My schooldays in the 1950s and 60s spanned Pakistan, the Bahamas, the US and Britain, but I'm not sure they made me the traveller I am today. My younger brother and sister had similar experiences but have tended to stay in the same place. What I do know is that always being the new kid I felt the onus was on me to make friends which maybe made me more self-reliant and self-conscious. We moved around because dad was a former pilot in the second world war, who then joined the ground staff of British Airways. The first five years of my life were in Pakistan but because there weren't any suitable schools there I went to live with my grandparents in Britain. When dad was moved to the Bahamas I rejoined my parents there and ended up having mum as my schoolteacher. There was a shortage of teachers in the islands so she had to return to work.That was strange because at home I called her mum and at school she was Mrs Wheeler. Fortunately, she wasn't hard on me. At the end of that posting it was back to Britain. It felt ephemeral because we were waiting month by month to see where we'd go next. The next thing we knew we were off to Detroit and, being the centre for the US car industry, I developed a passion for cars, not that I collect them now, although I do drive a Lotus. It was at the height of the time when cars were shiny with chrome and it seemed like an era at its best. Detroit was the part of my schooldays that I enjoyed most. I went to a regular secondary school and I think now it's recognised that American schools were at their prime then. There was this big push towards technology. It was the cold war and the Russians had put satellites up into space so there was a big race between the two superpowers. Although I was an all-rounder, I definitely put more effort into science. Having said that, my best subject was history and I also liked geography, which is maybe where I got my travelling bug from. I excelled in a way that meant I was put into an accelerated class which put me one year ahead and I certainly benefited from that. The one teacher that stood out was a Chinese-American who was loved by all. He taught history and English and was my homeroom teacher. What stuck in my memory was the history of the first world war. He divided the class into four groups and made us produce a newspaper on the subject. It seemed to me to be a much more interesting and involved way of teaching. We returned to Britain and I applied to go to grammar school to do my O-levels but didn't get in because it was thought US schools were of a lower standard than British schools. In fact in some subjects I was ahead and in others behind. The teacher I remember with affection from that period taught English. He loathed Wordsworth, known for his poem about yellow flowers that mark the arrival of spring, and which he referred to as 'all those bloody daffodils'. I could've felt quite defeated by being rejected by the grammar school but didn't and eventually did go there for A-levels - two kinds of maths and physics. Now I think it's quite short sighted to push kids into narrowing down their choices at that age. I decided to do an engineering degree at Warwick University, which with hindsight was the wrong choice of subject but I did reasonably well. The best part was working on the university's newspaper. After working for a while, I returned to university to do an MBA and I realised what a privilege it was to study. I met my wife Maureen not long after and we took a year off to travel, doing the Hippy Trail and seeing Australia. We didn't plan to set up Lonely Planet, it just happened after travelling. I actually had a job set up to go to in engineering and the company said they'd hold it for me until I returned. I must've been so short-sighted then because now I can see engineering really wasn't me.