobs.

Any last tips?  

If you remember the inconvenience, it’s like being vengeful. You’re digging your own grave alongside the memories.  And don’t talk about the inconveniences or danger with people who haven’t been to the same place; they will simply be prejudiced and miss the good things.



I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

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