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While in Thailand with a friend as his guide, British Columbian Graeme Barker understood the importance of insider information for getting off the beaten path. He (and that friend, TJ Hermiston) co-founded Beach Travellers, an adventure trips and surf camps outfitter, and now this businessman in board shorts is on the road – and in the water – almost six months per year. We caught up with him before a business-meets-pleasure trip to Bali.

Graeme Barker sitting on couch

Fold, roll, stuff or scrunch?
I’m a roller. Even if it’s a pressed shirt that needs to stay unwrinkled, I can’t not roll. And I like to travel in twos: two T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of sandals.

Any tips for handling wet or sandy items?
If I’m surfing in the morning and then I have a car ride to the airport, I’ll tie wet stuff to the roof of the taxi. The drivers will give you a look, but after five or 10 minutes, everything’s dry.

How did you get into surfing?
When I was in Thailand with TJ, we heard that the second-best wave in the world was in northern Indonesia. We thought we could get there in two days – it took five days of buses, trains and boats, but we didn’t care. Rooms were $1.50 a day, so we stayed for three weeks, learning to surf this wave. The other surfers thought we were idiots – it was for pros. But they took us out every day, and in the end we got pretty good at it.

What mistakes do travellers make?
Everyone wants to experience something new, but they all use the same websites to get information. Just plan less: Connect with a local and experience the place for yourself.



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