I’m Toby Skinner, an editor, journalist, travel addict and tall person who doesn’t play basketball (but thanks for asking, world).
I’m lucky enough to go on regular assignments for travel magazines, almost always with brilliant photographers. On these trips, we tend to meet fascinating characters – whether that means Svalbard polar bear experts, fiercely opinionated Icelandic all-girl hip hop groups or male porn stars at post-apocalyptic festivals.
There’s often limited space for these people in the stories I write, especially for family-friendly inflight magazines. They tend to become two-dimensional talking heads for a thesis – on how Tromsø has become a booming tourist destination, say, or Wrocław has become a centre of craft beer.
Or, worse, they get left out altogether – leaving nowhere for me to write about people like Giovanni, the bartender at the Californian ghost town saloon who would serve Hillary Clinton rat poison; or Mike, the friendly guy in Beatty, Nevada, with his penchant for alien brothels, drunk burros and questionable tie-dye.
This site is my chance to put people like Mike centre-stage, and to attempt to do some justice to the actual experience of meeting them. It is also an opportunity to showcase some of the brilliant portraits that have been taken by the various photographers (and friends) I’ve worked with.
It doesn’t have any grand manifesto, except to show that the world is full of weird, wonderful and often inspiring people; and to show, if proof were needed, that this curious planet is infinitely more interesting when the camera is pointing out, not in. It’s my small tribute to the people I’ve met along the way. I hope you enjoy meeting them a fraction as much as I did…